By Justina Auta
Vice President Yemi Osibanjo has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to zero tolerance to Gender Based Violence (GBV) and reaffirmed its commitment toward ensuring care and justice for survivors.
The vice president declared this on Tuesday during the official launch of USAID’s MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership (MCGL) in Abuja.
Represented by Sadiya Umar Farouk, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Osinbajo said GBV was driven by structural inequalities and unequal power relations that render women subordinate to men.
He explained that this was due to limited access to education, employment, finances, healthcare and opportunities to contribute to their families, communities and the nation’s economic growth.
He noted that such conditions affect survivors, families and the broader society and economies of nations negatively.
He added that “it is time we rise up to the challenges posed by this menace and constantly speak out against this evil perpetrated by mindless individuals.
“I strongly reaffirm Federal Government’s declaration to Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence in Nigeria and I raise a RED CARD to all perpetrators.”
He stressed the need for easy access to safe, confidential and professional medical care; access to life-saving support and other services that provide dignity and comfort, including options for safety and psychosocial support for survivors.
While commending the USAID for the laudable efforts, he also stressed the need to ensure a safer society for women, girls and the vulnerable in society.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said GBV was not just a human rights issue, but also a moral overbearing effect.
“And failure to invest in stopping the menace can lead to substantial social and economic losses which is estimated at 2 – 8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“There is also a growing evidence base to demonstrate that preventing violence can promote economic growth, improve human dignity, and foster a just and fair society.”
Tallen, therefore, called on stakeholders to renew and strengthen their commitment on GBV response.
Similarly, Ms Kathleen FitzGibbon, the Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy, said the embassy had invested 15 million dollars for the MCGL activity in Sokoto and Ebonyi states to be administered by USAID.
FitzGibbon said that the five-year project is to increase access to services for survivors of GBV and to provide them with relief from domestic and other forms of abuses.
“The 15 million dollars investment will strengthen GBV response mechanisms, help communities transform discriminatory gender and social norms that continue to subordinate women and make them vulnerable, uphold and defend women’s health and human rights.
“It will also amplify women’s voices and agency and reduce their vulnerability to violence.”
She further revealed that part of the money would also be used to increase the capacity of Nigerian law enforcement, civil security, local communities and Ministry of Social and Women Affairs staff on how to respond and assist survivors of GBV. (NAN)