GBV: Older persons are being raped too – Sen. Ajoku



Sen. Eze Ajoku, President, Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) on Friday said that older persons were also being violated and raped and called for urgent action to curb such nefarious acts.

Ajoku told the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja that such crime was being perpetrated in silence and without any one talking about it.

He called on government at all levels and stakeholders to rise to the occasion by including the protection of older persons in the campaign against Gender Based Violence (GBV).

“Older persons are being abused every day. Older women are being raped by young persons, even older men. A woman of over 80 years in a Nigerian village said she was raped.

“After she made the revelation, about 26 older women came out to say that they were raped too and this thing thrives in silence,” Ajoku said.

The COSROPIN President who condemned all forms of Gender Based Violence, challenged Nigerians to break the silence which according to him is unacceptable.

He said that it was time to collectively put an end to sexual violence against women especially older persons for a prosperous and disciplined country.

Ajoku wondered how some people had delighted in rape and forceful violations of others, saying that it was time to address the menace.

He, however, appealed to Nigerians to eliminate all forms of elder abuse either in the form of gender violence or abuse by care providers and family members.

According to him, old age is a blessing and old people should end their journey on earth on a joyous note.

“Young people also abuse their parents by neglecting them,’’ he added.

NAN reports that the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has declared war against Gender Based Violence (GBV) through its programme tagged “Call to Action” aimed at achieving reduction in cases of gender violence.

Edited by: Donald Ugwu



NAN committed to success of UNFPA programmes – MD



The Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria , Mr Buki Ponle, has restated the agency’s commitment to ensure a resounding success of UN Population Fund (UNFPA) programmes in the country.

Ponle made this known on Thursday when the UNFPA Communication Specialist, Hajiya Kori Habib, led a delegation to visit him at the NAN Corporate Headquarters, Abuja.

NAN reports that the UNFPA programmes are aimed at addressing maternal mortality, unmet need for family planning, Gender-Based Violence and harmful traditional practices.

The programmes also aim to keep stakeholders informed and position UNFPA as lead agency in Sexual and Reproductive Health issues.

The new NAN boss, who said that he was a UNFPA project coordinator when he was working as a NAN reporter, added that he would ensure that the programmes achieved the desired goals.

He said “my first reaction when I was briefed about UNFPA partnership agreement programme in NAN again was a pleasant surprise. It was my baby when I was here as a reporter and it would continue to be my baby now that I am back also as a reporter; never mind the designation, I am still a reporter.

“I was briefing my colleagues yesterday about my personal involvement in the UNFPA project. I was a project coordinator and we did a lot with media practitioners in the country to cement that partnership and ensure that the vision statements of UNFPA were met.

“It can only be better, I assure you now that I am back. I will ensure that the project matures to adulthood. I am not new on the terrain and I am giving you all the assurances that it will be better than before.

“We shall do all it takes to make the project a resounding success and ensure that UNFPA activities are more visible not only in Nigeria but all over the world.”

Earlier, Habib, who said that the visit was to congratulate Ponle on his new appointment as Managing Director of NAN, said that UNFPA was blessed to have him on board.

She assured that the partnership between UNFPA and NAN would be sustained and stronger.

She added that “we are here to congratulate Mr Buki Ponle who is a great friend and partner, even though the fund’s Country Representative, Uller Mueller, will also visit and felicitate with him.

“On his assumption to duty, we are happy to know that one of our own in terms of media is the one on the seat.

UNFPA had achieved a lot while he was here. He knew the partnership and the level reached between UNFPA and NAN in those days.

“We feel that with him at the helm of affairs, we could even do more.”

Habib explained that the fund had set in motion a strategic effort, based on data, to achieve three zeros by 2030, namely: zero unmet need for contraception; zero preventable maternal deaths; and zero Gender Based Violence and harmful traditional practices.

She, however, noted that with the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), issues and effects of the pandemic must also be tackled along with the three transformative agenda of the UNFPA.

She noted that the team’s visit was also to harmonise issues in the partnership toward implementing the fund’s activities.

