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Abia First Lady Vows To Combat SGBV, Sets Up Referral Centers

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Priscilla Otti, the wife of the Abia governor, has committed to developing a practical action plan in partnership with the state Ministry of Women Affairs. The goal is to domesticate the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) policy trust of the Nigeria Governors’ Spouses Forum, aiming to eradicate gender-based violence in Abia.

Mrs. Otti made this declaration during the ongoing 4th annual conference of the Nigeria Governors’ Spouses Forum in Abuja. The conference is being held to commemorate the 16 days of activism on sexual and gender-based violence. She emphasized that she is now more knowledgeable and equipped with positive strategies to eradicate sexual and gender-based violence in society.

According to her, ‘the theme of the conference ‘Youth Allies: Bridging Generations to End Violence’ elicits interest not only to end gender-based violence but to empower women, create cancer awareness, provide shelter for women and the girl child, and set up referral centers where victims can seek redress and be rehabilitated’.

Reflecting on her conference experience, the Governor’s wife emphasized the imperative of tackling the prevalent issue in the state. She expressed a notable concern for implementing a mobile court system to swiftly prosecute offenders, securing justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence. In a stern message, she cautioned against perpetuating harmful practices that endanger the safety of women and girls, demanding an immediate cessation.

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She praised Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazak of Kwara state, the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, for his substantial support to the Nigeria Governors’ Spouses Forum, particularly in spearheading the establishment of a mobile court.

Professor Olufolake Abdulrazak, the forum’s chairperson and first lady of Kwara state, asserted in her address that the moment has come to actively engage youth allies in the collaborative endeavor to shape generations committed to putting an end to gender-based violence.

Professor Olufolake detailed that over the past four years, the Nigeria Governors’ Spouses Forum has been vigorously involved in advocacies, meaningful engagements, strategic partnerships, and collaborations.

Their focus is to empower Nigerian women and girls to fully realize their potentials, concurrently spearheading awareness campaigns to address concerns regarding sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria.

‘Owing to the spike in incidents of sexual and gender-based violence during the lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, we have amplified advocacies that led to the declaration of a state of emergency on gender-based violence.’

‘It has become imperative that young people have to be inculcated with these values hence the theme of the 2023 conference ‘Youth Allies: Bridging Generations to End Violence’ gives credence to our resolve to continue to deepen engagements, collaboration, and partnerships,’ she said.

Also in her speech, the Minister for Women Affairs, Hon. Uju Ohaneye, disclosed that a lot of money has been voted for advocacies in the past but now we are expediting action by instituting a mobile court to address these issues and putting an end to gender-based violence in the country.

At the interactive section, some of the panelists, Activist Onyeka Onwenu, Movie producer Mrs. Joke Silva, Dr. Saudatu Mahdi of women’s rights advancement and protection alternative (WRAPA), and Dr. Kemi Da Silva Ibru, narrated their experiences and advocated for civil and moral reorientation of the youths at the earliest stage. They called on the Nigerian government to do more by eradicating sexual and gender-based violence in the country.

Mrs. Otti, following her prior engagements, visited the United Nations building in Abuja, where she reiterated Abia state’s unyielding commitment to tackling gender-based violence. In a significant collaborative effort, she and her counterpart signed a memorandum of understanding with Unicef, formalizing a partnership compact geared towards the eradication of violence against women and girls.

Mrs. Otti, in her explanation, detailed that this compact specifies key actions to reinforce birth registration, enforce legal frameworks, and enhance access to quality health services. It symbolizes a collective commitment to drive transformative change, orchestrated by the Nigeria Governors’ Spouses Forum, government agencies, civil society organizations, and communities, in the joint endeavor to combat violence.

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