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Umahi’s wife urges monarchs, CAN to speak up against GBV

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By Ruth Oginyi

The wife of Ebonyi state governor, Mrs. Rachael Umahi, Tuesday took the leadership of traditional rulers and the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN to task over the need to speak up against all forms of gender-based violence, and other harmful practices in the zone.

Umahi said GBV cases were on the increase in the southeast, especially in Ebonyi and Imo states, despite the efforts being made against the act by the European Union-United Nations (EU-UN) spotlight initiative.

The governor’s wife made the call in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state, on Tuesday during the traditional, and religious leaders’ southeast summit on ending gender-based violence and other harmful practices. The summit was organised by her office with support from the spotlight initiative.

Represented by the special assistant to the state governor on welfare matters, Mrs. Patience Ofor Okorie, Umahi noted that the traditional and religious leaders knew the best approach to eliminate the phenomenon being groups that are always with the masses.

“The reason for this summit is to discuss the best way to end gender-based violence and other harmful practices in our zone.

“Through my pet project, family succour, and upliftment foundation, we discovered some pertinent challenges facing our people especially female genital mutilation, rape, child labour, harmful traditional practices, and other forms of gender-based violence. These problems are seriously being addressed.

“However, with all the efforts made so far, gender-based violence is sadly on the increase especially in Ebonyi and Imo states. Therefore, we should ultimately resolve to come together to end GBV in the southeast.

“I believe that this our resolve is demonstrated by your presence today. By the reason of coming here, you are going home to carry this message. As religious and traditional rulers and religious leaders, I know you are always with the people and know the best approach to eliminate this malady. I need your support at this critical time to save victims most of whom are women and children.”

The chairman, Southeast Traditional Rulers’ Council, Igwe Charles Mkpuma, assured that traditional rulers in the zone would be serious in the fight against the acts.

Evag Chukwuma Elom, coordinator family occur and upliftment, decried the increasing rate of GBV in the state, querying “how can we continue to leave in a society where the violence of women and girls are the order of the day. It is on this note that I charge us to find a solution to GBV in Ebonyi state.

The Ebonyi state commissioner for women affairs, Mrs. Deborah Okah, in her address, noted that Ebonyi was one of the states promoting gender equality and assured that her ministry would continue to partner family succour to end GBV in the state.

Daniel Umazurike, the Ebonyi state commissioner for health, on his part, noted that GBV contributes to an increase in the maternal mortality rate, adding that the government needed to develop laws, policies and strategies on how to end violence against women and girls.

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