The Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Muhammadu Saad Abubakar has called for the domesticate, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, and Child Rights Act to protect women and girls against Gender-Based Violence in the country.
Alhaji Saad Abubakar made the call at a two-day Northern Traditional and Religious leaders summit on Ending Gender-Based Violence organized by the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development in Abuja.
Incidences of sexual and gender-based violence have continued to be rising despite several intervention efforts by governments and different stakeholders at different levels. Also, different forms of harmful practices continue to exist in some societies based on some religious, misconceptions, traditional beliefs, and poverty. These include female genital mutilation (FGM), denial of inheritance, child labor, gender preference among others.
The Grand Patron, Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development, said Beyond the adoption of the laws, there was the need to strengthen, enforce and create more awareness of the laws prohibiting Gender-Based Violence.
“Everyone should understand that violence against women and girls is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated, “Government at the community level should put in place sex offenders register to name and shame perpetrators and end the impunity around gender-based violence.
“Government should also establish and fund at least one GBV response centre and shelter with government-paid staff deployed and with effective linkages to other support services that survivors may need.”
He explained that the government at the community level should put in place sex –offenders register to name and shame perpetrators and end the impunity around Gender-based Violence.
In a message, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo who commended the organisers said all hands must be on deck to assist the government to achieve its mandate of ensuring a better Nigeria free of violence to enhance all-around development.
“I want to use this opportunity to commend the governor of Kaduna State; apart from domesticating the laws also amended the VAPP Act to deal with offenders. It is high time we moved to action. We cannot keep talking without action.”
“People use religion to commit all sorts of evil things, but the two religions, Christianity and Islam condemn violence against women.”
“You are the custodians of the society and highly respected in your communities.“So, if you want to take action against perpetrators of violence against women and girls, we can have a better society and achieve the greater results in addressing the menace of gender-based violence that is before us.”
Also, The President Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Samson Ayokunle warned against utterances that could heat up the polity and fueling violence in the country as women and children were more vulnerable.
“All forms of gender-based violence are appalling in the 21st century. We should all rise together to eradicate them. Our society will be better through our collective action in this direction.” he said.
In her remark, the co-convener of the summit the UNFPA representative in Nigeria Mrs. Ulla Mueller, pledged the organisation’s support to ensure that Nigeria achieves its sustainable Development goal five of violence against women.
Other speakers on the occasion also advocated the domestication of all laws prohibiting Gender-Based Violence.