ABUJA (Women Affairs Ministry Report) – “The frequent spate of sexual violence, especially rape and abductions in the country has become a source of concern to the Nigerian government,” the Minister of Women Affairs and Social development, Zainab Maina told news men at the commemoration ceremony of the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women in Abuja.
She explained that the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women is marked worldwide on November 25 annually and the campaign kicks – off with 16 days activism on violence against women, running from November 25 to December 10, 2014. The Minister also noted that there is a long standing failure to protect women from gender – based violence; adding that we must address economic, social and cultural issues, particularly gender inequalities that cause gender – based violence and make women and girls vulnerable.
“That is why in discharging my mandate as Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, I have been consistently advocating for the framework based on 5Ps (protection, prosecution, punishment, prevention and promotion of international cooperation); 3Rs (redress, rehabilitation / recovery and re-integration of victims of gender – based violence, and 3Cs (capacity, coordination and cooperation) as ways of eliminating the menace,” the Minister iterated.
Zainab Maina informed that the Ministry in collaboration with development partners, civil society organizations and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies have enacted and strengthened the enforcement of laws which address the punishment of all forms of violence against women and girls through resource allocation and targeted capacity building of law enforcement agencies; including the judiciary. She added that the collaborators have also invested in social mobilization, implemented public awareness campaigns and strengthened the men’s movement for gender equality among others.
The Minister disclosed that in recognition of the fact that gender – based violence is one of the key social drivers of HIV/AIDs epidemic in Nigeria, the Ministry in collaboration with NACA and the UN Joint Team have developed a three – year Draft National Plan of Action on Gender Based Violence / HIV Intersection which was validated recently. She intensified that gender – based violence and issues of militarism are major challenges in the world presently, particularly Nigeria. She averred that it has been one of the most important indicators for assessing progress towards the achievement of the Millennium development Goals (MDGs).
While decrying the off-shoot of baby factories in the South – East and South – West of the country, she called on members of the Nigerian society to ensure that perpetrators of this heinous act and other acts of violence against women and girls are promptly reported to appropriate authorities. She further urged relevant law enforcement agencies, especially the police and the judiciary to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book and justice is obtained for the families of such unfortunate victims.
She announced that the main theme of the 2014 International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women is tagged: “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender Based Violence.”