Violence: UNICEF, Gender Ministry, Others Partner FG Over Menace

September 18, 2020
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EMMANUEL MGBEAHURIKE, Owerri

UNICEF has reassured the Federal and State governments across the country of its commitment and support to promote and protect the rights of the child and women from all forms of violence and discrimination so as to build an egalitarian nation.

This submission was made by the UNICEF Chief of field office, Enugu Dr. Ibrahim Conteh while presenting an address at the 3-day Sensitization conference with Civil Society Organizations, Young Peoples Network, and Orientation Advocacy Group, organized by the Imo State Ministry of Gender and Vulnerable  Groups Affairs with support from UNICEF held in Owerri, the capital of Imo state.

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Dr Conteh stressed that the UNICEF had initiated a number of innovative measures towards the actualization of individual needs, corporate bodies and institutions that are conscientiously committed to the protection and elevation of the rights of children and women across the country.

Dr. Conteh who was represented by the UNICEF consultant for Imo and Ebonyi States, Benjamin Mbakwem commended the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in the state for the remarkable role to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), highlighting that the CSO and the UNICEF would continue to re-strategize towards achieving this objective.

Declaring the workshop open, the commissioner for Gender and Vulnerable Group Affairs, Nkechi Ugwu explained that the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS 2018) has indicated that the prevalent rate of FGM in the State  rose from 32.3.% to 63% in 2018 and expressed astonishment in this regard.

The commissioner submitted that it had become absolutely necessary for CSOs and the young people’s network to play fundamental role in providing the government with credible, reliable and independent information about the status of the FGM elimination campaign in the state.

Mrs Ugwu stressed the need to strengthen the capacity of CSO and young people’s network in the campaign against FGM stated that the United Nation’s Joint Programme on FGM in phases 1 and 2 partnered with the state government and CSO’s to respond to issues associated with FGM.

According to her, in phase III, the Joint programme would further strengthen this relationship by building capacity in the participation consultative engagement with civil society organizations.

The commissioner who was represented by the permanent secretary of the Ministry, Lady Obiageri Amadi Obi, paid special attention to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic in the country charged the participants to provide integrated messages on positive ways to end violence against children and to increase the engagement of COS’s and young people’s network with policy makers for the elimination of FGM in the state.

Speaking, the State Director of the NOA Vitus Ekeocha said that the agency had commenced rigorous sensitization and awareness campaign in the focal communities in the state against FGM.

This, he said is in collaboration with the relevant institutions such as the Ministries of Health and Gender and Vulnerable Group Affairs with tremendous success already record through consensus youth building, women and traditional rulers on how to eliminate FGM from their cultural practices.

In her contribution, the Director of Women Affairs of the state Ministry of Gender Affairs-Dr. Mrs Blessing Azubuike revealed that a total of 35 cases were reported to the state committee on violence against women and children between the months of April and August this year.

Dr. Azubuike described rape as one of the different forms of violence against women said that the Ministry had commenced a comprehensive documentation of cases of Violence against women which according to her is on the increase.

The workshop which featured lectures on violence against children, women, girls, their forms, perpetrators where they occur, causes and risk factors also examined the imports of cultures and traditions, their dynamism, values, benefits and dangers as well as factors reinforcing harmful traditional practices across the state.

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