Features

Sports betting: dangerous trend or reward for passion?

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Many Nigerian football supporters and enthusiasts have greeted the new football season in major European countries with excitement and anticipation.

In the next eight months, football crazy Nigerians will have the opportunity to watch their favourite clubs challenge for honours in England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and other countries.

The new season has kicked off in England, where the English Premier League (EPL) – perhaps the most popular football league among Nigerians – has already sparked thrill among fans.

On Sunday, Manchester United thrashed Chelsea 4-0 in what many considered a baptism of fire for Chelsea’s new manager and former club legend, Frank Lampard.

Action in the French Ligue 1 has also lifted football fans’ spirits and the prospect of adding the German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga to the mix further heightens the delight.

However, there is another kind of excitement about the new football season brewing among a totally different class of Nigerians.

For this group of football followers, the new season doesn’t merely offer excitement and rekindle their passion for the beautiful game. It is an avenue to make money through sports betting.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that over the past decade, sports betting has become one of the fasted growing sectors in Nigeria and the proliferation of betting shops is not hard to observe, even by the uninitiated.

Every week, gamblers forecast outcomes of football matches and stake some money on odds with the hope of making a fortune.

Some uniform men were spotted on Sunday at Asokoro Bet9ja centre betting as Chelsea and Man United, others played.

NAN in Abuja, observed that most of the people patronising betting centre were policemen and young adults between the ages of 18 to 25 years.

Whether they are patronising some of the numerous betting shops which dot almost every neighbourhood or playing directly from their mobile phones, many Nigerians have come to embrace the trend of making (or losing) money from sports betting.

A 2018 estimate puts the Nigerian betting industry’s worth at over five billion-naira a-day and it is believed that more than 30 per cent of the entire population is actively involved in it.

An economic expert, Mr Kingsley Kosisochukwu, noted betting has the potential of bringing  substantial economic benefits for the country.

“Increased employment and income, increased tax revenues, enhanced tourism and recreational opportunities are also positive effects of legalised gambling.

“Also, it has the potential of re-distributing wealth. We have some people that have become millionaires overnight through betting.

“These are people that probably would never have become rich if they did not gamble. So healthy gambling is good for the nation’s economy,” he said.

In contrast, a financial analyst, Dr Patricia Auta, said that betting was a bad idea and the biggest was the creation of more addicted gamblers at a younger age.

“If you combine gambling, sports and smartphones, you’re leading sport fans down a very dangerous path to financial ruin.

“The younger generation, that is the generation that doesn’t know a world without smartphones and the internet is showing nearly double the gambling addiction rate of the next-oldest generation.

“The effect is increased crime due to bankruptcy and bad debts.

“As access to money becomes more limited, gamblers often resort to crime in order to pay debts.

“Studies have shown that gamblers are more likely to commit offences as fraud, stealing, embezzlement, forgery, robbery, and blackmail,” she said.

Meanwhile, a reliable source from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) told NAN that the sport betting industry currently does not attract tax of any kind.

The source said that the service had already held series of meetings with the National Lottery Commission and the betting companies operating in the country to see how the industry would start paying its fair share of tax.

“We plan to introduce VAT and possibly withholding tax on betting.

“We currently don’t have a legislation to cover this and that is why we have highlighted this in the reviewed National Tax Policy.

“The policy is ready and once a Minister of Finance is appointed, we will submit the proposal,” the source said.

An agent at a popular sports betting outlet in Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja, simply identified as Mike, told NAN that he could make as much as N85,000 in a week, depending on how the games turned out.

While sports betting is regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and its contribution to the economy is undeniable, many football enthusiasts worry about its dark side.

John Atime also told NAN at a popular viewing centre in Nyanya, “I sparingly stake bets, most times out of passion and fun, so I don’t worry if I win or not. But there are others who survive on betting.

“Personally, I believe that being involved too much in betting can kill the passion for the game.

