A cross-section of participants at the stakeholders workshop organised by Connected Development
Connected Development (CD), A Non Governmental Organisation has called on critical stakeholders in Ebonyi to rise in defence against all forms of gender based violence (GBV) in the state.
The organisation made the call in a statement signed by Mrs Melva Uguru, its state Coordinator and made available to our correspondent on Friday in Abakaliki.
According to the statement, the organisation recently embarked on advocacy visits across the state to sensitise stakeholders on the prevalence of GBV in Ebonyi.
It added that it organised a review of state and national action plan for the elimination of all forms of gender based violence with stakeholders comprising; traditional rulers, religious and women leaders, civil society organisations, media practitioners among others.
Uguru said that the aim of the advocacy campaign was to enlighten stakeholders on the existence of relevant laws prohibiting violence against persons including the Violence Against Persons Prohibitions Act (VAPP) signed in 2015.
The statement added that the advocacy was equally intended to enhance stakeholders knowledge on tracking budgetary provisions by state House of Assembly earmaked to tackle gender related violence.
“The stakeholders workshop and advocacy visits we organised were aimed at promoting more grassroots awareness of budgetary provisions put in place and how these budgets affect those at the rural areas.
“Many people in our rural communities are not aware of budgetary provisions to respond to gender violence, hence the recent workshop and advocacy visits were aimed to increase awareness of the people.
“Beyond being aware of budgetary provisions, we hope to ensure that those at the grassroots develop capacity to respond right to issues of gender based violence,” Uguru said.
Connected Development team with officials of the Ministry of Women Affairs during an advocacy visit
She said that there were several substantial lacuna observed in the Ebonyi budget beginning from 2018 to 2020 noting that budgetary allocations were not specific to projects they were meant for.
She said that a five-year action plan has been produced for the state with respect to profering solution to gender based issues.
Also, Miss Ijeoma Oforka, CD’s Head of Operation regretted that Ebonyi ranked highest in states with the highest prevalence of GBV in spite of being the first in enacting or domesticating anti GBV laws in Nigeria.
“Gender based violence is something that may not be outrightly eliminated but, we are on our way to bringing it down to the barest minimum.
“With all our laws in place, Ebonyi prides itself as having entrenched or domesticated all laws made by Nigeria government against gender based violence.
“But, unfortunately, Ebonyi also ranks the highest in gender based violence especially in sexual abuse and female genital mutilation (FGM) practice,” Oforka said.
She called for a multi-stakeholders engagement to curb the menace while appealing to the state government to ensure proper implementation of its budgets to achieve set goals.
Our correspondent reports that Connected Development is sponsored by Spotlight Initiative, a United Nations sponsored initiative committed to eliminating violence against women and girls.