Connected Development (CD), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has urged critical stakeholders in Ebonyi to rise up against all forms of gender based violence (GBV) in the state.
The organisation made the call in a statement by Mrs Melva Uguru, its state Coordinator and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abakaliki.
She said that the organisation recently embarked on advocacy visits across the state to sensitise stakeholders on the prevalence of GBV in Ebonyi.
The NGO organised a review of state and national action plan for the elimination of all forms of GBV with stakeholders comprising; traditional rulers, religious and women leaders, civil society organisations, media practitioners among others.
Uguru said that the aim of the advocacy was to enlighten stakeholders on the existence of relevant laws prohibiting violence against persons including the Violence Against Persons Prohibitions Act (VAPP) signed in 2015.
She added that the advocacy was equally intended to enhance stakeholders knowledge on tracking budgetary provisions by the state House of Assembly earmarked to tackle gender related violence.
“The stakeholders workshop and advocacy visit we organised were aimed at promoting more grassroots awareness of budgetary provisions put in place and how these budgets affect those at the rural areas.
“Beyond being aware of budgetary provisions, we hope to ensure that those at the grassroots develop capacity to respond right to issues of gender based violence,” Uguru said.
She said that there were several substantial lacuna observed in the Ebonyi budget beginning from 2018 to 2020, noting that budgetary allocations were not specific to projects they were meant for.
Uguru said that a five-year action plan has been produced for the state with respect to proffering solution to gender based issues.
Also, Miss Ijeoma Oforka, CD’s Head of Operation regretted that Ebonyi ranked highest in states with the highest prevalence of GBV in spite of being the first in enacting or domesticating anti GBV laws in Nigeria.
“Gender based violence is something that may not be outrightly eliminated but, we are on our way to bringing it down to the barest minimum.
“With all our laws in place, Ebonyi prides itself as having entrenched or domesticated all laws made by Nigeria government against gender based violence.
“But, unfortunately, Ebonyi also ranks the highest in gender based violence especially in sexual abuse and female genital mutilation (FGM) practice,” Oforka said.
She called for a multi-stakeholders engagement to curb the menace while appealing to the state government to ensure proper implementation of its budgets to achieve set goals.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Connected Development is sponsored by Spotlight Initiative, an initiative committed to eliminating violence against women and girls. (NAN)