Orange Ceremony and Official Lighting of the UN Building to observe the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, in Abuja.
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Mattias Schmale has advocated the need for large-scale investments in data collection, evidence gathering, and provision of legal support services to ensure access to justice for survivors of gender-based violence.
He made this known in Abuja at an Orange Ceremony and Official Lighting of the UN Building to observe the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence with the theme “UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls.”
Mr Schmale said more initiatives were required to scale up current actions to eliminate harmful practices such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, human trafficking, sexual violence, and domestic violence.
“We must also pool resources to protect women and girls in humanitarian settings including those affected by the recent catastrophic flooding. with the upcoming 2023 elections, we need greater efforts toward ensuring that women in politics are protected against all forms of violence and discrimination. We need women participating in political life and making decisions for themselves and others.” He said
The UN-Women country representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS Ms Beatrice Eyoung explained that there was a need to strengthen the capacity of institutions and individuals, in both formal and informal settings to prevent and effectively respond to all forms of gender-based violence.
“A UN report revealed that by April 2020, cases of gender-based violence increased by 56 percent after only two weeks of lockdown. These unfortunate realities of our time call for collective and systematic efforts in dealing with the menace. The overall objective of this Orange Ceremony and Lighting of the UN building is to strengthen partnership to end violence against women and girls among UN agencies, Government MDAs, Diplomatic Community, Development Partners, Security Agencies, Civil Society Organizations and Media, among other stakeholders, while also increasing visibility and public support for the 16 Days of Activism.” She said
The minister of women affairs Dame Pauline Tallen, represented by the Director, Women Development, Mrs Funke Oladipo said the state of emergency declared by the 36 state governors has proven ineffective as rape and gender-based violence still persist at an alarming rate.
She further called for the need to step up governance and increase financing for gender equality to establish support systems to address gender-based violence at all levels.
Highlight of the event was the lightening of the UN building in Orange colour as a show of solidarity to victims and survivors of gender-based violence and the recognition of efforts by government and stakeholders in the fight against rape and gender-based violence.
Reporting by Azizatu Sani; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino