Women Rights Initiative takes gender based violence campaign to traditional institutions

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From Abdu Jibrin

Women Rights Initiative in collaboration with the Technical Working Group in Kebbi State have taken Gender Based Violence (GBV) sensitisation campaign to traditional institutions, to properly educate the rural dwellers on the newly- signed GBV law and it’s danger in the state.

The groups sensitized traditional institutions and women to the dangers associated with giving rapists cover by shielding them or distorting vital information while case is before court of law.

Women right initiative, Technical working Group and some traditional leaders during the sensitization campaign held at Gulumbe in Birnin kebbi local government area of kebbi state.

Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State had, on July 27, assented to the law after the State Assembly deliberated,

The governor signed two bills into law including mainly Violence Against Individuals and the Child Rights Protection Law.

During the event at the District Head’s office, Gulumbe in Birnin Kebbi Local Government area, the Executive Director Women Rights Initiative, Mrs Laiatu Augustine-Bamaiyi, said they were in the village to enlighten people on GBV, especially rape and other domestic violence.

She said already, there was a law recently signed by the state governor in respect of that, adding that GBV was not restricted to rape alone but covered other things such as forced marriage, emotional trauma and physical abuse, among others.

Mrs Bamaiyi explained that emotional trauma included calling somebody with names to stigmatise or degrade a person’s status, assuring that those found guilty would now face the wrath of the law to serve as deterent to others.

In remarks the Kebbi State Coordinator, Network Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), Malam Kabiru Musa, identified rape as the most grievous offense in the law which attracted life imprisonment for culprit, apart from receiving lashes publicly on a market day.

Musa said parents, relations, friends or anybody hiding the case or attempting to spoil the case would also be prosecuted by the law, hence the need to expose any person or group, to ensure a decent society.

“People should not hide under the cover of I don’t want my daughter to be stigmatised, the best way to eradicate the menace from our society is to be exposing the culprits to face the wrath of the law,” he advocated.

While describing GBV as a modern day slavery, Musa cautioned parents against giving out their children to people to work as house-girls or house-help as well as falling prey to trafficking in persons.

Mrs Stella Abah, Integrated Health Officer, USAID, further explained that the law signed by the state government was applicable to both sexes.

She identified denial of right, abandonment of spouse, beating of spouse, forced isolation from family, denial of visiting hospital for medical attention, compelling child to hard labour and others, as some of the offences captured by the new laws.

Abah said a centre was established by the governor’s wife, Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu to take care of girls that were abused, assuring that all services, including medication in the centre, were free.
She explained that all information received from victims would be kept strictly confidential, adding that nobody would be allowed to have access to such information.
Malama A’isha Umar-Gwandu, from Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), lamented that some of the violence, especially rape were being committed by close relations
advising that people should report, to rid the society of such menace.
“GBV is not affecting only female folk but it also affects the male child. We must bear in mind that these children are trust from Almighty Allah; we should do everything possible to ensure that we give them proper upbringing.

“Let me advise us as parents, to ensure that we always check the handset (mobile phone) of our children to know what they are doing, this will certainly go a long way in checking their activities,” she advised.

She stressed the need for parents to draw their children close to them, because doing so would give them free mind to voice out “what is in their minds”.

Responding, the District Head of Gulumbe, Alhaji Abubakar Dangaladima Gulumbe, appreciated the Women Rights Initiative and CSOs for choosing Gulumbe to be the first district to host the programme.

He observed that all deliberations were not far from Islamic teaching, saying that the wrongs being witnessed in the country were consequences of deviating from the right path, hence the need for people to repent.

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