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Ford Foundation, GADA Seek End to GBV in Cross River  

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Ford Foundation and a Nigeria based non governmental organization, Gender and Development Action (GADA) have tasked religious and traditional institutions to end Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Cross River State.

The groups gave the charge yesterday at a stakeholders meeting with Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Traditional Rulers and the State Government, titled “High Level Stakeholders Advocacy Meeting on Reducing Gender Based Violence in Cross River State” .

Speaking during her remark, the Program Officer, Ford Foundation, Olufunke Baruwa, said it is the collective responsibility of every stakeholder especially the faith based and traditional institutions to stop all forms of GBV in their space.

She said, “sadly, most pastors prefer to protect the perpetrators…we need them to stop the issues on witchcraft, where a woman will be accused of being a witch, husband raping his wife and they say, keep it a secret because marriage is for better for worse. We need you to change these narratives. Ask government to prioritise GBV in the state. Faith based leaders and traditional rulers must stand up against GBV because they are powerful voices in our society and GADA is in collaboration with faith based organisations to end this menace”.

In an interview with some newsmen after the event, the founder of GADA, Mrs. Nkoyo Toyo, said the event was organized to bring together stakeholders, most especially the new government in the state to find lasting solution to gender based violence in Cross River.

Toyo, a former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia said, gender based violence is a wide spread menace and “this is a new government and whether you like it or not, the government has a critical role to play in getting the policy environment to work. The policies from the government side don’t go far enough. The traditional rulers said they are constrained in terms of what they can do. The police said they don’t have the resources to pursue, we are also constrained, so we need to partner with government.

Top dignitaries at the ceremony

“We wanted to use the opportunity of the unbundling of the new state executives which was cleared by the House of Assembly last week, hoping that being here, they will hear what we are saying and this will become an integral part of whatever they are doing, that is why the wife of the governor was keyed. This is one of the projects that she will be looking at, we have already presented some of the ingredients of the problems, she knows how to intervene.

“Gender Based Violence is a thing that happens in almost every house hood, every compound, you cannot deal with a thing that is so widespread by trying to keep it to yourself, so that is why we have built partnerships, we have created collaboration because we believe that the more people who take the message and do something about it, the more we will have result at the end of the day.”.

The Wife of Cross River State Governor, Rev. Eyoanwan Otu, who was given the title; “Champion of Anti-GBV Practices in Nigeria and particularly the Niger Delta States”, said the state is one out of many that is leading in the fight against GBV.

Otu who was represented by her Special Adviser on Programmes, Projects and Events, Dr Inyang Asibong, said the recognition of the Wife of  the Governor, is a call to action for everyone to work together to end the menace in Nigeria. 

She said, according to data from the National Population Commission, (NPC), 38 percent of Nigerian women have experienced some form of GBV from their close associates throughout their lifetimes. 

Otu noted, “for us in Cross River State, we are leaving no stone unturned in our quest to mitigate GBV. We have enacted laws and set up modalities to check-mate any issue of GBV and also encourage our women and girls to report violence of any kind. I believe that everyone has the right to live free from violence”.

Earlier, the Programme Manager, GADA, Mrs. Francisca Effiom explained that the High-Level Advocacy meeting was targeted at engaging the projects in conversations around gender based Violence in Cross River State and how through different partnerships, they could foster a culture of responsive behaviour in the face of growing social misdemeanours which have serious gender implications. 

“We have decided to fix this meeting at a time when a new leadership has emerged in the state. We believe that exploring the opportunity the new government provides, we can raise these issues here and subsequently bring them to the attention of those in government once they are fully assigned portfolios”.

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