“Sometimes you see a fan hoping for his club to concede a goal or lose a match because he has forecast goal-goal,”

However, Adewale Sikiru, a phone vendor at the popular Banex Plaza in Abuja, disagreed with Atime, saying there was nothing wrong with making money from one’s passion.

“Football is a big business and players are earning off their passion so why can’t fans earn money too? In fact, placing a bet enhances your passion because something is at stake at personal level,” he said.

Indeed, football is a big business and sports betting is one of its major drivers.

In addition, at least two divisions of the English league are sponsored by a betting company and here in Nigeria we have seen betting companies sponsor national football leagues.

But should we close our eyes to the realities of addiction, depression and underage betting because of the economic returns it offers?

In 2016, a young man identified as Uchenna was reported to have taken his own life after losing a N22,000 sports bet in Uyo.

In 2018, police in Ilorin confirmed that a 25-year-old man committed suicide after he lost out on a bet over the outcome of a European Champions League match.

The lawful age for betting eligibility in Nigeria is 18, but many sports betting outlets visited by NAN in Abuja glaringly admit underage gamblers.

Football being the most followed sport in Nigeria, betting appears to have become a complementary lifestyle among its supporters and many of those supporters are under the age of 18.

Many adults also expose minors to betting by sending them to betting shops to process already generated forecasts.

Mike told NAN that opting to play online could guard against this, although it would hurt agents like him.

“Gamblers can create their own account and play via the mobile app.  Winnings are credited to their accounts which they can transfer into their bank accounts.

“It is wrong to encourage underage people to get involved,” he said.

With privilege comes responsibility. Thus, betting companies should consider it a social responsibility to invest in enlightenment campaigns.

Mr Magnus Ekechukwu, Assistant Director, Public Affairs, National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), says the commission is contributing immensely to the socio-economic development of the country

Ekechukwu told NAN in Abuja the NLRC Act is defined in such a way and manner that it includes and covers sport betting activities,

“Lottery and gaming have been used all over the world as a tool of social economic development, wealth distribution, empowerment, poverty alleviation and so forth and so on.

“But beyond that, the proceeds from lottery and gaming, we use to provide what we called good courses in Nigeria which is intervention in the infrastructural development of the country by the government.

 

 

Features

Tackling gender based violence in Nigeria

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Tackling gender based violence in Nigeria

, Nigeria News Agency

Dec. 10 of every year is globally marked as Human Rights Day. The day was proclaimed in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly, via the Universal Declaration of Human Right.

The day was set aside by the United Nations to affirm the inalienable rights of every human being, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, among others.

Nigeria since 1995, established the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), to promote, protect and enforce human rights issues in the country.

However, even with establishment of the NHRC, the country is still faced with high rate of Gender Based Violence (GBV) problems.

According to the UN, GBV is any act that results in or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such act, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

GBV, however, is not just about women’s issues, but affects all sexes, even though women are more vulnerable.

Gender based violence in Nigeria remains a challenge, that significantly constraints women’s opportunities, as most of them suffer sexual harassment, physical violence and harmful traditional practices, among others.

According to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA, 28 per cent of Nigerian women aged 25-29 experienced some form of physical violence from the age of 15.

And 45 per cent of women who experienced violence, never sought for help or told anyone about the incident due to fear of discrimination or lack of access to help facilities.

Also, women and girls with disabilities are more likely to experience GBV and less able to escape, less likely to speak up, less likely to be believed and less likely to find help services.

To tackle the issues and garner support to end GBV, Mercy Corps Nigeria, with support from the DFID, initiated the Girls Education Challenge (GEC) Fund, which is implementing the Educating Nigerian Girls In New Enterprises (ENGINE) programme to address barriers to girls’ education and gender inequalities.

The programme is focusing on 18,000 marginalised girls in Kano, Kaduna and Lagos states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It also facilitates Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection in the four states, working with various stakeholders, including federal and state governments, and line agencies.

Under the programme, beneficiaries are trained on reporting protocols for GBV, while families, schools, communities are enlightened on identifying, reporting and managing various forms of abuse and human rights violations when they occur and how to avoid reoccurrence.

