The IMO state Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development has revealed that IMO state is a “hostile and unsafe” state for women and children by Alliances for Africa, AFA, alongside members of the state Committee on Violence Against Women and Children and 12 other organizations.
The stand is based on their survey on violence against women in the state, which was unveiled by a representative of the state Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development, Blessing Azubuike, at a two-day capacity workshop for stakeholders.
She said ‘’as a result of this development, they said part of their preparation to end violence against women and children was to begin community awareness outreaches in the 27 local councils and 640 communities in the state.
They said ‘’it is time to curtail the raising trend of violence against children and women, which is getting out of hand.
The committee is proposing to embark on a massive state and community awareness outreaches in the 27 councils and 640 communities in Imo State to advocate for an end to violence against women and children.” They pledged to end the culture of silence and develop Imo State directory on institutions working on women and girls.
In addition, they will design a centralized framework for effective data collation on violence and advocate for a legal framework to support access to justice. “after the two-day workshop on strengthening institutions to end violence against women and girls, the committee recognized that the forms of violence perpetrated in the state has taken root and grown into a giant oak tree with frightening dimensions that seem to be constantly fed by our inactions.
“They also recognize the failure of the state government to effectively address these issues as state security and human rights issues are worrisome. Many women and girls are victims of one form of violence or the other, and accessing justice is a nightmare.
“The committee agrees that there is near neglect of the issue and lack of will to even discuss it. With the deeper social media penetration, the increase and cancerous spread of violence have been awakened with the circulation of incidents of rape, child molestation, child trafficking, violence perpetrated by state actors, cultural practices that are harmful and sexual offences on female students.”
Recommendations On their plans to put an end to violence against women in the state, they “advocated a database to document new cases of violence against women and children in Imo State; establishment of a well-defined reporting mechanism for all institution working to address issues of violence against women and children in the state;
“Others are the establishment of state special offences court; establishment of special Police unit across Imo State to be responsible for all cases of gender-based violence; maintain state-level sensitization, coordination and policy-making; regulations and oversight of all institution responsible for women, girls and children.”
Our correspondent reports that Members of the committee are International Federation of Female lawyer, FIDA; National Orientation Agency, NOA; Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development; National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons; Imo State Child Protection Network; Virgin Heart Foundation; Open Arms Initiative for Sustainable Development; Nigeria Police; National Human Right Commission; Nigerian Feminist Forum, Community and Youth Development Initiative.”