By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Religious Leaders in the country have been advised to take a definite stand against the menace of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) to completely stamp it out of our presence.
The advice was given by UNICEF Chief field officer in Nigeria, Mohammed Okorie while declaring a two-day stakeholders meeting open in Càlabar.
According to him, the passive posture of the church against the various harmful and cultural practices targeted at women and the girl- child is counter productive to global efforts meant to tackle the issue.
The stakeholders meeting was for Christian Council of Nigeria powered by the EU- UN Spotlight Initiative.
He opined that the church must wield its overwhelming influence over the harmful and discriminatory treatment being meted out to the female gender if maximum impact is to be achieved in ending the menace.
The UNICEF envoy disclosed that stakeholders engagement was designed to equipp participants with vital skills and information needed to address the challenge of SGBV as well as mobilised the church hierarchy towards eradicating the the threat to women and girls with balanced and objective bible interpretations devoid of generic bias .
Earlier, the Chairman of the State chapter of Christian Council of Nigeria which is a component of the Christian Association Of Nigeria CAN, Rev.Takis Caifas expressed delight at the collaboration aimed at confronting the age long deprivation suffered by the womenfolk based on inhuman theological doctrine and degrading cultural practices.
He described sexual and be gender based violence as a horrific and grave violation of human rights which should not be tolerated in any ramification.
Also speaking, the General Secretary,CCN, Rev. Evans Onyemara, listed such act of violence to include physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and psychological abuses as well as unequal access to educational opportunities which have combined to frustrate the female gender from maximising their potentials
He expressed optimism that the synergy would address the multiple biblical misconception employed in perpetuating harmful and dehumanizing practices targeted at women and the girl child for ages.
In her remarks, a leading resource person at the event Mrs Uzuaku Williams, implored participants to rise a voice against abusive practices women are being subjected to under the guise of culture and lopsided doctrine within the Christian fold.
Participants which included pastors, women and youth groups were drawn from churches under the aegis of Christian Council of Nigeria comprising Anglican, Baptist Communion, United Evangelical Church Wining All, Methodist Church, Presbyterian, Salvation Army,AME Zion and the.Lutheran Church