Gender Violence: NOA, EU Initiative Partner to Improve Advocacy in Ebonyi Communities

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The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in partnership with European (EU)-United Nations (UN) Spotlight Initiative, said it was committed to ending violence against women, girls and children in Ebonyi.

Dr Desmond Onwo, NOA’s Director in the state, said this at the closing of a two-week Advocacy Dialogue with the traditional, religious leaders, youths and community stakeholders on Violence Against Women and Girls in Onicha, Ebonyi.

Onwo, represented by Mr Victor Okike, Assistant Director, Head of NOA, Onicha Local Government Area, said such acts were worrisome.

He said the programme was to seek support to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in the area, Ebonyi and Nigeria in general.

Onwo noted that the targeted issues included sexual assault, rape, girl-child labour, Female Genetial Mutilations (FGM), beating of women, denying of women and girl-child of her husband and father’s inheritance and denying children right to school.

According to him, the programme in partnership with EU-UN Spotlight Initiative and UNICEF, is pertinent to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.

“We are here for the closing ceremony of the two weeks advocacy dialogue with various stakeholders in Onicha, soliciting and mobilising support to eliminate violence against women, girls and children.

“The programme is organised by NOA with the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative.

“We have met with the traditional rulers, religious leaders, women groups, surveillance groups and the youth for the elimination of those harmful social norms around GBV, Child Marriage and FGM in Ebonyi State,” he said.

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Mr Godwin Igwe, who spoke on behalf of the Spotlight Initiative, also added that the programme was apt to engage all the stakeholders in the state.

Igwe, Director, Child Development Department, Ebonyi Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, said the ministry had been an implementing partner of EU-UN Spotlight in the state.

He said there was need to abolish those harmful norms against women and children in the communities, noting that protecting their rights was paramount to the growth of mankind.

“Child labour and marriage destroy the potential of a girl-child. Give her education. Say no to sexual violence,” Igwe said.

Mrs Ijeoma Mike-Ajanwachukwu, representarive of Ebonyi Ministry of Justice, also called for the need to protect the rights of women.

Mike-Ajanwachukwu decried the situation, saying that Women’s life ended in the kitchen and urged the stakeholders to support the campaign against such attitude, to protect women.

“Stop the beating of women, rape and all forms of violence, FGM, sexual assault, and denying of inheritance or property. We have roles to play to end every form of violence against women,” she said.

A traditional ruler, Chief Okike Onu, said the people were ready to support the campaign to ensure that women, girls and children were protected in the area.

Onu expressed worry on the spate of violence against women, not only in the area, but society in general and urged all hands to be on deck to check it.

On FGM, the traditional ruler said it was no more in practice in the area.

He said that they would still take the enlightenment campaign to the grassroots.

“The FGM was in practice here but it has been reduced.

“In fact, it is no more in practice. Yes, we have law againtst it and if violated, a fine will be collected from the offender,” Onu said.

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