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Nigeria: Discriminatory Laws, Weak Legal Policy, Influence Gender Based Violence – Expert

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By Joseph Edegbo :
As Africa Media Development Foundation commences the  implementation of a project on Violence Against Women and Girls, an Activist on Women’s Rights, Barr. Rebecca Sako-John has identified discriminatory laws and policies, weak legal  policy and institutional framework as some of the factors influencing Gender Based Violence in the country.
 The Expert was speaking at a Refresher Training organized for implementing staff of Africa Media Development Foundation, AMDF on Rise Up project titled, “Advocating For the Prevention of Gender Based Violence.
The 12 months Rise Up project is of Public Health Institute, Johns Hopkins University USA, and is being implemented by AMDF in 12 identified communities in Kaduna North and Kajuru LGAs of Kaduna State, North West NIgeria.
Describing gender based violence as any act perpetrated against a person’s will among others, Barr. Sako-John said 1 in every 3 women is victim to one form of violence, or the other.
Barr. Sako-John who is the Executive Director, Legal Awareness For Nigerian Women, gave an insight into the situation in Kaduna State listing Child Marriage as one of the highest gender based violence, followed by Female Genital Mutilation as well as rape.
Some of the Gender Based Violence have physical, economic, financial and psychological effects that negatively impact on development, a situation she observed, might have appropriately informed AMDF to go into the project.
She then asked Nigerians to see Gender Based Violence as a public problem and not private since it affects the society.
On the impact and effects of COVID-19 on Gender Based Violence in Kaduna State, the Right Activist noted that the pandemic led to increased cases due to lockdown resulting in confinement and enclosure of people as well as social and economic losses.
“Many girls and boys could not return to school after lockdown having gotten pregnant or married”
Sako-John stated that apart from poor access to information or opportunity or assistance due to digital gap between men and women, women deprived representation in decision making on COVID-19 response.
As part of strategies and engagement, the Women Rights Activist, arms the AMDF staff in their advocacy to always preach these words of encouragement that “, All human beings are born free and equal dignity and rights”,
 “There is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence, rather on the perpetrator” she concludes.
Acknowledging the contribution of the Expert, the Project Manager and Rise Up Fellow, Mr Benjamin Maigari, thanked  Barr. Sako-John for sparing her time to be part of the building up process towards the commencement of the project in the identified communities.
“We are about going to the identified communities, we will work with you and involve you in high advocacy”, Maigari assured.
On his part, the Executive Director of AMDF, Mr Iliya Kure observed that the ample knowledge the staff have acquired, would actually going to impact on the work in the communities.
It will also add value to activities that are going to be carried out in the State and that they would be working with her in the implementation of the AMDF programmes, Kure assured.
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