General News

Kwara: CSOs Alleged Increase In Gender-Based Violence

By Taiwo Ogunniyi

Civil Society Organizations in Kwara state says available statistics have showed an increase in gender-based violence (GBV) in the state.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin during the launching of ‘Stamp out GBV in Kwara, a project against gender-based violence, the executive director of Rising Child Foundation, Ms. Taibat Hussein, said that GBV cases kept growing and perpetrators went unpunished
despite recent interventions by
several government institutions and civil society groups in the state.

“Few months ago, the Kwara State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) came out to raise alarm over the growing incidence of violence against women and girls in the State.

“The NSCDC said it receives reports of GBV almost on a daily basis. On its part, the Human Rights Commission said between January and March, 2021, it recorded no fewer than 200 cases of domestic violence against women and girls”.

Ms. Hussein, who said that there is a need for a new approach to activism against GBV, said that the newly launched project, Stamp Out GBV in Kwara’, would cover series of advocacy programmes and action plans towards prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls in Kwara state.

“As part of the project, we shall organise a broad-based training for 25 selected young ladies that will be regarded as GBV Champions. They will be educated on GBV and its implications on the society, trained on how to use social media – majorly Twitter – to advocate GBV-related issues, and what they can do to curb the spread of GBV in their respective communities.

At the end of the training, we will create a Kwara Gender Action Group that will comprise participants at the training. The group will work in local communities across Kwara state to create awareness on GBV issues, track and report cases of violent abuse against women, and advocate for redress for victims and punishment for the offenders.

“Our GBV champions will also carry out sustained awareness on GBV across senior secondary schools in Kwara state while creating a pipeline for safe reportage of GBV cases”, she said.

The group also said that it would embark on market drive, organise radio shows, reach out to community and religious leaders and other relevant stakeholders to create awareness on GBV and seek their support and cooperation towards the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

“To ensure the success of this project, we are humbly soliciting the support of the State and other relevant bodies. We are also open to collaboration with other civil society groups working on GBV issues in Kwara. I know there are a number of them in town and we are ready to work with you all”.

Ms. Hussein urged government to create more support centres where concerned individuals and victims of GBV can report their cases and seek help, saying that the measure would increase access to live-saving services for the victims.

“At present, there is a low conviction rate for GBV in Nigeria and this sadly contributes to emboldening perpetrators to continue to perpetuate these heinous crimes against women and girls. For instance, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development recently disclosed that out of the over 5,100 cases of GBV currently in court, only a paltry 16 convictions have been secured.

“There is, therefore, a need for our judiciary to prioritize the prosecution of perpetrators of GBV. In this regard, Special Courts can be created to entertain GBV cases to ensure swift dispensation of justice.

“Security agencies should handle GBV cases professionally without shaming the victims. Similarly, parents should desist from their abused children from speaking up under the guise of shame”.

Edited by Felix Ajide