Mercy Corps Nigeria, along with Society for Women Development and other relevant stakeholders in Kano, Lagos, Kaduna states and the FCT, are participation in the implementation of ENGINE ll.

Oluwawemimo Onikan, Communication Officer of ENGINE, said the first phase of programme which ran from October 2013 to March 2017, was able to support over 24,0000 marginalised girls between the ages of 16-19 to improve their learning outcomes and economic status in the four states of Kano, Kaduna, Lagos and FCT.

Onikan added that ENGINE ll would run till September 2020 and is providing numerous interventions to ensure that the girl-child is safe.

The interventions include boosting learning; providing opportunities for girls to build functional literacy and numeracy skills, provide them financial support and scholarships.

According to her, the programme also promotes child protection training by building the capacity of community leaders, traditional rulers, teachers, principals and government officials on how to identify and respond to GBV cases.

She noted that people were now more aware and enlightened, thereby helping to break the culture of silence which hitherto emboldened perpetrators of GBV in the society.

Communities and organisations like the Hizba in Kano, vigilante groups have also keyed into the initiative and took it upon themselves to curb the menace of GBV.

Onikan noted that Kaduna State had the highest number of cases reported by survivors, while the state  now have sexual assault referral centres, where they can report and access medical and legal support.

The Nigeria Demographic Health Survey 2013, and ICF International 2014, indicate that 28 per cent of women in Nigeria aged 15–49, experienced some form of physical or sexual violence; 11 per cent experienced physical violence within 12 months prior to the survey.

Also, according to a survey conducted by National Population Commission with support from UNICEF, six out of every 10 children experienced some form of violence.

The survey was conducted on 4,203 children aged 13-24 with 1,766 females and 2,437 males, based on physical violence, sexual violence and emotional violence.

Before the age of 18, one in two children experienced physical violence, one in four girls and one in 10 boys experienced sexual violence, while one in six girls and one in five boys, experienced emotional violence,” the report indicated.

In Kaduna State, 662 cases of abuse against women and children were recorded at the four sexual assault centres in the state, in October 2019 alone.

Out of the 662 cases, 373 were received at Gwamna Awan Specialist Hospital, Nasarawa; 104 at Sir Patrick Yakowa Memorial Hospital, Kafanchan; 114 cases at Yusuf Dantsoho Specialist Hospital, Tudun Wada and 71 received at Gambo Sawaba Hospital, Zaria.

The sexual assault centres provide medical consultation on individual cases and assist with psychosocial management of victims and their families.

Linda John, a GBV survivor in Abuja, said she got married at the age of 18 to a man who promised to send her back to school as she dropped out due to her parent’s poor financial status.

My parents were not financially buoyant and my dad was asthmatic, that is why I agreed to marry the man, hoping that he would send me to school as he promised, but things started changing two weeks after our marriage.

” He started maltreating me and refused to send me back to school. I got pregnant and he locked me up for days without food, I only took water, and as a result I had high blood pressure, “ she said

John said that whenever she escaped to her parent’s house, her husband followed her, and assaulted her and her parents.

According to her, the inability of her parents to return the bride price paid on her by the husband, made her to endure the hardship in order to save her parents from shame.

The survivor, however, commended ENGINE for coming to her community to sensitise and enlighten them on issues of gender based violence, saying it gave her confidence to speak out.

She said that the programme helped her and her family return the bride price to her former husband, and that she sued him for molestation and assault.

” Thanks to ENGINE ll, I am now back in school and I’m doing well,” she said.

Similarly, a community leader in Bwari Area Council of FCT, Mr Akanle Sunday, said members of the community have been suffering different forms of abuse, but were silent due to lack of awareness.

He noted that with the sensitisation by members of the ENGINE ll programme, his community was more aware and enlightened and survivors were able to speak out and get help.

Thanks to ENGINE ll, cases related to gender based violence in my community have dropped by 25 per cent,” he said.

With active participation of stakeholders, GBV would be greatly reduced in the country.

