The Development Research and Projects Centre, supported by Ford Foundation, on Thursday called on federal and state governments to redouble efforts to reduce gender-based violence in the country.
Executive Director of the organization, Dr. Judith-Ann Walker, made the call at the ongoing African regional council on women societies, in Abuja.
She said Nigerian women continue to face various forms of violence, including sexual harassment, physical violence, harmful traditional practices, emotional and psychological violence, socio-economic violence, and violence against non-combatant women, especially in conflict situations.
“This has had a serious implication on their education, health, economic life, social relation, and personal development. According to a study commissioned by the ministry of women’s affairs and social development and the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) Nigeria, 28% of Nigerian women aged 25-29 have experienced some form of physical violence since age 15,” she said.
“15% of women in Nigeria had experienced physical violence within 12 months, while 25% of married women or those living with their spouses experienced violence in their lives, adding that gender-based violence has become a recurrent issue across the Nigeria region exempted.
“Indeed, there is no day in the country without a reported case of sexual violence, especially rape, in the media. This is a matter of great concern for women and men in the nation. What has become of our people? Why is the incidence of GBV on the increase? What are the government at national and sub-national levels doing to address this situation? What are active citizens and voluntary associations such as Mosques and Churches doing to ameliorate the reoccurrence? What are the drivers and causes of GBV?”
The Minister for Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, called for zero tolerance to gendwr-based violence, adding that the federal government has declared a state of emergency on gender-based violence in Nigeria.
She said the formation of a committee of first Ladies in Nigeria that will work to stem the rate of gender-based violence in all the 36 states of the federation, adding that Nigeria has the political will to deal decisively with gender-based violence.
”I urge Nigerians to report cases of gender-based violence to the nearest police station to help in stemming this monster that is rocking our societies,” she said.