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YOUTHHUB AFRICA HOLDS FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT TO SENSITIZE YOUTHS ON GBV

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…As Women Minister calls for concerted efforts to fight GBV

BOTHERED by the abrupt increase in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, GBV, a Civil Society of Nigeria, CSO, Youthhub Africa, during the weekend, kicked-off a one-day football tournament for Youths, particularly the male counterpart, as part of moves to create a safer environment for the girl-child in Nigeria.

Speaking during the event, in Abuja, the Administration officer, Youthhub Africa, Shamaki Dalton, said that owing to the fact that men are critical stakeholders in matters concerning GBV, more focus was given to them in order to provide improved knowledge about GBV as a human right violation.

He, however, added that prior to the awareness program, about 60 per cent of young boys have paucity of knowledge on GBV while others see maltreatment of women as a societal norm.

According to him, engaging men is our interest. And because we know that men are the major perpetrators of violence against women, now we know that if you’re able to capture them, we’ll be able to send a message that will really drive home what we are running for.

“So, football is a male business; it is a male game, and because it is that way, we know that using football as a medium to bring men and boys together, and then talk to them while the matches are going on, is a very good avenue to catch them and to engage them.

“I think about 50 or 60% of them didn’t know stuff like violence. Some of them give this disciplinary vibe to women and girls, but with the engagement, they understand again that there are other ways to to engage with women than violence itself”, he added.

On her part, the Minister of Women and Affairs and Social Development, Paullen Tallen, while commending the initiative, said that GBV is fast becoming “one of the evils ravaging the global world today.”

The Minister who was represented by the Ministry’s Principal Committee Development Officer on Gender, PCDO, Julie Akcharia, therefore, called on all critical stakeholders to intensify advocacy efforts against GBV in a bid to ensure a peaceful society for the girl-child.

She said: “Violence against Women and Girls is one of the evil ravaging the global world today. In Nigeria like any other developing nations, the menace is on the ascendency with a quantum leap recorded during the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Violence against women and girls are diverse in nature.

“They are as follows; Domestic violence, Rape and sexual violence, sexual harassment, violence in institutions environment, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, violence in conflict and post conflict situation and killing in the name of honour.

“Having itemized the different types of violence against women and girls, today’s final match and closing ceremony of the football tournament is a wakeup call to all Actors in the fight against violence in FCT to frontally engage and end violence towards creating a society where our mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, nieces and friends will not be afraid to live as girls and women.

She noted that the Ministry remains committed to fighting cases related to GBV and engaging advocacy programs to forestall GBVcases that may likely arise.

Also speaking, a representative from Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, WRAPA, Naima Salihu, said that the tournament initiative was a welcome development and form part of major tools to address the menace of GBV in the society.

She expressed optimism that at the end of the game, the male gender must have been fully grounded on their role in addressing GBV.

Speaking on the sideline of the event, one of the players of the tournament, Chukwuma Okezie, 20, said that the initiative was an eye opener, stating a new orientation of peaceful approach to women has been achieved.

He, however, advised men across Nigerians to be patient with the female counterpart, adding that women should not be looked down on as they play critical roles in the society.

“This event has made me understand that women play a vital role in society and that we as men should give them our support instead of looking down on them. They are also human beings and very delicate at that. So, they are deserving of our patience, love and care for a better society.

“I call on all the men in Nigeria to have a change of heart and show real care and respect to the women not just in Nigeria but all over the world”, Okezie said.

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