Connect with us


Violence against women and girls: Can Nigeria tame this monster?



Violence against women and girls: Can Nigeria ever tame this monster?

, Nigeria News Agency

In Nigeria, a common counsel to girls about to marry is the need to keep her family’s secrets secret. She is told to avoid bringing in a third party into her marital quarrels so that her home’s dirty linens would not be exposed to the outside world.

Stripped of all diplomatic niceties, it simply means that the young girl is now alone and on her own. It means she should silently accept and tolerate whatever comes her way, including abuse and violence, as just part of what she must live with as a married woman.

To affirm that stance, parents, in most cases, chase away daughters fleeing from abusive homes. The poor woman is dragged back to the husband’s home and forced to live with whatever is thrown at her.

Condemned into this sordid arrangement by an unfeeling society, most a hapless and helpless woman surrenders to fate, certain of nothing except misery and a bleak, blank and black future.

Dr Danladi Bako, former NTA Director and information commissioner in Sokoto State, who spoke recently on this age-old counsel and the culture of forcing women to stoically endure violence and abuses just to remain in a husband’s house, said that it was at the root of the worsening violence against women and girls.

“That crude culture is a major impediment to tackling gender-based violence in the country,” Bako said at a media dialogue organised by Spotlight Initiative, a global partnership between European Union and UN focused on ending the violence.

Bako’s views were captured in a paper titled: “Changing the Narrative of the Rights of Women and Girls – Creating a New Social Order in Nigeria”.

“Women go through a rough time in their homes, but cultural, religious and traditional factors have made it difficult for her to rise and shout.

“From day one, the woman is told to accept her fate and learn to tolerate and live with it because she is not the only one in that shoe.

“She is told by even her mother that what she may find in her marital home is the fate of every woman,’’ Bako, a development communication specialist, said.

He regretted that even educated women were not voicing out their plight, saying that such silence was worsening the situation and frustrating the search for solutions.

Bako particularly condemned cultures that exploit and demean women, especially the girl-child, who is always denied education, thrown into early marriage and forced into the streets to hawk.

“From my findings, half of the girls that hawk are victims of rape. Girls that hawk groundnuts make an average gain of N200 daily, but they could get N5,000 just by `entering’ the room of a `customer’. This is where the real trouble starts because N5,000 is too tempting for a girl from a poverty-stricken family,’’ he said.

He called for the right political will to tame the menace, and lamented that groups and individuals trying to enlighten women to stand up for their rights in his native Sokoto are often accused of mobilising women to revolt against cultural norms.

Bako called for total commitment to the goal of ending the injustices against women, and regretted that not much had changed in spite of the creation of women affairs ministries and women development commissions

at the federal and state levels.

In her contribution, Hajia Hadiza Aminu, Coordinator, Spotlight Initiative, blamed the rising violence against women and girls on the lack of education, and called for more educational opportunities to

make women self-reliant.

“Most women remain in abusive homes because they are afraid of the economic consequences of being thrown out. Once they are educated and engaged in activities that will fetch them their daily bread, they will be economically independent and will not be afraid to walk away.

“Once a woman is sure of where her next meal could come from, outside her marital home, no one can force her to remain where she is not comfortable, appreciated or loved,’’ she said.

She condemned the discrimination meted out to the girl-child by a society that values male children more, and challenged the media to fight against that injustice.

“There are many media houses in Nigeria. There are television and radio stations, newspapers, magazines and online publications. These media houses must give more air time and pages to gender violence issues. Currently, all the attention is on politics !

“We must build a society that sees and treats everyone as equal. We must all support every child, male or female, to attain his or her dreams so that we can have a society with opportunities and hope for everyone.’’

Aminu decried the harassment and torture girls go through to secure admission, attend schools, get jobs and even grow in their careers, alleging that men are always asking girls for sexual gratification in exchange for grades, jobs, promotions and basic rights routinely enjoyed by the boys.

