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CSOs march against sexual, gender based violence in Bauchi, urge govt to declare state of emergency
By Haruna Mohammed Salisu
A COALITION of Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations in Bauchi State has on Friday protested against what the group described as persistent gender-based violence against women in different parts of the country.
Addressing journalist after the rally on behalf of the organizations, Mrs. Comfort Attah, the Executive Director of Attah Sisters’ Helping Hands Foundation ASHH, called on the federal and state lawmakers across the country to push for reforms that could address the recurrent violence against women in Nigeria.
Attah who expressed concern over the escalating reports of violence against women and girls in Bauchi state and Nigerian in general said declaring a state of emergency on rape cases was necessary to reduce the rate.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of calls from service providers on violence against women and girls has been on the increase in Bauchi state, she said, adding that the service providers could not assist the victims because they were trapped in their houses with their abusers because of lack of access to phones or transportation.
“In the past one week alone, a 16-year-old girl was abducted and gang-raped in Bauchi state. Again, Uwa was raped and killed in a church in Benin state while Tina was shot dead in Lagos state. Another 12-year-old girl was raped in Jigawa state. Barakat was raped and stabbed to death, and these are the only few reported in the news. We need justice and a declaration of a state of emergency”, Attah stressed.
She said one in four girls in Nigeria is sexually assaulted before she reaches the age of 18, but only 65 rape convictions were successfully completed between 1973 and 2019.
“In many cases, the security settles the cases at household or family levels.”
Attah noted that before the COVID 19 crisis, the national data from 2018 showed an increase in the percentage of women who experienced physical violence since the age of 18, from 11 per cent in 2013 to 14 per cent in 2018, adding that there is a continuous increase in the number of cases due to lack of access to medical services and justice.
Also speaking, Fauziya Idriss, programme officer at Federation of Muslims Women Association of Nigeria, FOMWAN said concerted efforts need to be put in place to curtail persistent violence against women and girls in the country.
She said her organisation in partnership with other CSOs in the country is poised to ensure that pragmatic steps are taken to rid girls of such problems.
Responding, Barrister Yakubu Bello Kirfi, the Bauchi State Commissioner for Justice said his ministry was in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including CSOs to arrest the situation.
“Already the Bauchi State government is taking some measures including holding the perpetrators accountable.
“In partnership with CSOs like yours, we shall address these problems and bring the perpetrators to book,” he said.