Banigo calls for greater collaboration on violence against women
By; Chuks Melford, Port Harcourt.
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has charged Stakeholders in the women and children affairs to step up awareness on the issue of gender-based violence against women in the state.
Dr. Banigo stated this at a stakeholders meeting held at her instance in Government House, Port Harcourt, on how to reduce the prevalence of cases of gender violence against women and stigmatization.
The Deputy Governor explained that the interactive meeting was to proffer solution on how to bring help and hope to those abused in different forms with a view to ameliorating their predicament.
She further noted that the forum afforded stakeholders the opportunity to appreciate what each ministry and organization are doing and how to harmonize issues of public enlightenment and enforcement of existing legislation.
“The issue of gender base violence is huge and over -whelming. I want us to come together and see how best to salvage the situation because it is so bad. It is happening before our own eyes and we have to do something about it”. She stated.
Dr. Banigo lauded the various organisations for working in different ways to reduce the menace of violence against women and children, adding that the coordinated involvement of the state government would bring succour to the communities.
In their separate presentations, the immediate past President of Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Rivers State branch, Dr. Adebiyi Obelebra, Field Coordinator Doctors without Borders, Dr. Imri Schattmez and FIDA representative Ms. Enelusace Dan-Jumbo, said 332 cases of violence against women were reported between February and November 2015 in the state.
They noted that several cases of gender abuse are not being reported because of the culture of silence, feeling of guilt and stigmatization, and called for appropriate punishment for the perpetrators of violence against women and children.
High point of the meeting was the setting up of a 3-man committee made up of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Special Adviser, Legal to the Deputy Governor and a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to produce a communiqué that would form the basis for actualizing the action plan.