Also on the visit were Mr Dashe Dasogot, the programme Focal Officer and Mr Adewole Ajao.

Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Source: NAN
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General news

Commissioner hails law to castrate rapists in Kaduna



Kaduna State Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba on Friday, commended the state Assembly for passing law approving castration as punishment for rapists in the state.

The Commissioner made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna.

Mrs Baba said that the approval by the assembly was a clear indication that the lawmakers were very concerned on the rising cases of rape, including of minors, in the state.

“It Is a very welcome development for all of us, and the people that have been calling for harsher punishment of either castration or death penalty,” she said.

The commissioner expressed the hope that parents and the general public would help in ensuring that rapists no longer go scot free.

She disclosed that from January to May 2020, over 400 cases of assault and rape were reported to the four sexual assault referral centers in the state.

Mrs Baba said although the cases had reduced slightly compared to same period in 2019, it is still very alarming.

She cautioned parents of rape victims against covering up or keeping silent, but help to ensure that perpetrators are properly dealt with in accordance with the law.

“I will advise parents not to give up and should try and go to government hospital if there is any rape case. It is not acceptable by law to go to private hospital because the results are not being acknowledge by the court,” she said.

Mrs Baba called on the media to do more in assisting and enlightening the public for people to know about the law on Gender Based Violence, and follow up the story to conclusion.

The commissioner said the ministry has constituted a team working on GBV, supported by development partners to ensure that justice is done to the victims.

She added that the state government is also providing free services to victims at its four sexual assault referral centers, including social support and rehabilitation.

Mrs Baba reiterated that the government will ensure the prosecution of any rapist and others engaged in gender based violence in the state.

She however said that the main challenge has to do with parents of victims withdrawing cases or getting paid by perpetrators to keep silent.

Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed
Source: NAN
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EU-UN Spotlight Initiative project supports CSO on implementation tool



Representatives of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative global project, targeted at eradicating Gender Based Violence (GBV), on Monday, received Family Life Health Education (FLHE) and Life Skills facilitation manual for possible implementation of the project in Nigeria.

The FLHE manual was conceptualised and presented by Education Today for Sustainable Development Initiative (ETSDI) in Abuja and developed for the non-formal education sector in the country.

Mrs Hadiza Doray, the Head, Spotlight Initiative Nigeria Programme Management Unit (PMU), said that the project is a 500 million EURO project involving 25 countries, including Nigeria and it needed a workable guide for implementation.

The FLHE manual not only contains the modules for learning life skills but will also help users in the area of reproductive health.

Doray said “women and girls need life skills that would ensure they were self reliant and help them to be assertive in situations that could lead to GBV.

“We will be working very closely with CSOs and the PMU to pay monitoring visits to the field, and part of the things we will be assessing is whether this material has been distributed and used.

“We will also be assessing if the beneficiaries’ capacities are being developed and to which level the manual has helped reshape their capacities to fight GBV.

“We will assess if the manual has helped them acquire life skills, competencies and helping them know their rights and responsibilities.”

Earlier, Mrs Glory Brendan-Otuojor, the Head of Programmes, ETSDI, said the FLHE and Life Skill Facilitation manual was developed with support from UNESCO to enhance non-formal education across the country.

According to her, the manual became imperative because non-formal education curriculum existing in the country does not accommodate teaching of FLHE and life skills.

She added that it was prepared to provide easy learning skills and enable facilitators to teach the modules with ease, and according to local needs and interest.

She added that it had to be reviewed and validated by relevant stakeholders as it was already being implemented in Ebonyi and environs.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the implementation of the Spotlight Initiative project is being piloted in six states of the country, namely; Sokoto, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Lagos, Cross-River and FCT, for the next four years.

The initiative, with focus on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is aimed at bridging the gap and eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, be it rape, exploitation, assualt, and other forms of violence against the female gender.

Edited By: Franca Ofili/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Source: NAN
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NOA, PAACA lunch campaign to end sexual/GBV in Nigeria



The National Orientation Agency (NOA), in collaboration with Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), is set to increase awareness and senitisation to the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) and sexual violence in Nigeria.

