Group moves to halt gender based violence in northern Nigeria

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By Linus Aleke

Group under the aegis of Side by Side Movement for Gender Justice in Nigeria has said that it is putting necessary mechanism in place to bring to a halt gender based violence and other cultural and harmful practices against women in communities across the federation with particular reference to North Central geo-political zone.

The Executive Director, African Center for Leadership Strategy and Development, (Centre LSD), Mr. Monday Osasah said this on Wednesday, in Abuja while, declaring open, a 2-day Training of Faith and Traditional Leaders, and Establishment of the Side by Side Movement for North Central geo-political zone.

Mr. Osasah said the Side by side movement is structured to be driven by faith and traditional leaders because of the influences they wield in their respective domains.

He frowned at the narrative that the place of a woman is in the kitchen, noting that there is need to change such archaic perception of women.

A community he said is made up of male and female, adding, “when we make one of the sex a subhuman, it negates natural justice”.

According to him, “Part of what we have come here to do is to train people from the North Central geo-political zone on how to promote gender parity, and fight against harmful cultural practices against women in Nigeria. This is in addition to also set up a movement here because the movement had been set up in order zones, except South West. This is the fifth zone that the side by side movement is being established.

“At the end of this training, there are two things we want to achieve, one is that the side by side movement is fully established in the north central zone to push for gender justice across the zone. The second thing is that there are clear activities that should be taken forward by members of the movement. So we expect that there will be a clear work plan that people here will be committed to, to take forward the advocacy of the side by side movement”.

He further disclosed that there are quite a lot of harmful practices that necessitated this movement.

“Gender violence is one of it, there is emotional violence, there is economic violence across board. Let me give you an instance when we were implementing one project in River State, there is a place called “Beacheve Kingdom,” and we saw that in that kingdom, women are used for settlement of debt. There is a practice there, called money women, but during our engagement we were able to put a stop to that. There are other practices against women across communities in Nigeria,” he lamented.

The Executive Director said, “for us not to leave women behind in the development discuss of Nigeria, the need to brace side by side movement is critical so as to take them along in our governance process”.

Women he said have a kind of innovative skills, “but if we side line them we do that along side the talent and idea they have, which will help improve our society”.

The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter and Co-Chair, Side by Side Movement Movement Nigeria, Rev. John Joseph Hayab said that there is no basis for discrimination against women.

He said time has come to put and end to all form of gender based violence and harmful cultural practices against women.

He argued that God created men and women equal, therefore there is no theological basis for discrimination against women.

He concluded that the side by side movement is sitting side by side with women, traditional and faith based leaders to come up with the best model to end the ugly practices in Nigeria.

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