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Nigerian campaigners seek more action against gender-based violence

Men in Nigeria have joined in speaking up against various forms of violence against women and girls around the globe.

Joining women to commemorate the International Widows Day, the Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership Strategy, Otive Igbuzor, said he was not just interested in reducing the rate of gender violence in the globe but rather focused on ending violence.

The IWD, ratified by the United Nations to address poverty and injustice faced by widows and their dependants in many countries, is observed annually on June 23.

Mr. Igbuzor, who is one of the members of the network of men leaders of the UN, called on men and boys to join in creating awareness and public enlightenment on the need to end gender-based violence.

“Most men offenders who are involved in violence against women and girls do not even know that what they do is criminal,” Mr. Igbuzor said.

He listed approaches to ending violence among the populace. These include: speaking out against violence against women and girls, creating awareness, research, advocacy and campaigns, legal reforms, organizing network of men leaders and abolition of harmful traditional practices among others.

Gender Advisor at the NSRP, Eleanor Nwadinobi, said it was worrisome that women and girls who have been the worst hit victims in conflict and violent situations have also turned to become participants – suicide bombers. She decried the exclusion of women in decision making on issues that concerns the female folk.

“We must take the needs of women and girls into account to ensure full participation of women in all activities of conflict resolution and peace building process,” Ms. Nwadinobi said.

She called for the documentation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill, 2015 and National Action Plan 1325 by various states across Nigeria.

A communications officer at the NSRP, Chinedu Anarado, noted that violence does not end with physical, emotional or psychological attack.

He said the use of non-provocative words must be discouraged among neighbours, sibling and especially corporate organisations.

“Be careful about what you say to your neighbours, spouse, sisters or brothers; people do not know that these things are wrong. Let us start within our small spaces and see the positive result we can achieve,” Mr. Anarado said.

Also, journalist and gender rights activist, Bilikisu Yusuf, said it is important for journalists and the media to improve on their task as a watchdog for peaceful coexistence.

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