 

 

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Features

Punch and its sinister motives for attacks on President Buhari, by Garba Shehu

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PUNCH AND ITS SINISTER MOTIVES FOR ATTACKS ON PRESIDENT BUHARI

The reported new editorial policy of the Punch Newspapers to address President Muhammadu Buhari as Major General in his official title and refer to his government as a regime instead of administration, comes to us as totally curious and utterly incredible.

The paper claimed that it is changing President Buhari’s official title to General because of his government’s alleged disregard for the rule of law.

Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), for that is his title, and he was indeed a Major General, but today retired from that position and now twice democratically elected president of Nigeria – is not the choice of Punch Newspaper’s editors and owners, that is clear.

He is, however, the two-time electoral choice of the voters of Nigeria, those very people who Punch Newspapers described this morning as “lethargic”: a disdaining epithet apportioned to decent, hard-working, everyday Nigerians for not agreeing with, and for not having voted in line with their publication’s editorial and political opinions.

Punch’s editorial today is, however, entirely in line with holding and exercising the right of free speech and freedom of the press, as my friend and colleague, Femi Adesina said earlier today.

Femi, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity said the fact the Punch can insult the President in a front page editorial and they go home to sleep, peacefully, is the best testimony to the prevalence of the freedom of the press and of expression in the country.

To quote him, “rather than being pejorative, addressing President Buhari by his military rank is another testimony to free speech and freedom of the press, which this administration (or regime, if anyone prefers: it is a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve.”

In countries around the world where this right does not exist, newspapers do not publish articles such as the one Punch did today; nor do they get to express political opinions contrary to that of government. The exact freedoms Punch claims are missing are self-evident here – in print, on the internet – for all Nigerians and the whole world to see.

There is nothing wrong with expressing contrary opinions to this government – nor being in opposition to the president: this is the right of very Nigerian.

However, calling for the armed overthrow of the democratically elected administration is a different matter entirely: this Punch has in no way done – but others who they seek to defend, have.

There is the difference. Punch: oppose the government as much as you want to.

We welcome your contribution to the debate. But we ask you not to throw insults at the good voters of Nigeria for not agreeing to your choice at the last election.

Oppose in good humour: for that is the mark of the true democrat – that which you purport to be.

It is not within the power or rights of a newspaper to unilaterally and whimsically change the formal official title or the designation of the country’s President as it pleases.

It is unprecedented and absurd in our recent political history. The Punch never changed President Olusegun Obasanjo’s title from the President to General Obasanjo, despite the latter’s refusal to comply with Supreme Court judgment, ordering him to release N30 billion of Lagos State local councils funds.

When General Ibrahim Babangida who wasn’t democratically elected assumed the title of President, why didn’t the Punch challenge him or address him by any title it so desired?

In fact, IBB closed media houses for several months and years, including Punch.

But the paper didn’t stop addressing him as President, despite the fact that he wasn’t elected.

It is obvious that the Punch newspapers are playing partisan opposition politics which has nothing to do with journalism.

The Constitution of Nigeria recognises the President as the formal official title of the occupant of that office. Can the Punch newspapers, in their hubris address the President as Prime Minister as it pleases?

Is it within the paper’s responsibility or power to change the official title of the man who occupies the office of the President? Does that mean any newspaper is free to address the Comptroller General of Customs a Colonel rather than his official title?

The Punch newspaper should separate journalism from partisan politics. What it is embarking upon is purely political and it is designed to play to the gallery and cause confusion.

Punch Newspaper’s double standards in cuddling some of our past dictators and their open contempt for President Buhari clearly show that the paper has sinister motives for its current curious editorial judgment. Its personal hatred for and animus towards President Buhari should not be allowed to becloud its good judgment.

Garba Shehu is theSenior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

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Features

NJ Ayuk’s book Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals now available in Spanish

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NJ Ayuk

NJ Ayuk’s Amazon best-selling sophomore book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals is now available for purchase in Spanish.

The English version of the book was launched early last month and has since become a huge success on the African continent and abroad.

