President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday acknowledged worsening cases of sexual and gender-based violence in the country due to the lockdown measures introduced to check the spread of COVID-19.
He said this in a goodwill message to commemorate the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women which kicks off today.
Buhari stated that sexual and gender-based violence in all its forms had been recurrent especially considering the alarming statistics of violence against vulnerable persons recorded in Nigeria, particularly women and girls.
Buhari, who said he was aware of the unfortunate situation from reports of incidents in the country, highlighted actions taken by the government to address the issue, according to a statement by his spokesman Garba Shehu.
Sexual violence (rape and sexual assault) accounted for 17 percent of the total incidents reported and forced marriage was at 10 percent based on a gender-based violence (GBV) sub-sector, Mid-Year Report, based off 1.3 million people with 45 percent and 34 percent of the target population being girls and women respectively.
In July, an inter-ministerial committee on eradication of sexual and gender-based violence was set up in response to cases of sexual and gender-based violence in the country arising from the COVID-19 lockdowns. The Senate had also approved the sexual harassment bill in furtherance of the legislative agenda to protect women’s rights.
The #16daysofactivism against gender-based violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.
The campaign runs annually from November 25, the International Day for the elimination of violence against women, to December 10, Human Rights Day.
It began in 1991 by the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute, held by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University.
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