From Umar Dankano,Yola.
An international Non-Governmental Organisation,EU/UN Spotlight Initiative has observed with dismay the prevalence of traumatic persecution been experienced by women and girls due to ill treatment from male counterparts in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Coordinator of the Initiative, Hadiza Aminu Doroyi made the observation at a two- day media dialogue titled, “Ending violence against women and girls in Nigeria ” organised by the initiative in Kano.
She revealed that over 30% of women and girls under the ages of 15–49 have suffered sexual abuse by men in silence.
Doroyi stated that a survey by the Initiative has also discovered that 43% of girls are married before the age of 18, 17%before they turn 15years while 20,000 new cases of obstetric fistula are recorded annually
Doroyi stressed that, violence against women goes beyond domestic and sexual, hence the need for effective engagement of the media in the quest to attain the goal of eliminating violence against women and girl child.
She also divulged that no fewer than 10million dollars is been earmarked for Nigeria per year for this initiative that will run for 4 years noting that states of implementation in Nigeria includes: Adamawa, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Cross River, Lagos and the FCT.
She added that the Spotlight Initiative is geared towards strengthening capacities and support for public engagement, effective advocacy, multi stakeholder dialogue, partnership, knowledge exchange as well as networking.
She therefore enjoined practitioners to be up and doing in getting to the roots of these violence against women and girls with a view to putting a stop to it .
Earlier in his presentation on, ‘The Power of the media, Finding the needle in a hay sack, Changing the Narrative of the Rights of Women and Girls, Chatting A New Social Order In Nigeria’ Dr Danladi Bako, a former Commsioner of Information in Sokoto state said the media has a great role to play if the target is to be achieved.
Dr.Bako, described the media dialogue as timely highlighting that awareness and sensitisation using the media as well as our religious and traditional leaders is a key factor towards achieving the desired goal on GBV.
However, another speaker on the matter,Barristar James Ibor advocated that When there is conflict between culture and religion, conscious and reason (objectivity) should prevail explaining that security and safety is a constitutional right of everyone.
“Violence against women and girls is a health and human rights concern. All human rights and fundamental rights but not all fundamental rights are human rights and that the media as the fourth estate of the realm has powers to make and mar”.Ibor said
He further cautioned against holding unto irrational believe system. According to him, GBV constitute a breach of fundamental right to life, liberty, security, dignity, and equality between women and men, hence making it one of the most challenging act of power imbalance between men and women in Nigeria
Our correspondent who was part of the training reports that 60 practicing journalists from both print and electronics including online bloggers participated in the program with guest speakers driven from the media,civil society organisation as well as legal practitioners.