With a foreword by H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) who describes the book as “a detailed roadmap” of how Africa can utilize its petroleum resources to fuel the growth and development of its economies, Billions at Play takes the public and private sector to task in areas where they fall short in managing and developing the energy sector as a key driver of economic growth.

From the onset, in the first chapter titled It’s High Time for African Oil and Gas to Fuel a Better Future for Africans, author NJ Ayuk takes a frank approach in revealing the fortunes, misfortunes and areas of improvement in the management of the sector.

“Petroleum resources have always represented opportunity for Africans. Again, the problem has been a failure to leverage those resources wisely to develop and capitalize on their value chain, and to protect the interests of everyday Africans where oil and gas revenue is concerned,” writes Ayuk.

The book features chapters on the importance of empowering women to take leadership roles in the sector, the rise of natural gas a key solution to the continent’s power supply issues, the importance of intra-Africa cooperation, local content policy development and implementation, the significance of good governance and American investment in Africa’s oil and gas sector.

“Among other things, Ayuk believes Africans need to have better control of their resource wealth—specifically the riches that lie in the continent’s largely unexploited oil and gas basins. At the same time, he knows Africa is not completely ready to go it alone,” reviews Ann Norman, General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at Pioneer Energy.

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Economy

Expo 2020 in Dubai: What Benefits to Africa?

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Mohammed Dansanta Rimi, Nigeria Ambassador to the United Arab

Emirates (UAE) delivering a letter to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum,

Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee in Dubai to confirm Nigeria’s participation.

Expo 2020 in Dubai: What Benefits to Africa?

, Nigeria News Agency

As countries plan to showcase their potential at the Dubai Expo 2020, the show promises to be an invaluable platform for all African nations to strengthen not only their relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but with the rest of the world.

The Expo, the first to be held in the Middle East, will hold within the Dubai South District on a site that is 4.38 square kilometres.

It is close to Al Maktoum International Airport and easily reached from Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dubai, Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals.

Approximately 2 square kilometres will form the Expo gate area, while the remaining 2.4 square kilometres will feature supporting amenities, including the Expo 2020 Village for participants and staff accommodation, warehousing, logistics, transport nodes, hotels, retail and a public park.

The Expo 2020 Dubai coincides with the UAE’s 50th anniversary in 2021, marking an important milestone for the UAE. Over the past 50 years, the UAE has impressed the world with its rapid growth and amazing achievements.

The Dubai Expo 2020 wants to motivate people to carry that innovative spirit forward for another 50 years.

With 25 million visits expected, Expo 2020 will create millions of opportunities for positive change, as nations come together to

solve some of the biggest challenges facing us all.

The people attending will come from all over the world, with 70 per cent expected to be international visitors, the highest proportion in World Expo history. 30,000 UAE resident volunteers from a range of nationalities and backgrounds will ensure visitors have the time of their lives – returning again and again.

By participating, African businesses have a chance to join a community of Expo’s buyer and supplier network. Africa’s non-oil trade with Dubai has been growing steadily over the last decade, accounting for 10.5 per cent of the emirate’s total non-oil foreign trade in 2018.

According to UAE Federal Customs Authority data, for the first half of 2018, non-oil foreign trade volume with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region amounted for AED 138.6 billion; trade with East and Southern Africa totalled AED 28.9 billion; and trade with West and Central Africa AED 27.8 billion.

The organisers of the World’s Greatest Show, said that majority of countries in Africa had publicly announced their participation, adding that each participating country, regardless of size, population, wealth or perceived influence, will have its own pavilion at the Expo.

Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Senegal,

Sierra Leone, Somalia and Togo are among Africa countries that have already confirmed their participation in the Expo.

Nigeria has the highest population in Africa and is a traditional trade partner for UAE with non-oil trade between the two countries

amounting to 1.3 billion dollars in 2016.

Mr Mohammed Dansanta Rimi, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UAE had since delivered a letter to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, confirming Nigeria’s participation in the Expo.

