Connected Development (CODE) and the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria are calling for an end to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and domestic abuse by encouraging State governments to adopt the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, specifically in Kano State. This follows the saddening reports made by the Inspector-General of the Nigerian Police, Mohammed Adamu, that 717 rape cases were recorded in 5 months across the country, marking a spike in SGBV.
The VAPP Act, which clearly outlines laws to tackle violence against women and girls in Nigeria, has still not been implemented in twenty States, five years after its enactment. Most citizens remain unaware of its laws and implications.
In Nigeria, 17% of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to sexual or physical violence at least once in their lives. Violence against women and girls has long-lasting and negative health, social and economic effects that can span generations, often leading to cycles of violence within families and communities. It is a pandemic that we must condemn and work towards ending.
According to Canada’s Acting High Commissioner, Nicolas Simard, “Beyond the policies, there is also action. Women do politics differently; women do business differently. If you want to create jobs, you need to create small and medium enterprises. Women participation is vital for every sector to develop.”
‘Although, Kano State has long battled the prevalence of child rape, it is commendable that the State House of Assembly has now passed the Child Rights Act awaiting assent by the Governor. Still, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, needs to ensure the signing of the Child Rights Act and speedy passage of the VAPP Act and domesticate its policies- that’s a secure way to protect our women and girls from abuse and violence, Chief Executive of CODE, Mallam Hamzat Lawal stated.
CODE, with support from the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria, is working to support the empowerment of vulnerable and marginalized women in Kano State, including those living with disabilities, suffering from HIV/AIDS, and victims of SGBV, by helping them to be catalysts for change by building their capacity to advocate more effectively. This includes using technology platforms to promote respect for women’s rights, advocate for gender-responsiveness in public service delivery, and secure the adoption and implementation of the VAPP Act.
CODE and the Canadian High Commission urges the Nigerian government to establish a comprehensive policy and regulatory framework that guarantees the safety and security of our most vulnerable citizens across the Federation, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crises can exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and risk factors, leading to an increase in SGBV.
Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy recognizes that supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is the best way to build a more peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous world. Preventing and responding to all forms of SGBV is a priority for Canada.