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Activist decries rate of rape in Sokoto, Lagos

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A medical doctor and activist, Ahmad Musa, has called for concerted efforts to reduce cases of rape in Sokoto and Lagos states.

Mr Musa, who did not give any figure to illucidate the magnitude of the rape cases, made the call during surveillance teams refresher training on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) on Thursday in Sokoto.

The training was organised by an NGO, Project Alert, one of the Implementing Partners (IPs) of the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative Project aimed at ending violence against women and girls and other harmful practices.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.

The Initiative represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality as precondition and driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is responding to all forms of violence against women and girls, with focus on domestic and

family violence, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and harmful practices, early child marriage, trafficking in human beings and sexual and economic (labour) exploitation.

In Nigeria, the Spotlight Initiative is implemented in six states, namely Adamawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Lagos, Sokoto and the FCT.

The medical doctor, therefore, who described GBV as practices happening in different forms in communities that comprised physical, sexual, psychological and emotional, added that economic deprivation of women and children is another form of GBV.

He noted that most of perpetrators of GBV are family members and relatives, stressing that “one of the factors affecting the fight against

GBV in Sokoto State is case withdrawal or settlements by family members and relatives of survivors.”

The activist said the aim of the refresher training was to equip surveillance teams with the knowledge of how to handle GBV cases in their respective localities and refer to relevant authorities.

In her remark, Habiba Ahmad, the Director, Women in Sokoto State Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, said one of the giant step taken by the state government to fight GBV was the enactment of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) and Child Protection Laws.

Ms Ahmad added that the VAPP Act had been packaged and produced in simpler booklet form for understanding and onward distribution to surveillance teams in the state.

She said that cases of violence against women in the state is under-reported as a result of cultural discrimination.

Some participants, Zaliha Salihu and Bello Maikuki, thanked the organisers of the training, saying they are better informed now and will put more effort toward tracking, sensitising and tackling perpetrators of GBV.

The event witnessed questions and answer sessions by the surveillance team members and resource persons.

(NAN)

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