Ebonyi govt restates commitment to ending GBV
By Reginald Okoro
The Ebonyi Government within the week in Abakaliki said that it remained committed to ending Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the state.
Mrs. Chinwe Okah, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, restated the commitment in a speech at a two-day interface meeting and workshop organized by an NGO, Economic and Social Empowerment of Rural Communities (ESERC).
Okah, represented by Mrs. Marcellana Ibina, a Director in the ministry, noted that Ebonyi government was ready to collaborate with willing partners to ensure that the incidences of gender and sexual related violence were totally eliminated.
She assured ESERC of the state`s readiness to support its programmes aimed at complementing the government’s efforts in the fight.
The commissioner noted that one of the greatest challenges of the government in the fight against GBV was the poor enforcement of laws and policies against gender-based related violence.
She said that the workshop, which has brought together law enforcement officers, Ebonyi GBV Task Force and the community advocacy groups, as well as service providers, would strengthen the ongoing campaign.
“I commend the ESERC for organising this capacity building workshop for our key stakeholders in the fight against GBV, especially violence against women and the girl-child.
“The ministry is not lagging behind in any issue relating to promoting the campaign to eradicate GBV in Ebonyi and we are going to stand by your organisation to ensure that the objectives of the programme are realised,” Okah said.
She urged participants in the workshop to show commitment, adding that GBV was still prevalent in the state despite the efforts of the government in tackling the menace.
“You have a great work to do in our journey to free our communities of all forms of gender-related violence, therefore, you must take the workshop very serious.
“We have domesticated the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law and other laws, including law against Female Genital Mutilation, all aimed at eliminating violence against our people.
“The persistence of GBV in the state means that we all need to work-round-the -clock and in synergy until the state is freed from the menace,“ she pointed out.
Earlier, Mr Ikechukwu Nwaogu, Project Manager of ESERC, expressed regrets that issues of gender violence were under-reported in the state and called for synergy among various stakeholders to end gender violence in Ebonyi.
He said that the workshop brought together key actors, including law enforcement agencies, service providers, community advocacy groups and others to train them on effective use of communication strategies in solving challenges of GBV.
“We brought together the key actors in order to enhance communication among them because we discovered that there is communication gap existing among them.
“There is communication gap from the reporting stage, to the service stage and indeed every other stage and it’s that communication gap that we hope to bridge through this process,” Nwaogu said.
Newsmen report that the workshop is been sponsored by the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative on ending gender based violence against women and girls in Ebonyi.