Implement existing laws against GBV, Ford Foundation urges FG

THE Nigerian government needs to enforce existing laws and adopt proactive measures to end gender-based violence (GBV) in the country, says Ford Foundation, an organisation focused on promoting social justice and equality.

According to the non-profit organisation, the Federal government must deploy more resources and prioritise ending GBV and other harmful practices against women.

Speaking with journalists during her visit to Lagos on Friday, May 12, the foundation’s executive vice president, Hilary Pennington, urged the Federal government to involve indigenous people and religious leaders as part of measures to prevent any form of restiveness.

“In many places around the world, including in Nigeria, there are laws, but they are not doing enough to stop the practices. So we are trying to focus on a number of things. The first is to get much better and improve the knowledge and the models we all have access to. That is how you prevent the violence in the first place,” Pennington said. 

From forced and early marriages to physical, mental or sexual assault on women, gender-based violence persists in Nigeria. According to data from the United Nations Population Fund, 28 per cent of Nigerian women aged 25-29 had experienced some form of physical violence since age 15.

The study also reported that 15 per cent of women experienced physical violence within 12 months. The exposure to the risk of violence varied based on marital status, and 44 per cent of divorced, separated or widowed women reported experiencing violence since age 15, while 25 per cent of married women or those living with their spouses had experienced violence.

Pennington urged the Nigerian authorities to do more work to end GBV by enforcing laws and regulations against gender-based violence at the grassroots.

She also noted the foundation’s dedication to supporting the fight to end violence against women in Nigeria.



    She also asked the government to abolish harmful cultural norms and enlighten traditional and religious leaders on the laws and policies protecting the rights of women.

    She said, “No matter what the foundation does, their resources are small in comparison with government’s resources.”

    Pennington also called for the protection of resources-rich communities, saying, “Indigenous people in the communities that sit largely over natural resources are the first defenders of those resources. They don’t have legal rights to their lands, and they are not equipped to have power and to sit at the table where negotiations are being made about the values extracted from those lands.

    “Our overall goal is to make sure they are on those tables. And when they are at those tables, they know the laws. They have negotiating skills, powers and backgrounds that would help them to be effective and fund research organisations, and advocacy organisations that can come around the communities that are most affected and give them more power.”



    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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