EU/UN group seeks commitment in violence against women, children fight
By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
Spotlight Initiative, a forefront EU-UN group in the campaign to mitigate violence against women and children, particularly girls, has called for increased commitment from community surveillance teams, stakeholders and relevant government agencies in order to ensure that victims heave a sigh of relief.
Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Mr Victor Atochukwu, made the call in Calabar at the weekend during a review meeting with established community surveillance teams from Calabar South local government area and Calabar municipality.
Atochukwu decried high rate of sexual, emotional and physical violence meted out to women and children, particularly girls, and charged participants and indeed all Nigerians to join hands with the global body in the campaign against the menace.
While disclosing that more than nine million children under the age of 18 in Nigeria are exposed to sexual abuse, he said the culture of silence and inability of critical stakeholders to rise in defence of victims were making the fight difficult.
“Awareness campaign must be carried out. Effective change can only be sustained when there is community ownership. The fight is by the community and for the benefit of our communities in particular and our country in general.
“When the team members and indeed all stakeholders understand and accept this fact that violence against women and girls are issues that need to be addressed, our society would be better. Everyone must take responsibility, both the state actors and non state actors,” he stated.
He commended the Cross River government for collaborating with the Spotlight Initiative in the campaign against VAWG but noted that government could improve on its activities in that direction in order to end the effects of violence against women and children in the state.
Mrs Elizabeth Uquak, Director of Social Welfare in the Cross River state Ministry of Humanity and Social Welfare said the ministry recorded 196 cases of different types of abuses, and that the ministry was doing its best to partner with critical stakeholders to stem the tide.