Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has inaugurated a 20-man committee on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in order to curb all forms of violence against both genders in the state.
Inaugurating the committee at Government House, Minna, Bello described the event as important considering the increase in GBV in the society which he said has translated to abuse of human rights in recent times.
Bello, who observed that Gender-Based Violence is not restricted to only female gender but to the male as well, explained through his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel-Berje that the constitution of the committee will pave way for a better society adding that members of the committee have the capabilities to address the menace in the state.
In her response, the Chairperson of the Committee and wife of the Niger State Governor, Dr Amina Abubakar Bello appreciated the Governor for inaugurating the committee saying it is a display of political will and evidence of the state government’s commitment towards curbing GBV in the state.
The Chairperson noted that GBV, which cut across both genders, has been deeply rooted in the society noting that women and girls are more vulnerable assuring that, with the committee in place now, more grounds would be covered in terms of advocacy and prosecution of offenders to serve as a deterrent to others.
She said the statistics of GBV in the state is worrisome particularly during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown where there was an exponential increase in rape cases affecting old women and children of less than three months.
The Chairperson of the Committee stressed the need for more awareness for people to report such cases and discourage stigmatization.
Amina said the Ministry of Women Affairs has been working tirelessly in collaboration with other relevant organizations such as the Sexual Assault Referral Centre code name RAYUWA which is a one-stop-shop for addressing and caring for the GBV victims.
She requested for the replication of such centres across all the Local Government Areas in the state pointing out that the responsibility of curbing GBV lies with the government, all critical stakeholders, and the support of the general public.
The Chairperson disclosed that the National Academy of Science has selected Niger alongside Ekiti, Abia, and Oyo states to benefit from a grant from Ford Foundation to implement policies and strategies to address GBV in the selected states.
The Committee members inaugurated are representatives of various relevant government ministries, departments, and agencies in the state such as Ministries of Women Affairs, Justice, Information, Education, Health, Nigerian Police, Imam Forum, CAN, Traditional rulers, FIDA, RAYUWA, WRAPA, and Child Right Agency.