Dr Ibe Ifeakandu, Head of Department, Public Law, Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, who spoke on `safeguarding the dignity of women and girls’, was particularly concerned about early marriage.

“Marriage is a contract for consenting adults. A child that is 10 years old cannot enter into a contract because the law does not allow her to do so. Such a child is too young to understand and appreciate the consequences of doing so.

“What it simply means is that it is against the Nigerian constitution to force such a child into a union that she does not understand because the girl is not developed enough to understand the psychological and physiological implications  of being a married woman.

“There is even some double standard here. Men force their 10-year-old girls to marry, but will not allow their 10-year-old boys to marry. The girl is given out, but the son is protected. In most cases, a man gets mad if he suspects that an elderly woman is enticing his young son, but he encourages old men to entice his little daughter.

“They will tell you that a girl should get married immediately she reaches puberty, but will not accept that their little boys should do same on attaining that stage. This is unacceptable and we cannot continue this way,’’ Ifeakandu said.

Ifeakandu also spoke on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a very harmful practice that involves the removal of the clitoris in the vagina of young girls.

“FGM is a very humiliating practice. Its aim is to reduce the enjoyment of sex. That, certainly, is not fair to the woman because it violates her natural right to enjoy sex.

“When we do this, we are programming the woman to live miserable lives. That is unconstitutional.’’

For James Ibor, Human Rights Activist, the situation would only improve if women are allowed to decide what they want, including the right to have children.

“Sometimes, a woman may decide not to have children based on medical advice, but the man will not see things her way. He will not respect her views. Women should be allowed to have a say in what happens to them and the media must fight for them,’’ he said.

Ibor also spoke on sex-related abortion, and described that as “chilling’’.

“Some families abort babies when the child is confirmed to be a female just because the man wants a male child. It is a huge disrespect and disregard for the female child who has equal, if not better, capacities than the male,’’ he fumed.

Ibor called for more synergy among grassroots Community Society Organisations (CSOs), NGOs and the media, for effective advocacy toward ending the menace.

“The media must work a little harder. We must mobilise traditional rulers, community heads and religious leaders, to buy into our campaign against girl-child abuse.

“We must involve everyone around – the men at their drinking joints, the boys at their football-watching centres, and the women at the plating spots – just everyone, so that the message will reach everyone and everywhere.

“As an initiative seeking to end this menace, Spotlight Initiative must form a core group of journalists dedicated to sustaining social change toward ending violence against women and girls,’’ he said.

But some of the participants at the media dialogue, while acknowledging the role of the media, called for more attention to the Judiciary, noting that judges had often placed tough hurdles on the path of victims seeking to prove cases of rape and other forms of sexual-related misdeeds.

They called for special courts to handle sexually-related offences to speed up the trials and provide such judges more experiences required to handle such delicate cases.

They also emphasised the need for more attention to the rural areas where such abuses are more common, but grossly under-reported, adding that all stakeholders must be proactive rather than retroactive.

Others also cautioned journalists against stigmatising the victims and making them feel guilty by raising “unnecessary questions” that seem to justify an abuse, instead of taking urgent measures to help them

from further trauma.

But, as Nigeria seeks an end to the violence against women and girls, a woman activist, Cecilia Biodun, believes a solution is only possible if women began to protect each other from violence and abuses.

“Go and check everywhere. Behind every woman’ misery is another woman. The FGM we all cry about is carried out by women. It is the women that shave the heads of widows. It is also women that force widows to drink the water used in bathing the corpse of their late husbands.

“In various homes, women get beaten because of their husband’s mistresses. Others go hungry because girl friends have cornered the monies of their husbands. It is also the mother in-law that makes life unbearable for young wives in every house.

“In the offices and even during elections, women prefer to envy, instead of supporting, each other. They look for every reason to bring down fellow women. We cannot make progress by running down each other,’’ Biodun declared.

With violence and other forms of harmful practices against women reported to be of epidemic proportions, and with World Demographic and Health Surveys ranking Nigeria 118 out of 134 countries on gender equality index, analysts say that quality education is the only way out.