The Ambassador said: “We want to show the world how we are working to improve the lives of our youth and people, while opening up our economy and encouraging foreign investment – and the Expo will be the ideal platform for us to do so.’’

Al-Maktoum, confirming Nigeria’s participation in the Expo said: “People and innovation are at the heart of World Expos, which is why we are delighted to welcome Nigeria’s participation.

“Expo 2020 will be the first World Expo to be held in the developing world, and will be for the developing world; so, we look forward to working with Nigeria and other confirmed African countries on our journey to 2020.’’

Similarly, Mr Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of the Expo added: “As director-general of Expo 2020, I have no doubt to say that the Expo will offer an opportunity to take our relationships (with Africa) to new heights.

“Our Expo visitors are expected to be primarily international coming from all over the world – including Africa.

“Almost all African nations have confirmed their participation and we are working closely with them to curate and programme exhibitions that are meaningful to contribute at all levels.’’

But, according to the organisers, no fewer than 192 countries have confirmed participation, as well as companies, non-governmental

organisations, businesses and educational institutions.

The organisers, who spoke recently to some selected African journalists in Dubai, said that the six months celebration of human

brilliance and achievement will inspire everyone to create a better future for all.

According to them, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), African countries and everything they have to offer will be accessible to the

whole world in new and unexpected ways.

“From discovering what the future holds for the world’s youngest country, South Sudan, and tasting Ethiopia’s next big super-grain, to investing in Kenya’s croton nuts, energy industry, learning about Nigeria’s Economic Recovery Growth Plan 2017-2020, and preserving the continent’s intangible cultural heritage, there will be no barriers to connecting minds at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Expo 2020, a once-in-lifetime experience, they added will be a time to create and renew connections and deepen through 2020 and beyond, a time to be awed by the spectacular events programme, and a time to do business.

“The show which will open to the world between October 20, 2020 and April 10, 2021, will also move away from traditional geographical clusters and band together countries facing similar challenges and will  focus on `Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability’, which is the sub-theme of the Expo.

“This involve ensuring jobs, education and healthcare for all; easy and equitable access to transport and ideas; and balancing development with preserving the environment for future generations.

The sub-themes also form part of commitment to advancing the 2020 Global Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ they said.

“The African Union (AU) has been identified as a body that will play a critical role in promoting Africa’s growth and development at the forthcoming Expo, with the AU already embodying Expo 2020’s theme: ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the future’, will showcase to the world the power of collaboration in building a more prosperous and integrated Africa.

“Already, with a collective effort of the 55 AU member states to implement Agenda 2063 – a blueprint for delivering Africa’s goal for

inclusive and sustainable development, also involves addressing issues in agriculture, transport, science and technology, health,

information and communication technology, as well as those relating to legal and financial matters.’’

It said that among the 25 projects selected in Expo 2020’s Global Best Practice Programme, 15 have a direct impact on some of the biggest challenges facing Africa, noting that Africa and the UAE had enjoyed a long friendship, steeped in a shared culture and trade ties that date back centuries, and which still define their mutually respectful relationship.

Analysts believe that Africa is the future of global economic growth. And while other continents see slow to negative growth in their economies, Africa countries’ economies are growing at double digit level.

So, African participation in Expo 2020 is seen as an important element for the success of the mega event.

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Features

FEATURE: Gender-Based Violence: Do men suffer same?

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Gender-Based Violence: Do men suffer same?

Aliyu, Nigeria News Agency

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is any violence directed at an individual

based on his or her sex or gender identity.

It includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse,

threats, coercion and economic or educational deprivation, whether

occurring in public or private life.

Whoever the victim is – man, woman, girl or boy — GBV undermines

the health, dignity, security and autonomy of victims and it remains shrouded

in a culture of silence.

An overview by UN Population Fund (UNFPA) which places more emphasis

on the female gender, however, states that violence against women and girls

is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world.

The fund notes that such violence knows no social, economic or national

boundaries and adds that an estimated one in three women in the world

will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.

However, GBV as the name connotes, is any violence on an individual due

to his or her gender identity, men inclusive.

