Abuja, November 27: The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, on Tuesday called on the National Assembly to pass the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill, Sexual Offences bill and other anti-discriminatory bills before the expiration of the 7th assembly.
This is just as the United States Embassy in Nigeria disclosed that about 80 million Nigerian women and girls are victims of gender-based violence, new agency All Africa Reported.
A statement from the embassy noted that many nations had passed the legislation addressing gender-based violence and urged the Nigerian Senate to pass the bill which was passed by the House of Representatives in March 2013, noting that the proposed law would empower all parties to work together on its implementation in order to increase accountability and address impunity.
The minister made this call in Abuja, during a press briefing in commemoration of the 2014 International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, themed: "From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence."
She also said that economic, social and cultural issues relating to gender inequalities must be addressed, as it could encourage gender-based violence and at the same time make women and girls vulnerable.
According to Maina, there had been a long standing failure to protect women from gender-based violence and discrimination, hence the advocy for thepassage of these bills which propose stiffer penalties for offenders and protection victims.
She added that her ministry, in line with its mandate of advocating for the prevention of violence against women, sought collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), development partners and other Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDA), to address these issues of gender-based violence in the country.
She noted that although, gender-based violence was rarely reported, the last two decades have witnessed increased documentation of the problem in which responses such as legal reform on gender-based violence, family and criminal law have been enacted.
Meanwhile, Charge d'Affaires, ad interim, United States Embassy to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Maria Brewer, said approximately 80 million Nigerian women and girls are victims of gender-based violence.
Brewer in her global call to action against the problem, said ending the global epidemic would require collective action.
"We must recognise that gender-based violence is, at its root, a manifestation of the relatively low status of women and girls around the world. When women and girls can live free from violence and are given equal opportunities in education, healthcare, employment, and political participation, they lift up their families, their communities, and their nations and act as agents of change," she stated.