They say that education is a total package that will empower the girl and woman to make informed decisions and choices which could include pulling out of abusive environments.

The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido, put it more succinctly.

“You cannot stop a rich man who wants to marry a 12-year-old girl, or a wretched man who wants to marry a fourth wife. All you need to do is to educate the girl to say no. That ends it.’’

Many analysts agree that the monarch is right on point.

Ephraims Sheyin: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]

Contact US: editor, nnnnews247

Zamfara NMA elects new officials Flood takes over Abeokuta roads, as Ogun River overflows  Buhari appoints Yakubu Pam as Executive Secretary NCPC Alumni association set to redevelop Unilag Cricket Pitch for N75m NSITF management suspension: Due process followed – FG Lagos boat mishap: Death toll rises to 6, 1 still missing – LASWA Russia’s COVID-19 cases surpass 674,000 Thousands of bikers protest against German noise reduction initiative COVID-19: Non-compliance with physical distancing at Sokoto IDP’s camp worries ICON Most former militants trained as divers jobless – expert COVID-19: PDP urges prayers for Umahi, Ortom’s Wife NADCEL 2020: Nigerian army distributes palliatives to vulnerable in Karshi China rebukes Canada over criticism of Hong Kong security law COVID-19: NGO network calls on Kogi, NCDC to end squabbles IMN: CSO decries incessant violation of members’ human rights Kidnapping: MACBAN, community leaders pledge to support security agencies in Nasarawa Madumere canvasses strengthening of Nigeria’s democratic institutions through power devolution ENSG takes up care of brutalised minor’s wellbeing, medical bills  We’ll ensure smooth take-off of Federal College of Education in Osun – Oyetola N-Power: 109,823 beneficiaries now business owners – Minister COVID-19: Makinde inaugurates another isolation centre in Ibadan COVID-19: Association trains 300 on school reopening strategies Delta CJ decries rising divorce rates, blames menace for social vices CAS lauds troops for making more progress in fight against insurgency AbdulRazaq tasks new Kwara Perm Secs on prudence, team work NADCEL: Army offers free medical care for 1,200 civilians in Maiduguri 84-year-old who lost husband, son to banditry, gets help from Army Army Day: 1,000 households get free food, fertiliser in Kaduna Edo 2020: PMAN rallies support for ADC candidate Nigerian Army distributes palliatives to 500 residents in Enugu COVID-19: Health professionals call for review of C/River testing claims Another former Nsukka LG Chairperson in Enugu, Chinwe Ugwu is dead FRSC board approves promotion of 2 ACM Buhari thanks ‘honest’ Nigerian student in Japan, Ikenna Nweke Advertising practitioners seek harmonisation of billboard taxes in Imo Plateau: Rotary club of Tin city inuagurates new President Community Police  will ensure effective security service delivery – CP Army distributes palliative, free medical outreach to Ondo community ‘We are winning war against COVID-19’ – Ganduje Tipper kills motorcyclist in Ilorin Police averts chaos as Customs, Kwara Traffic officers clash Boat mishap: Commissioner reads riot act to ferry operators Cleric arrested for allegedly raping minor for 5 years in Kaduna Lagos boat mishap: Death toll rises to 5, rescue operation ongoing-LASWA Adamawa Govt tasks cooperative societies on environmental protection services  Russia says China would be needed in expanded G7 summit: TASS 16 killed in Kano fire incidents – Official Kwara varsity assures students of safety of property in school COVID-19: Gov. Oyetola orders lockdown in 4 Osun LGAs Ondo 2020: Students’ Group endorses Kekemeke Price of palm oil remains stable in Enugu major markets Medical expert gives recommendations for managing convulsion Lafarge begins road rehabilitation works in Ogun Controversial Russian constitutional amendments enter into force Gov. Akeredolu appoints Fatusi