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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Post-COVID-19: INWOAD advocates inclusive governance, demands Commission on sexual, gender violence - ITREALMS

ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news!

Rising from its recent national meeting, the Initiative for Women's Accelerated Development in Africa (INWOAD) has called for improved gender equality and inclusive governance, reports 
ITREALMS.
The group in a communique available to 
ITREALMS and endorsed by the National President, Ms Evelyn Onyilo and National Secretary, Ms Winny Fonaka, INWOAD noted that the Covid 19 pandemic and its attendant consequences have impacted negatively on most countries of the world thereby bringing about a huge humanitarian crisis.
According to them, mostly affected by the lockdown as a result of the pandemic in Nigeria are women and children. Stressing that for women, their economic and social lives have been greatly affected causing a lot of hardships, while rape and sexual violence also reached alarming proportions.

ITREALMS gathered that worried by this unfortunate development, INWOAD convened a national webinar on June 11 with partner NGOs and came up with resolutions on the way forward for women and girls in Nigeria.

"The federal and state governments should immediately set up their response mechanisms to tackle rape by constituting stakeholders into the rape response committees to be headed by the honourable Minister of Women Affairs," the group said.

Further, the communique read in part:

"Covid 19 has generally affected women negatively socio-economically including increase in sexual and gender based violence. INWOAD condemns the escalation in cases of sexual abuse and calls on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on rape and gender based violence with immediate effect.

"The federal and state governments should immediately set up their response mechanisms to tackle rape by constituting stakeholders into the rape response committees to be headed by the honourable Minister of Women Affairs.

"Perpetrators of rape should be jailed for life without plea or option of fine to serve as deterrent to others. The states yet to adopt the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP Act and the Child Rights Act should do so without delay.

"In the interim, NAPTIP should be properly funded to handle rape cases and provide adequate shelter for victims and survivors nationwide.

"In the long term, a Commission or Agency on Sexual and Gender Based Violence should be established to properly handle issues of rape and provide rehabilitation and psycho social support to rape victims and survivors.

"INWOAD will continue to advocate and create awareness on the evil of rape on our women and vulnerable children to bring it to an end.

We also recommend the following economic, humanitarian interventions as well as inclusion of women in governance to cushion the effect of Covid 19; The federal and state governments should include women, youth and relevant NGOs in the various Task Forces on Covid 19 Response to adequately cater for Women. The current composition of the Presidential Task Force PTF and other Covid 19 Committees nationwide is lopsided and discriminatory.

"Special soft loans and grants should be made available to women engaged in small and medium scale businesses to help them boost their economic base and mitigate the effect of the pandemic.

"INWOAD calls for the reintroduction and passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill in the National Assembly to protect the rights of women and remove all forms of discrimination against women.

"There is urgent need for collaboration and networking between NGOs and relevant government agencies to address the problems facing women and together seek legislation in protecting the rights of women and girls."

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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