The advocacy on Gender-Based Violence (GBV), continues to be applicable nationwide, many governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including civil societies and groups have continued to register their willingness towards finding lasting solutions to the plague of child molestation in Nigeria.
To this effect, the Wife of the Kebbi State Governor, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, in a digital Summit organized by the Movement Against Rape and Sexual Violence (MARS-V), submitted that the grassroots advocacy needs to be stepped up, in order to yield positive results.
Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu said that, the advocacy takes high level of discussions about the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) VAPP and Child-Right Acts.
According to her, it is essential to note that, the whole issue is about people’s culture.
She said: “There is a general culture of silence among people at the grassroots.
“We need to constantly engage the rural gatekeepers at the grassroots; the religious and traditional rulers, because they are major facilitators to domesticating and implementing laws against sexual violence.
“Secondly, in order to change the mindset that female genital mutilation is wrong and people are supposed not to mutilate a girl-child, we have to engage them very well.
” Although we have tried in recent times, it was a bit better, but more efforts need to be put there, because there are major obstacles that we have faced.
“Even those that have fair bit of understanding, have their own believe and interpretation of verses of the holy Quran, so we are finding ways of getting that mindset change,” she said.
Speaking among other distinguished personalities on the topic “Obstacles to invoking chance in Gender based laws”, the wife of the Kebbi State governor bared her mind on the reformed penal code laws for northern states in comparison of what is obtainable in the southern part of the country.
The VAPP Act, according to Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, is an improvement of pre-existing laws, in that it considers a lot of things that the other law did not treat, aside from the punishment.
It was also imperative that northern states that practice the penal code, improve on that, so that they can be able adapt the VAPP act, and so many other issues.
She added: “Recently in Kebbi State, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has presented the last bill to the state’s House of Assembly, alongside the Child-Right Act and the VAPP Act for hearing and passage into law.
” There is hope that, the bills will see the light of the day, since the reformed penal code has already been adapted in the state.”
She further commended the concerted efforts by the civil societies and advocates, including the development partners and agencies like the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), when the current outcry on GBV started.
She said,” although Nigeria is huge country, but there is need to categorize it into zones, so that there would be a way in which everybody can have a voice to speak to a peculiar need of their area.”
The webinar which is titled “Ending the Culture of Impunity in cases of rape and gender based violence,” with renowned TV Host, Vimbai Mutinhiri-Ekpeyong as moderator.
It featured panelists from various fields who wil be focusing on topics such as: Speaking through the lens, Why the Laws need to be changed to extreme laws/punishments on proven rape and also harsher on other forms of gender based violence.
Orhers include : The culture of silence and impunity of the perpetrators that go with it, Obstacles to Invoking change in Gender-based Laws, from the perspective of a Doctor and Gynecologist – Health risks and effects of rape on the survivors; Explaining the Holistic Legal View of Rape and GBV and Emphasizing the Role of Women in fighting Rape & GBV.
Other topics include the role of journalism in creating safe spaces for breaking the barrier of silence, emphasizing the key role of NGOs in addressing rape and GBV and Redefining and Strengthening our current Rape Laws, the sustainable means to end rape cases in Nigeria.
Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai was the guest speaker, while other speakers were Aisha-Ummi Garba el-Rufai, Wife of Kaduna State Governor and UNFPA Ambassador on Fistula, and Niger State First Lady, Amina Abubakar Sani Bello, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Hauwa Ojeifo Founder, Mental Health Coach and Advocate at She Writes Woman.
Others were Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynecology & Founder – Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), Sixtus Obinna Nwoke Convened African Indigenous Center for Sustainable Development Goals, Rafat Salami, Author At VON, Dame Pauline Tallen, Honorable Minister Women Affairs, Amaka Ogundipe Esq and Dame Julie Okah-Donli, Director General NAPTIP.
Special Adviser SA Media to Kebbi State Governor