as Chairman of Ondo state COVID-19 Committee Military airstrike kills more terrorists in Borno – DHQ 2020 Army Day: 2 Div. distributes palliatives to 500 indigent families in Ibadan Army donates 10,000 books, food items to 500 IDPs in Katsina Gospel rapper, Iyamu releases `Jeff’, a song on child abuse, societal ills Oyo records its first COVID-19 patient delivery 5 killed, 10 injured in bomb attack in southwest Somalia Commissioner’s death: Gov. Akeredolu directs aide to oversee health ministry Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia resume talks on Nile dam Egypt airports to receive 745 expats stranded in Kuwait over COVID-19 Army Day: 3 Div distributes palliatives to 500 widows, PWDs in Plateau Insecurity: Police solicit traditional institutions support in Niger Ghana’s COVID-19 cases pass 19,000 Tunisia’s tourism earnings drop 47% due to coronavirus Kano approves over N2.3bn for dry port COVID-19 palliatives: Army distributes foodstuffs to 500 households in Sokoto leprosy community Nigerian Army distributes palliatives to vulnerable persons in Edo COVID-19: Benue SSG, COS, 32 others test positive Evacuation: 322 Nigerians from United States to arrive in Lagos Haekins urges Nigerian celebrities to be good ambassadors to fans COVID-19: Umahi tests positive Rebuild PDP in South West, Oyefusi urges new caretaker committee China pledges $2m in support of Zimbabwe’s Cyclone Idai recovery efforts N. Korea sees no chance for new negotiations with United States COVID-19: NURTW promises to comply with govt’s directives for passengers’ safety Trump Jr.’s girlfriend tests positive for coronavirus Fire destroy over 100 shops, goods in Calabar market Military says Tiv leaders’ allegation of killing, rape of women in Taraba mischievous COVID-19: NGO urges older persons to adhere strictly to safety protocol Hong Kong officials disappointed at Canada’s move to suspend extradition pact Educationist identifies indecent dressing as contributory factor to spike in rape cases Ortom’s wife, son, domestic staff test positive for COVID-19 False fire alarm on Ryanair flight prompts emergency landing Suicide car bomber hits checkpoint at Somalia’s Mogadishu port Arsenal forward Martinelli signs new long-term deal Police rescue minor from household grievous harm, battering in Enugu 9 Nigerians miss 2nd United States evacuation flight for breaching COVID-19 guideline 4 dead, 4 missing in Lagos boat mishap COVID-19: NCDC reports 454 new cases of infection I-G orders posting, redeployment of senior officers Chief Judge releases 24 inmates, grants 53 others bail in Enugu State COVID-19: Lagos to charge face mask defaulters to court COVID-19: NLC calls for education stakeholders meeting on safe school re-opening Ondo 2020: Odimayo appoints campaign DG, others Dyche’s achievements at Burnley exemplary for promoted clubs, says Wilder Special prosecutor to examine allegations against FIFA boss, Swiss Attorney General Liverpool reiterate need for safe celebrations, ahead Villa clash Police arraign man, 42, over alleged motorcycle theft Norwich’s Farke says turned down job offers this season Police arraign 2 men over alleged breach of peace in Ekiti FIFA investigating West Ham over Haller transfer COVID-19: NGO lifts Kwara rural communities with palliative Canada’s biggest banks join boycott of Facebook platforms NECA urges FG to lift suspension placed on NSITF boss, others Macron appoints new PM in search for fresh momentum No Christmas presents for youngsters, warns Klopp Nigerians in Diaspora group donates N48m PPE to PTF Tourism practitioners harp on therapeutic effect of exploring nature Group seeks probe of attack on FMC, Lokoja Schools reopening: Beware of paedophiles – NGO tells proprietors, parents DSS arrests impersonator in Taraba Insurgency: NAF takes delivery of newly reactivated ATR-42 aircraft COVID-19: Kwara receives N243m donations from individuals, organisations – AbdulRazaq Polio-Free Status: Buhari writes “Letters of