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Canada partners CODE to curb gender-based violence

A Civil Society Organization, Connected Development CODE, has signed an agreement with the Canadian Government towards eradicating gender-based violence in northern Nigeria.

The Executive Director of CODE, Mallam Hamzat Lawal while addressing Newsmen in Abuja.

He said the Organization would raise massive action against Gender-Based Violence in Kano state, GMAA-K, to end all forms of violence as well as drive the adoption and integration of the Violence against person prohibition (VAPP) Act as well as the Child’s Right Act.

He explained that the GMAA-K campaign which is supported by the Canadian High Commission was a direct response to the menace of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) commonly practiced in many states across the country.

He said Nigeria currently has the third highest rates of SGBV in the world, with at least 30 percent of women and girls aged 15 and 49 years have experienced one or multiple forms of sexual abuse or the other.

“These numbers are a representation of deep-rooted gender discrimination and a notorious culture of impunity – where access to justice and support remains a challenge for victims, while perpetrators often walk away freely. The challenge is further heightened by a lack of laws and policies to protect the most vulnerable and punish convicted offenders”. Mallam Lawal stated.

Mallam Lawal said that “For the first quarter of this year, we worked towards the adoption of the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act in Kano.

He noted that VAPP Act recorded success as the government opted to harmonize and incorporate the provisions into the Penal Code Law, to reconcile provisions that would address SGBV.

Acting Canadian High Commissioner, Kevin Tokar, noted that SGBV was a crisis in Nigeria that must be condemned.

A Public Health Expert, Dr. Halimah Sanda, stressed that SGBV should be seen as a mental health issue because, many victims are traumatized after being abused without adequate support.

Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing Adeniyi Bakare