Women advocacy groups in Bayelsa State in collaboration with the Bayelsa State Gender Response Initiative Team (GRIT) on Saturday staged a peace walk against gender-based violence with a declaration of zero tolerance to cases and commitment to the elimination of such violence against women and girls in the state.
Chairman of GRIT, Barr. Dise Goddy-Harry, said despite the appreciable awareness and record of arrest and conviction recorded in the state, the last one year showed 59 incidents of gender-based violence, including twelve cases of defilement, one rape, 20 cases of abandonment, five cases of battering and two murder cases.
Also listed as recorded cases of violence against women are two cases of denial of property, two cases of child abuse, five cases of physical assault, and three cases of emotional abuse among others.
In her speech, Goddy-Harry noted that the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which is being championed by GRIT, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health , FIDA, GREP, Do Foundation, World Health Oranization, MWAN, CCCRN and other advocacy groups in Bayelsa State, with a week-long sensitisation of key stakeholders, is a clear show of commitment to the issue of zero tolerance to sexual and gender based violence in the state.
She pointed out that the Bayelsa State GRIT and its partners in commemoration of the sixteen days of ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER BASED kick started its activities with a media talk shows and interactive session at schools and two community engagement to Opolo and Ovum community in the state.
Also speaking, the Head of the Legal Unit of GRIT, Barr. Deme Pamosoo, pointed out that the violence against persons prohibition law of Bayelsa State has helped to protect women and girls from violence in public and private life”Bayelsa state have gone far in the application of the laws. We have secured conviction on a case of gang rape and those involved were sentenced to life imprisonment. Another defilement case incurred three years imprisonment against the perpetrator.”
She commended various agencies including the Nigerian Police, Medical Practitioners and many other stakeholders for assisting in the campaign against violence against women. The Laws have reduced the case of violence against women.
In her speech, the Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Edith Young, declared the commitment of media practitioners in the state to uplift efforts in sensitizing the people of the state on issue of gender based violence.
The Head of the Legal Services and Enforcement, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Barr. Goselle Vining Nimnan, assured the people of the state of the ongoing efforts by the commission to put together a compendium of data on the existing Civil and Gender advocacy groups in the state and their activities as it relates to efforts at protecting rights of women, children and other persons in the state. The 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
The campaign was started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. It continued to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
In support of this civil society initiative, the United Nations Secretary-General launched in 2008 the campaign UNITE by 2030 to End Violence against Women, which runs parallel to the 16 Days of Activism.
Every year, the UNiTE Campaign focuses on a specific theme. This year’s theme is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls” and invites everyone to play their role in ending violence against women and girls, show support and solidarity to women’s rights activists and to resist the rollback on women’s rights. You can access the concept note here.