By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has tasked the Cross River state government and the House of Assembly on quick passage and domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP Act).
FIDA Spokesman, Mrs Ann Awa, said this in Calabar, weekend, during the end of the one-kilometre peaceful walk of the 16 days of activism to draw global attention to harmful practices against the female gender in the society.
She reasoned that when the VAPP Act is passed and domesticated, it would help stem the growing menace of gender and sexual-based violence within the State, noting that for years girls and women had suffered from several forms of gender violence and that the time has come to nib them in the bud.
On her part, the Secretary to the Government of Cross River State, Tina Agbor lauded donors and partners especially the UN Women under UN Spotlight Initiative for the sustainable support to the state to drive campaigns targeted at eradicating all forms of gender and sexual-based violence orchestrated against women and girls in the state.
“This synergy has placed the state in the forefront as a leading light in terms of concerted efforts to checkmate such menace and accord women and the girl child equal pedestal to maximize their potentials in life,” she stated.
Agbor expressed delight at the gender equality disposition of Governor Ben Ayade as demonstrated in the appointment and elections of women into key sensitive public offices and charged such women to justify the trust reposed in them to guarantee the attainment of the affirmative action quota.
The SSG also implored female students to accord priority attention to their studies and promptly report amorous lecturers engaging in sexual exploitations to relevant authorities for necessary action
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Rita Ayim attributed the success of the programme to effective synergy between her ministry, line MDAs, donor agencies, Nongovernmental organisations and Civil Societies Organisations.
She sued for the bond to be sustained for optimum results and called on the state government to set up a “One Stop Shop Centre” in the Ministry of Women Affairs’ Gender-Based Violence Centre (GBV Centre) to meet the needs of the already stressed and traumatized survivors.
Ayim also called on all critical stakeholders/ state actors to speak out against perpetrators/ offenders to get justice for the survivors stressing that the culture of silence must be eradicated to stem the tide.
In the same vein, the leader of Cross River chapter of Medical Women Association (MWA) Dr Bassey Nakanda, who was represented by Dr Helen Unuareokpa, sued for closer ties between government agencies and civic societies for effective data collation to guarantee needed intervention saying, such collaboration is also needed to facilitate the attainment of set goals.