Following the increase in gender-based violence cases recorded across Nigeria, the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has appointed his wife Dr. Amina Bello, and 19 others as members of a committee for the prevention of all forms of violence against girls and male child in the state.
Bello added that the 20-man committee’s responsibilities would be to sensitize the public on the need to protect girl and male children from being abuse and prosecute gender-based violence offenders in Niger.
The Governor, who inaugurated the committee at the government house in Minna, yesterday, stated that the inauguration of the committee was based on an increase in gender-based violence cases within the state, even as he described it as an abuse of human rights.
Responding on behalf of the committee, the chairperson, who is also the first lady, assured the public that the committee would prosecute all gender-based violence offenders to serve as a deterrent to others planning to engage in the act.
While noting that girl child were often exposed to abuse, she emphasized the need to create awareness for people to report such cases, which would increase confidence in the society and discourage stigmatization.
The governor’s wife further said that the Niger State Ministry of Women Affairs has been working tirelessly in collaboration with other relevant organizations such as Sexual Assault Referral Centre code-name RAYUWA which has become a platform addressing and caring for children abused.
She requested for the replication of such centres across all the local government areas in the state pointing out that the responsibility of curbing the scourge does not rest on the government alone, but requires the support of all critical stakeholders in the state.
Bello, meanwhile, disclosed that the National Academy of Science has selected Niger alongside Ekiti, Abia, and Oyo States to benefit from a grant from Ford Foundation to implement policies and strategies to address gender-based violence in the selected states.
The committee members inaugurated were representatives of various relevant government ministries, departments, and agencies in the state such as Ministries of Women Affairs, Justice, Information, Education, Health, The Nigerian Police, Imam Forum, CAN, traditional rulers, FIDA, RAYUWA, WRAPA, and Child Right Agency.