Group seeks collaboration with Opinion Leaders in ending Violence Against Women and Girls in Ebonyi

The Women Aid Collective (WACOL) has called on opinion Leaders in Ebonyi to collaborate with it to end Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and secure sexual and reproductive health rights.

Prof Joy Ezeilo, Founder of WACOL, made the call on Friday, during a one-day interactive meeting with community, religious and traditional leaders.

Ezeilo, who was represented by Mrs Anulika Ezennia, the Project Manager of the group, maintained that the objective of the interaction was to increase participants’ knowledge on effective implementation of policies on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).

She added that it was also expected to prevent VAWG, SGBV and Harmful Practices (HP).

An Imam, Abduraheem Kolawole, advised that women should be well respected while people are enjoined to shun violence at all times.

Meanwhile, Mr Ndubuisi Nwafor, one of the Resource persons, stated that female circumcision, wife battering, sexual harassment, verbal and emotional abuse, among other critical cases, are harmful practices negatively affecting the state.

Nwafor also noted that awareness rate of SGBV cases in the country was low, saying that victims and perpetrators have little and no knowledge that it is a crime punishable under the law.

He called on the traditional leaders who are custodian of the culture of the people to exert their control over VAWG, SRHR and HP.

According to him, family cultural and social authority given to men over women and children in Africa, especially in Nigeria, was one factor that promoted SGBV.

Another Resource person, Helen Kalu, also condemned the act of violence and said it is an offence punishable by law.

The Agency reports that the meeting had traditional leaders and civil society groups in attendance.

The Agency also reports that the event featured an advocacy visit to Imams and other leaders in the state for collaboration.

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