By Gabriel Chy Alonta
The exercise, which took place at Ufuma in Orumba North local government area of Anambra state, was themed, ‘Step it up campaign’, and was aimed at increasing awareness on violence against women and the girl-child, who, according to the group, were the most vulnerable in the society.
The programme attracted the traditional ruler of Ufuma, HRH Igwe Chika Uchime and his cabinet members. Other traditional chiefs, women, youths, market leaders, corps members, among others, were also in attendance.
Speaking during the occasion, the CENGOS state coordinator, Prof. Mercy Anagbogu, commended the traditional ruler of Ufuma for the awareness campaign, and applauded him for establishing laws that discourage gender-based violence in the community.
The state coordinator said the group would continue to deepen analysis and develop skills to advance or promote sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women in communities. He also called for synergy to put an end to gender-based violence such as rape, forced marriages and other societal ills against humanities, especially women.
Anagbogu regretted that violence against women also affect their children, who, she said, rely heavily on their mothers.
In a remark, the programme officer, Oluebube Ngige, re-emphasised the need to stop gender-based violence and killing of women. He stressed the need for early teaching of sex education to enable the girl-child know when she was indiscriminately touched by the opposite sex as well as to prevent all forms of evil against women and men.
“We are building bridges to end gender-based violence, increase young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, as well as bringing justice to women, who are oppressed”, he said.
Responding, Igwe Uchime, promised to continue to ensure that no women in the community was marginalised or discriminated upon, citing laws he had abrogated to promote justice for women, widows and girl-child.
The traditional ruler thanked the organisers and urged them not to rest on their oars. He also warned men in the community to stop interfering in women’s rights, even as he added that he would continue to maintain law and order.
The traditional ruler of Ndiokolo in Orumba North local government area, Eze C. C. Okoli, pledged to support the training in his community, while commending the initiative.
Also, Eze Frederick Okoli, the traditional ruler of Ndiokpalaeze in Orumba North LGA, also promised to increase the campaign on gender-based violence in his community, decrying that violence against women were on regrettable increase.
Commenting also, the traditional ruler of Eziagu in Orumba South local government area, HRH B. O. Emejuo, lamented that despite all warnings, youths continued to engage in crimes, while blaming it on the internet and growth of technology.
Earlier, the woman leader, Ezinne Esther Nnebe, thanked the group and assured that the community would continue to synergise with all relevant stakeholders to bring gender-based violence to an end.
In a vote of thanks, Nze Allison Onyeji, the traditional prime minister, said there was need to focus on the short-term goals in order to eliminate gender-based violence totally in the nearest future.