By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Kaduna State Government has said that it is committed to collaborating with development partners in tackling the menace of sexual and gender based violence (GBV) in the state with a view to reducing it to the barest minimum.
Commissioner, Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, Hafsat Mohammed Baba stated this during a one-day Capacity Building Workshop on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, organised for 30 women by Beular Future Leaders Foundation under the sponsorship of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
Represented by the Director on Youth Development, Mrs. Maryam Muazu, the commissioner expressed the determination of government to collaborate with development partners through community engagement to educate women on the scourge of GBV to enable them have the right knowledge and channels to follow whenever such issues occur in their communities.
According to the commissioner, Kaduna State has the highest and largest Sexual Assault Referral Center (SARC) in the country, with women and children shelters that accommodate those in trauma and crisis situation with a view to providing them with psycho-social and medical support, security and legal aid to ensure perpetrators are held accountable while victims get the needed justice and treatment for easy re-intergration into the society.
She identified the SARC in the state, including:Yusuf Dantsoho Memorial Hospital Tudun Wada, Gwamna Awan Hospital Kakuri, General Hospital Kafanchan and Gambo Sawaba Hospital Zaria, which she said, have been effective in terms of data generation, usage and sharing, as well as priority in planning for interventions and care for citizens.
Hafsat Baba pointed out that the state government through the ministry, remains resolute in providing inclusive governance for all by giving priority to women and youth, including people living with disabilities to promote human capital development which is one of the cardinal objectives of the current administration in the state.
In her remarks, Co-founder of Beular Future Leaders Foundation, Mrs. Koni Bakka said the one-day event was targeted at building the capacity of community volunteers (women) to serve as intermediary between the people (communities), and the regulatory agencies such as SARC, law enforcement agencies, and human rights commission.
She however, pointed out that the capacity building session sponsored by the UNFPA became imperative following the rising cases of GBV in the society that routinely go unreported either due to ignorance or low socio-economic status of victims, and therefore, called for concerted efforts towards ensuring perpetrators of the act are brought to book to serve as deterrent for others with similar criminal tendencies.
Mrs. Bakka posited further that, the deadly scourge could be tackled via constant awareness creation and sensitization of parents, female children, youth, education and good parenting among others in the society.
Some participants at the event, Mrs. Caroline Nelson and Ginika Ethan who expressed gratitude to the organization for enlightening them on issues relating to GBV, described the event as timely and pledged to step-down the knowledge and skills acquired to their immediate communities to end the dreaded act.
During an interactive session, the participants identified lack of good parenting, indecent dressing, ignorance, poor parent-child relationship, and lack of godly upbringing as factors that could contribute to the rising cases of GBV in the society, and called for synergy among societal stakeholders such as teachers, traditional and religious leaders, parents and people from all works of life to take the fight against the menace seriously towards ensuring a sane and progressive society.