In a bid to eliminate gender based violelence, especially violence against women (VAW), a major contemporary issue of the 21st century, and advocate the protection of the rights and welfare of women, the Justice, Development and Peace Centre, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos has called for the enforcement of laws enacted to protect women from violence in Nigeria.
The group made the call in a communique issued at the end of the programme it organised, Saturday, December 4, 2021, at Our Lady of Lourdes, Coker, Lagos, in commemoration of the 2021 International Day for The Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW).
Acknowledging that the issue of violence against women is one of the major contemporary issues of the 21st century, the group noted that there is need for better advocacy, for the protection of the rights and welfare of women.
The communique read: “Henceforth, we verily agree that there is need for better enforcement of the plethora of laws enacted for the protection of women from violence in Nigeria.”
The group also noted that there is need to formulate gender based policies and establish a framework to monitor the enforcement of relevant laws and policies. They stated: “There is need to create awareness among the populace on the scourge of violence against women. There is need to enact and enforce laws to act as deterrent to offenders.”
While advocating for the establishment of more shelters across the six geopolitical zones for victims of gender based violence, the group noted that there is need to equip and train those who work with victims of gender based violence.
They noted that it is imperative to foster international cooperation and dialogue for the ratification of emerging instruments for the holistic protection of women, as they added that there is need to work towards the inclusion of gender education into the national curricula across all levels of education to help curtail the root causes of violence against women.
While advocating that proactive steps be taken in the increasing occurrences of violence against women in the country, the group noted that it is pertinent to consider private sector partnerships in gender equality issues.
The group advocated that adequate budgetary allocations be made to relevant MDAs responsible for sensitizing and supporting the populace on gender rights and issues.
In view of the foregoing and the drive towards achieving the targets of the Goal 5 of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, they called on all stakeholders, including the government, institutions, families, among others, to prioritize the protection of the women and girls from all manifestations of violence, and provide an enabling environment for all women and girls to thrive in the Nigerian society.
In his Keynote address delivered on the occasion, Rev. Fr. Raymond Anoliefo, Director of Justice, Development and Peace Centre, Lagos described violence against women as a global issue that prevents women and girls to participate equally of in things, compared to their male counterparts. While citing the pandemic as a factor that has led to the spike in cases of gender based abuse, Fr. Anoliefo, noted that no form of violence against women can be justified.