Garba Abari, Director-General, NOA told newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja that the agency would partner more organisations to increase its campaign against gender based violence.

He said that the aim of the campaign and partnership was to draw Nigerians’ attention on the upsurge of sexual based violence.

According to him, the partnership is focused on ridding the nation of the act by creating more awareness.

Abari said that the partnership was a continuation of search for the solution to the spate of sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria.

“Our major objectives as outlined during the initial stakeholders’ engagement session is to identify the trends and causes of gender based violence in Nigeria.

“We will also try to identify the drivers and impacts of gender based violence in Nigeria and discuss ways to tackle this upsurge of sexual and gender based violence in our society.

“We have identified a number of factors that are necessary for a successful battle against the problem and they include adequate funding and training for institutions relevant to the fight.

“There is need to develop a contingency plan within our laws for GBV and emergencies and need for timely prosecution and adequate penalty for offenders.

“Consistent advocacy and sensitisation in a collaborative manner to sustain the awareness and incorporating disability sensitive, gender sensitive public health management approach is important.

“Fortification of the gender desk in the Nigerian Police Force is also key.

“As stakeholders, if you like frontline officers, in the relevant agencies, this meeting is intended to look very deeply and broadly so as to find a way forward.

“It is not enough to sweep it under the garb of officialdom by saying “we are doing a lot”.

“The truth is that our efforts is not good enough and that is why we are faced with an upsurge.

“The way forward is to do more sensitisation and awareness creation that will permeate the grassroots and resonate with all of society, this task has to be collaborative to achieve desired results,” Abari said.

The NOA boss restated the determination to join forces with stakeholders and other partners in making sure that success was achieved in this regard.

He added that gender based violence was a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality and continued to be one of the most notable human rights violations in our time.

“Increase the number of para-legal organisations members in the communities; also there is need to engage the opinion of leaders, especially in the North against early marriage through Advocacy.

“There is need to include our social justice mechanism in solving GBV issues in Nigeria and the need to empower women so that poverty will not be an excuse for violating women.

“We also need to encourage women to report cases and follow to logical conclusion, need to have a holistic collaboration by relevant institutions especially at the grassroots,’’ he said.

He urged parents to inculcate positive values in their children/wards and also support them during litigation, adding that the issue of rape should be expanded to capture both male and female.

He called for the need of inclusion of sex education at home and in schools curricular, adding that religious leaders should condemn sexual and gender based violence in churches and mosques.

Mrs Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of programmes, Yiaga Africa, in her goodwill message, commended NOA for creating the awareness programme, adding that the fight against sexual and gender based violence was not only for one institution.

According to her, a lot is needed to fight this act; fund has to be released in order to tackle the issue appropriately.

“National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in person (NAPTIP), and the rest can function effectively if they have human and financial capacity.

“Justice delayed is justice denied, we need prompt effectiveness of the law.

“Proactive change begins with action that we take today, Nigeria will only succeed when we work together to find a lasting solution to GBV,” she said.

Mr Yusuf Bichi, Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), represented by Dr Peter Afunanya, Public Relation Officer of DSS, in his goodwill message said that sexual and gender based violence was a national challenges that should be prevented.

“In order to restore values, we have to collaborate with NOA to draw the attention of the government to certain aspects that affect the society,” he said.

Bichi added that DSS officials would continue to do what they were mandated to do in order to discharge their duties effectively.

Maj-Gen. Victor Ezugwu, Director-General of Defence Headquarters, represented by Brig-Gen. Christiana Thomas, Gender Advisor, in his goodwill message, commended NOA’s effort and bold step to fight against the act.

Ezugwu said such steps would bring great impact to the society at large, adding that families, communities, traditional leaders, religious leaders, among others had great roles to play in the fight.

Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, Executive Director PAACA said that it was necessary to sensitise Nigerians to the upsurge of the sexual and gender based violence.

Nwagwu, while appraising NOA’s efforts, also urged stakeholders to be committed in ensuring that incidence of rape and gender violence was eliminated in Nigeria.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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