Against the backdrop of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against GBV declared

by the UN from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10 to bring to light various acts

of violence and abuse against men, women, boys and girls, News Agency of

Nigeria seeks to find out if men also suffer same and why they keep mum.

With the 2019 theme — “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands

Against Rape’’, the 16 days of activism is a call for global actions to increase awareness, galvanise advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations toward dealing with abuse cases.

Malam Ya’u Umar, a 57-year-old civil servant in Abuja, then narrates

what he calls“psychological trauma suffered by many married men.”

He says it is not only women, girls and boys that suffer GBV, noting that

married men especially suffer it “as exhibited by some wives in many

different forms.’’

He explained that from the definitions of GBV, which include emotional and

psychological abuse, “many married men are also suffering in silence.”

Umar says culture plays a great role in silencing men suffering from

domestic violence, as they cannot openly speak about it.

The civil servant, who said he would not want to go into details of the things

some men go through in the form of violence in their homes, added that “culturally and religiously, a man is the head of the home and as such, should not be heard as being violated in his house.

“Culture sees it as something unimaginable, and as such, the men will rather continue to endure in silence; but these are things that actually happen; many family members can attest to that.

“I don’t think any man can openly say that he is being assaulted by his wife or by a woman; no man will ever come out to say that his wife or a woman beats him; right from childhood, boys are made to know that girls/women are the weaker sex.”

Another man, Mr Donatus Nnamoko, a 48-year-old businessman residing in Abuja, said “I almost abandoned my family due to my wife’s nagging; the psychological and emotional abuse was too much for me to bear.’’

He explained that even though his wife is educated and earning salary, her nagging behaviour subjected him to psychological trauma and anxiety “and many times, I felt like just absconding from home.

“Even though we have now ironed out our differences, anytime I remember

those days, I begin to think differently about her.

“I had to report her to both families, where we were summoned for meeting and we discussed at length and both of us spoke our minds on everything happening between us.

“We were then warned and we swore to an oath not to cause trouble again and I want to believe she has now changed.’’

For Mr Adebayo Aina, a lawyer also based in Abuja, said violence against men had been happening for ages, “but the attention on it has been very low; and the men do not speak about it due to culture or maybe stigma.

“Even though it happens to women more than men, many men are also undergoing some form of torture.’’

He explained that many husbands suffer psychological abuse in homes, narrating how his wife tried to poison his children against him.

He said that “some women are troublesome and can do anything to make life unbearable to their husbands; especially when they ask for something and are not granted or suspect the man is into extra marital affairs.

“Some women can tell the children all sorts of things that can make them to even hate their father; many women display such attitude, which is very bad and can divide the family.

“Do you know that many men resort to hanging out with friends and the bar because of their wives’ attitude?, many of us will like to go home and rest after work, but cannot do that because of some women’s nagging.

“Many times I felt like running out of the house because of the `dangerous’ look my wife gives me when I return from work.’’

He added that “the unfriendly look’’ would just send the man thinking about what he did wrong, “and that kind of trauma can cause high blood pressure, as the woman keeps eyeing without any explanation.

“That kind of trauma is a huge abuse because the man will not be able to concentrate.’’

Aina said that even though he is a lawyer, he never handled any abuse case against a man, as many see it as a family matter “which the men would not want to make public.’’

He added that although it had been happening and the men kept enduring in silence, there was need to bring it to the fore, just like the advocacy against abuse of women and girls “so that men too would have peace of mind.’’

He urged the media to also focus and report cases of abuse against men, so as to find lasting solution to it, “in form of a law, establishment of special court to try such cases or emphasis on the use of family to tackle the matter.

“Once there is a law to protect men against abuse, it will deter suspected culprits.’’

He, however, encouraged men who felt violated to feel free to speak out and not to feel ashamed so as to avoid psychological trauma, which might cause diseases or send men to early grave.

He said “men also experience gender abuse but do not shout about it; I hope it would not get to a time that they would carry placards to protest against the aggressors.”

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