Some of the participants
Some of the participants

A non governmental organization, YOUTHHUB Africa has called for a gender based response center in Ebonyi state to help victims lay their complains and in turn get justice on time.

The Programme Manager, Mr. Medupin Olusegun, made the call during a two-day Women and Girls’ Rights Defenders workshop, held at San Diego Hotels LTD, no. 98 old Enugu Road, Kpririkpiri, Abakaliki.

Interacting with journalists after the workshop which was held on Friday and Saturday, Olusegun explained that having response center is one way the state government can help in the fight against gender based violence.

Adding: “I don’t know if there is a phone number put in place that someone who is abused can call. The government can put such number in place so that someone who is facing a rape case can call to lay his or her complain. If the number is already in place you can share it to people.

“Government can do more to create a sexual and gender based response center like the one we have in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and in some other parts of the country. We need a phone number to call or send SMS and government will respond without hesitation.

“Government can also create a safe home for women and girls who are facing sexual exploitation. But again, though I don’t have the complete information right now, there are some of our members who had a meeting just recently and they are also creating safe space, so if they are doing so there’s no need to create the safe space again. But government can recognize them and go there to encourage them and also make sure there is security, water, light among other necessities”.

He also commended government for what it has done so far In the fight against gender based violence, even as he stated that government cannot do it alone.

“There’s never a time any government can do enough in the fight against gender based violence, and that is why everything is not necessarily done by government.

“That’s why as stakeholders, CSOs, religious leaders, traditional rulers, community workers, brothers and sisters we are committed to ensuring an end to gender based violence.

“By the time we do our best and we seek the collaboration of government and government is not forthcoming, then we can say they are not doing much. But now there is an enabling law in the state, and there are desk officers in many of government parastatals. But again, is this law being enforced? There is still more government can do to help end this fight” he stated.

The Programme Manager reiterated he was not satisfied with the role of judiciary in the fight gender based violence, stating there is delay in the dispensation of Justice.

“I’m not satisfied and I think the judiciary can do more most importantly, in the area of expediting justice.

“Though, I like to be fair to everybody and on the part of the judiciary, I don’t know what they are facing, it may be poor funding. I have also had a few cases that have been taking up by the judiciary and they are not slacking about it.

“Yet, there are delays and there shouldn’t be delays in the dispensation of Justice. As the cases are coming you treat them as urgent so that the man who raped a woman will face the music and the girl will be rehabilitated and everybody has to move on” he added.

Speaking about the workshop, Olusegun said YOUTHHUB Africa was in the state to work with women and girls rights advocates to end gender based violence, violence against women, sexual and gender based violence and harmful practices against women and young girls.

He said the project was part of the larger spotlight project initiatives which is an effort by European Union and United Nations and other partners to support women in the world.
Adding that the spotlight initiative chose Ebonyi state as one of the six focal states to start working on.

He noted that in Ebonyi state, they are focusing on Abakaliki, and Ezza South local government areas.

Stating that YOUTHHUB Africa is also a platform for young people to collaborate in special ways.

“For instance, we have an online platform that shares opportunities with young people across Africa. At least, one of the top most five continental platform that you can get scholarship and all that.

”Now, we also work around education and are advocating for the amendment of the universal basic education act. We are also advocating for domestication of the child right act in the core northern states that have not passed it and we are also saying the states that have passed it also should be swift and tactical about the implementation.

“Most importantly, we are working with young men within our communities in 16 states in Nigeria to end violence against women, to speak up against female gentile mutilation, to also show leadership in term of consent.
“Consent is a key issue that we are not talking about in this part of the world”, he noted.

Meanwhile, in their different reactions, some of the beneficiaries at the workshop applauded YOUTHHUB Africa for giving them the opportunity to benefit from the workshop.

Charles Onyenwkere described the workshop as a well thought out plan to help the youths who have the zeal to defend women and girls to do so to any point necessary.

While Nnamdi Akpa said after the workshop, he has come to know the importance of consent before any sexual relationship with any woman as well as the right steps to take in order to assist victims of sexual based violence.

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