Appreciation’’ to Osinbajo, Sultan, World leaders FG distributes fertilisers to flood victims in Kwara NSIA records N36.15bn total comprehensive income in 2019 NiMet predicts cloudy, thundery weather Saturday to Monday Ondo guber: 2 PDP aspirants fail screening Anambra 2021: PDP chief urges members to embrace peace, unity My mum inspires my creative career — Ex-BBnaija housemate, Elozonam Ex-TUC chairman calls for resuscitation of nation’s refineries Gov. Oyetola extols late Ooni Adesoji Aderemi virtues, 40 years after COVID-19: LASG reopens schools in August Lampard wants ‘collective sit-down’ over VAR controversies Jjgawa PDP wants more united party at grassroots Kaduna completes first phase of ultra modern market  Kwara commends BUA Group for donating 3 ambulances UNN-ASUU warns members to boycott July 6 Deanship election Don’t break govt seals on properties sealed for breaking laws- LASG Lawmaker lauds NAYES for curbing crimes in Nasarawa We need sustained efforts to maintain polio-free status —— NIMR D-G Saints bracing for stern test against Manchester City, says Hasenhuettl Kwara Gov reshuffles cabinet, moves 5 commissioners Kogi gets acting Chief Judge Do not judge Leicester on last four games, says Rodgers Philippine leader signs controversial anti-terrorism law Hodgson not worried by trip to locked down Leicester COVID-19: Edo Govt. warns against reopening of schools COVID-19: Edo discharges 80 more patients LASG disburses funds to 300 victims of Abule-Egba pipeline explosion “I’ll name my prince Adesoji Aderemi” – Ooni Ogunwusi NIS arrests alleged kidnapper, murderer in Oyo Herder/farmer clash: Bauchi suspends Emir of Misau, others Alleged cultism: Ilaro Poly reinstates suspended SUG president  BUA to set up 3m metric tonnes cement plant in Adamawa Gov. Lalong mourns LG Chair in Plateau, Mandyau ASUU president urges FG to tackle challenges affecting education, health sectors ICT expert advocates compulsory computer training for civil servants Police commission approves promotion of 6,681 senior officers NDDC urges residents to monitor projects in Niger Delta communities Mobile court orders 5 traders to cut grass at Govt’s house in Benin Effective system will realise $10 crude oil production cost target -Expert NSITF suspension: NECA calls for respect of rule of law Kim Jong Un says N/Korea prevented coronavirus from making inroads Pharmacists’ Council shuts drug market, seals 19 pharmacies Failed Surgery: Lagos surgeon, clinic arraigned for allegedly evading investigation Olofa of Offa congratulates new FCC Chairman Goodluck Jonathan Foundation donates items to states EFCC has not dropped charges against Adoke -Spokesman NSE: Shares traded down 19.88% Lagos records 3 new COVID-19 related deaths Organised labour flays unfair labour practices NPA expects 33 ships with petroleum products, others at Lagos port Suspected robbers kill bank customer, cart away cash in Bayelsa Edo polls: UK Chapter of APC raises campaign council for Ize-Iyamu Embrace farming for financial stability – agriculturist tells unemployed Ugwuanyi inaugurates rice seed multiplication farm in Enugu State July PMS price indicates government readiness to exit subsidy –Don NACCIMA pledges support to Prof. Adesugba as NEPZA MD Gov. Ikpeazu swears in 13 new permanent secretaries Osun commissioner commends IITA for distributing farming inputs to farmers NCDMB signs agreements on Energy park, oil blending plant COVID-19: CSOs train 165 vulnerable women, youths on face mask, sanitiser production Police arraign man, 27, for allegedly assaulting woman in Benin Post COVID-19: FG to implement report on Creative Industry – Lai Mohammed Speaker hails peaceful conduct of NUJ elections COVID-19: Delta CJ directs judicial staff to work 3 times a week Commission expresses commitment to generate revenue from water sector UNESCO, ECOWAS sign MoU on COVID-19 response Board recommends PRODA D-G suspension over misconduct Expert links cognitive decline to use of agricultural