In recent times, there has been an astronomical increase in cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Nigeria. The COVID19 pandemic and the lockdowns that ensued exacerbated an already problematic situation, as rates of violations increased exponentially.
The continued rise in Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases has made it imperative to scale up multi-dimensional approaches and strategies in combating all forms of GBV.
With this in mind, Nigerian Governors Wives Against Gender Based Violence (NGWA-GBV) convened a Policy Dialogue with State Governors on December 2nd 2020 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. The event was also an opportunity for NGWA-GBV to present a Compendium of GBV Activities of Governors’ Wives and Action Plan to the public.
The Policy Dialogue featured the Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum, His Excellency Dr Kayode Fayemi the Governor of Ekiti State, HE Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State, HE Governor Yahaya Bello, Kogi State, HE Governor Sanni Bello, Niger State and HE Governor Simon Lalong, Plateau State.
The event also had top government functionaries, members of the diplomatic corps, development partners, civil society organisations and survivors of gender-based violence in attendance.
At the end of the policy dialogue, the State Governors in attendance:
Affirmed that the State of Emergency against Gender Based Violence declared on by June 10th 2020 by the Nigeria Governors Forum is being taken seriously by State Governors
Condemned in very clear terms, all forms of gender-based violence and its impact on victims
Assured Nigerian women of their commitment to continue to promote and protect the rights of women
Encouraged the political inclusion of women in their respective states.
Committed to ensuring swift passage of relevant GBV legislation and political will to implement GBV Laws
Recognised the need for speedy prosecution processes of GBV cases.
Pledged sustainable economic empowerment schemes to support women to acquire skills and become more independent hereby reducing their vulnerability.
As Wives of Governors, through working in solidarity as a collective, our platforms and voices can be leveraged into something powerful to achieve meaningful change. As the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence 2020 comes to an end, with the theme Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent and Collect, and in line with our Action Plan, we members of NGWA-GBV hereby commit to the following:
Vigilance to ensure that the political will of the State Governors does not wane
An enabling environment for survivors of GBV to step forward without fear of intimidation or coercion
Sensitisation and awareness raising to ensure that families and communities, no matter how well meaning, do not obstruct access to justice for GBV survivors
Working with political, religious, traditional and community leaders for effective community engagement and ownership
Encouragement of civil society organisations and women’s rights groups who are mostly at the frontlines of GBV service provision
Advocacy for financial, material and human resources required for effective GBV responses.
In order to tackle a problem as complex as GBV, we require the active involvement of all elements of society. As mothers, wives and leaders in our own right, we are ready and willing to play our part.
We are grateful to HE Dr Aisha Buhari, First Lady of Nigeria for being a dependable ally in the quest for a better Nigeria for all men and women. We acknowledge the hard work of Dame Pauline Tallen, Minister for Women Affairs for making GBV advocacy a priority.
We thank the Nigerian Governors Forum and all the Governors for their support and encouragement. We are grateful to The Ford Foundation, Access Bank and the UN/EU Spotlight Initiative for supporting our work. Together, we can tackle the menace of GBV and make our communities safer for women and girls.
DECEMBER 10TH 2020
HE Erelu Bisi Fayemi
Chair, Nigerian Governors Wives Against Gender Based Violence
HE Dr Olufolake Abdulrasaq
Secretary, Nigerian Governors Wives Against Gender Based Violence