Connected Development (CODE) and the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria are calling for an end to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the country.
The two bodies is calling on Kano state, and other state governments to adopt the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act.
This development is as a result of saddening reports made by the Inspector-General of the Nigerian Police, Mohammed Adamu, that 717 rape cases were recorded in 5 months across the country, marking an increase in Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
According to Canada’s Acting High Commissioner, Nicolas Simard, women’s participation is vital for every sector to develop.
“Beyond the policies, there is also need for action. Women do politics differently; women do business differently. If you want to create jobs, you need to create small and medium enterprises. Women participation is vital for every sector to develop.”
The Chief Executive Officer of CODE, Hamzat Lawal , called on Government
to ensure the signing of the Child Rights Act, and also the speedy passage of the VAPP Act and domesticate its policies.
“This will promote ways to protect our women and girls from abuse and violence,
Though, Kano State has long battled the prevalence of child rape, it is commendable that the State House of Assembly has now passed the Child Rights Act awaiting assent by the Governor.”
CODE, with support from the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria, is working to support the empowerment of vulnerable and marginalized women in Kano State, including those living with disabilities, suffering from HIV/AIDS, and victims of SGBV, by helping them to be catalysts for change by building their capacity to advocate more effectively.
“It includes using technology platforms to promote respect for women’s rights, advocate for gender-responsiveness in public service delivery, and secure the adoption and implementation of the VAPP Act.”
In Nigeria, 17% of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to sexual or physical violence at least once in their lives. Violence against women and girls has long-lasting and negative health, social and economic effects that can span generations, often leading to cycles of violence within families and communities. It is a pandemic that we must condemn and work towards ending.
CODE and the Canadian High Commission is urging the Nigerian government to establish a comprehensive policy and regulatory framework that guarantees the safety and security of its most vulnerable citizens across the Federation, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crises can exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and risk factors, leading to an increase in SGBV.
Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy recognizes that supporting gender equality, and the empowerment of women and girls is the best way to build a more peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous world. Preventing and responding to all forms of SGBV is a priority for Canada.
The VAPP Act, which clearly outlines laws to tackle violence against women and girls in Nigeria, has still not been implemented in twenty States, five years after its enactment. Most citizens remain unaware of its laws and implications.