pesticides LETI tasks newly trained CBD officers on professionalism, integrity German lawmakers vote to make ‘upskirting’ a crime Cleric admonish Muslims against worldly trappings German football federation made near 20m euros profit in 2019 Alleged N127.1m fraud: Court admits ex-Scholarship Board boss to N10m bail Aba markets resume normal businesses as govt eases lockdown Behave yourselves, UK PM Johnson warns as pubs get ready to pull pints again Special prosecutor to examine allegations against Infantino, Swiss Attorney-General Czech striker Baros to quit at season’s end Kano anti-corruption boss urges FG to checkmate fraud in rice production AfCFTA: LADOL boss says local production is key to servicing trade Sponsor FedEx urges Washington Redskins to change name Blasts at Turkish fireworks factory kill 2, wound 73 Commission warns against indiscriminate drilling of borehole Coalition of Pastoralists seeks prosecution of Zangon Kataf killings perpetrators Man in court over alleged N3.6m visa fraud, club placement Islamic State supporter jailed for plot to bomb London cathedral Agro firm invests in palm nut cracker, milling plants Association wants hippopotamus killers in Kebbi prosecuted Court remands man for allegedly defiling his 3-year-old daughter COVID-19 Spike: NUJ urges 14 days lockdown in Ondo Mercedes in first two positions as F1 gets back on track in Austria Buhari pays tribute to Late Ooni Aderemi, lauds his good deeds Court orders Public Defender to takeover alleged kidnapper, Evans’ case Remdesivir first Covid-19 drug to receive EU’s green light China logistics prosperity index rebounds 0.1% points to 54.9% in June Edo 2020: PDP pledges all-inclusive, realistic Govt in Edo Travel agent in court over alleged N2.9m visa scam Kaduna social protection policy will rescue residents from poverty – Report Expert advises pregnant women to stay hydrated Tennis wonderkid Gauff can improve the world, Navratilova says Serbia imposes COVID-19 restrictions in Belgrade Face mask: Police arrest 121 violators in Akwa Ibom Revolutionising Nigeria’s dairy sector via Kano State approach Angolan app gives performers a lifeline-streaming to paying public Kano conducts 12,918 COVID-19 samples test Yobe Govt., NGO train 150 midwives Street children: Group urges C’River govt to implement Child Rights law UCTH confirms 5 COVID-19 positive cases in Calabar Hong Kong man first to be charged with inciting secession, terrorism COVID-19: Association calls for more youth participation in agribusiness Unmask Boko Haram members sighted in your markets- GOC urges traders in Maiduguri German lawmakers pass bill to phase out coal by 2038 NACC appoints Obadimu as DG Bank customers decry arbitrary deductions, hails bank for refund COVID-19: 10,000 farmers to get firm’s fertiliser subsidy in Sokoto Man seeks divorce over alleged sex starvation in Ibadan Kebbi Govt donates 3 vehicles to police to enhance security Cambodian PM says casinos can be re-opened if they meet requirements for COVID-19 prevention Ondo election: APC generates N258m from sales of forms Osun govt. commiserates with Gov. Akeredolu over health commissioner’s death Alleged $1bn cloned account: NPA welcomes House of Reps investigation Russia’s COVID-19 cases rise to 667,883 FRSC partners NIS on irregular migration India’s first COVID-19 vaccine may be launched by Aug. 15  Japan asks United States to extradite 2 men accused of aiding Ghosn’s escape French PM Philippe resigns as Macron readies reshuffle Sen. Gyang mourns Plateau LG chairman Sane completes move to Bayern from Manchester City Google-backed groups criticise Apple’s new warnings on user tracking Ex-CBN Director tasks FG on ailing refineries Again, Nigerian troops hit terrorists’ meeting venue, kill several fighters in Borno COVID-19: CMD urges improved health infrastructure Former commissioner urges dialogue between NASS, Executive over 774,000  jobs’ recruitment Edo 2020: No PDP aspirant will be unjustly disqualified- Dogara