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First Lady of Osun State and Chair of Southern Governors Wives Forum (SGWF), Mrs Kafayat Oyetola has called on mothers in the South to rise up to the challenge of gender-based violence (GBV) by teaching children relevant values that enhance human dignity at homes.

Speaking at Awka, Anambra State during the 2021 Anambra Women’s Summit, Mrs Oyetola stated that the onset of coronavirus pandemic had further worsened the incidents of GBV across the States in Nigeria.

She said, “women are usually more at the receiving end of these harmful acts especially during the time of crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The issue of gender-based violence has become a major problem. It is a country-wide challenge. It has raised great health concerns

The manifestation of this problem is diverse as it comes in;

•             verbal harassment,

•             mutilation of the female body through traditional practices such as female genital mutilation,

•             denial and blockade from resources sometimes based on matrimonial status or widowhood status,

•             the subjection of women to injurious activity based on harmful practices,

•             rape,

•             beating and assaulting of women, among others.

“When we talk about gender-based violence, we should not limit our attention to rape and sexual violence alone. Let us look at every other harmful activities that make our women incapable of living a dignified and fulfilling life

“We mothers have a great role to play in fighting this social menace. GBV is not a natural disaster. It is a social crisis that emanates from wrong and dysfunctional orientation.

“If we are to fight it, we must go to the root causes. These lead directly to our homes. Mothers are the first handlers of the orientation of our boys and our girls. Therefore, we should start in our homes by training our children on the relevant values that enhance human dignity.

“When men and boys respect the women and girls, and refrain from on-leashing violence on them, our society will be safer and much more productive.”

On the activities of the wives of governors in Nigeria, Mrs. Oyetola, who is the Chairperson of the Forum in the South, said that the national umbrella body of the Forum was keen on ensuring all States in Nigeria have laws that would help root out GBV in Nigeria.

In his opening remarks, one of the resource persons who delivered a paper at the summit, Professor Chike Okoye stated that the problem of gender-based violence such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, torture, high handedness, and physical punishment among others, exposed children exposed to the many dangers associated with the menace.

Also Speaking at the event, the chief host and wife of the governor of Anambra state, Lady (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano aligned her submissions on the menace as earlier articulated by the Osun First lady, Mrs. Kafayat Oyetola.

She also commended her and other Governors’ wives in the South and the country at large for not the intense determination to confront the challenge of gender-based violence in our society.

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