By Christian Njoku
Calabar – The European Union (EU) in collaboration with the United Nation (UN) is set to combat violence against women and girls in Cross River.
Mrs Patience Ekeba, a Spotlight Team Member and official of UN Women, disclosed this during a two-day workshop on the initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls on Tuesday in Calabar.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Spotlight Initiative is a four year programme aimed at supporting the transformation to end violence against women and girls and harmful traditional practices in numerous countries globally.
Ekeoba said the initiative would build on some programmes that were already existing in the state like the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM) by the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA).
According to Ekeoba, the initiative would stand on six pillars which include; legislative and policy framework, strengthening institutions, prevention and social norms, delivery of quality essential services, data availability and capacity and supporting women’s movements.
“We want to build institutions that can handle situations when they arise, prevent violence against women and provide services like empowerment of women.
“We want to see that legislative framework in line with international human rights standards on violence against women and girls and harmful practices are in place and are translated into action.
“The vision of the initiative is a Nigeria where all women and girls are free from violence and harmful practices,’’ she said.
In his remarks, an official of UNFPA, Mr Yinka Akiba said they intended to work closely with the state ministries of women Affairs, Health, Education, Social Welfare, Youth and Sports and the Police.
Akiba added that it was important to get the record of the number of cases of violence that were reported to the police, how many were charged to court and how many were actually prosecuted.
“The aim of the initiative is to promote behaviors at national, community and individual levels to prevent gender based violence (GBV).
“Also, the programme aims to ensure that services are available, accessible and of high quality for victims and survivors of GBV,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the spotlight initiative will cost 250 million Euros and is being implemented in eight countries in Africa: Nigeria, Liberia, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe Uganda and Mali.
Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the project will be carried out in six pilot states of Lagos, Cross River, Sokoto, Adamawa, Ebonyi and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).