Ebonyi First Lady urges religious leaders, others to support fight against GBV, Fistula


Wife of the Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Mrs Rachael Umahi  has called for collaborated efforts with religious, traditional and other leaders towards ending Gender Base Violence against women and girls as well as  Fistula  in Ebonyi State.

Chief Mrs Umahi  made the call during the End Violence Against Women and Girls  workshop organized by the Christian Council of Nigeria in collaboration with UNICELF under the spotlight initiative at Osborne Lapalm Resort, Abakaliki.

The Governor's Wife represented at the event by the Coordinator Family Succor and Upliftment Foundation,  Evangelist Chukwuma Elom noted that since her assumption of office as the first lady of the State, had made a robust and fruitful engagements with the body of Christ on the issue concerning women and girls, even as she had carried an outreach on the prevention and treatment of fistula in the different churches across the State as well as issues concerning maternal and child health among others.

Mrs Umahi who recalled  the support of the religious and traditional leaders in her pet project, Family Succor and Upliftment Foundation especially the publication of over five hundred copies of the Anti-FGM Book by the Methodist Bishop of Abakaliki, Bishop Lawson Elom and the support of the executive blocs in championing the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition ,VAPP Law, which she said had provided the right tool to fight all forms of violence against women and girls.

She further urged religious and traditional leaders to do all within their powers to reach out women who are suffering for fistula disease in their various churches and communities to report at NOFIC center, Abakaliki for free medicare care, while commending  Christian Council Of Nigeria, CCN, and UNICELF for their effort in curbing gender based violence, assuring her total commitment to continue working with the religious leaders, donor agencies, civil society organizations among others to fight GBV to the stand still.

Earlier in his speech, Ebonyi State CCN Chairman and Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Methodist Church Nigeria, Bishop Lawson Elom welcomed participants to the meeting which he said was put together to sensitize participants on the need to join in the campaign to end violence against women and girls in Ebonyi state.

 Bishop Elom expressed hope that the meeting will birth a new and better society devoid of violence against women and girls.

On his part, the National Chairman of Christian Council of Nigeria, Most Rev. Fubara Manual represented by the National Secretary, Very Rev. Evans Onyema  acknowledged the presence and support of UNICEF under the Spotlight initiative, Ebonyi State Government and Church leaders in the State towards ending violence against women and girls.

The national secretary defined violence against women and girls as any action that will hinder women and girls from attaining their highest potentials in life. 

He emphasized that part of the reasons for the engagement was to involve Church leaders in the fight to end violence against women.

The National Secretary of CCN Very Rev. Evans Onyema and the National Coordinator of  of the program, Elder Dr. Mrs. Uzaku William gave insight on the objectives and expectations from the meeting. According to them, the program was a follow up of CCN partnership with UNICEF in 2017 to step down the campaign to end violence against women and girls. 

They further explained that at the end of the meeting, more Church leaders, youth and women groups would be trained, engaged and empowered to see something, say something and do something to end all form of violence against women and girls. 

The coordinator added that the program in Ebonyi would be stepped down in Abakaliki and Ezza South LGAs.

In her presentation, the National Coordinator of CCN EVAWG, Dr. Mrs Uzaku William took participants on in depth exposition and teaching on definition, causes, factor, forms, places and solutions to ending violence against women and girls in Ebonyi state.

She explained that VAWAG involves physical, sexual and psychological abuse on women and girls.

According to her, types of Gender Based violence include; Human trafficking, wrong intimate partners, child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, domestic violence, discrimination among others. The forms of violence against women and girls according to her are physical, sexual, cultural, social economic, emotional violence and discrimination. She further explained that perpetrators of such violence include neighbours, spouse, boyfriends, school mates, strangers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, religious leaders, employers, political leaders etc.

The National Coordinator also listed some factors that encourage violence against women to include past experiences, low level of education, male control, limited legislation, security lapses, women insecure access or control to property, lack of punishment to offenders, impunity, low level of awareness, fear and others.

She however, explained that solutions to ending violence against women and girls include proper education for women, social integration, adequate protection, access to information and help, proper sensitisation, among others.

NATIONAL PANEL Correspondent reports that the participants including church leaders pledged to step down the training in their churches through various  programmes.

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