The Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, on Tuesday said that Gender-based Violence is an obstacle to Nigeria’s developmental process.
In Abuja, at the Launch of the Guideline on Gender-Based Violence and Young Persons in Nigeria, Mr. Odinkalu said the guidelines became imperative because it is evident that Nigerians are nonchalant in addressing issues of Gender Based Violence.
The human rights chief said Gender- based Violence is a human rights violation because it leaves its victims struggling with profound indignity. He also explained that patterns of GBV have advanced to unimaginable patterns especially with the advent of terrorism.
“The lives destroyed by gender-based violence are the lives of our children; the future being destroyed is the future of our race. If we follow up this launch with self-congratulations and do nothing with these guidelines, we’ll be failing the victims and survivors for whom, ultimately, these guidelines should bring succour,” Mr. Odinkalu said.
Lamenting the almost nonexistence and poor resources for social departments, Mr. Odinkalu said at the commission for instance, young women- the most affected population- are violated because they are female and are denied access to remedies because they have been violated.
He said Nigerian’s standard of response to violence against women and young persons is ineffective.
“When children or young persons report it, we prefer to live in denial or not to believe them. The standard African wisdom that it takes a village to raise a child seems to break down at its point of contact with the reality of gender-based violence,” he said.
He said people continue to commit these attrocities in Nigeria because they are usually not prosecuted or held accountable and they know the society tolerates it especially with the lack of skills and resources suffered by law and enforcement agencies in their to response to reports of Gender Based Violence.
He also stressed the need for families and schools to nurture and protect children and young persons – major victims of violence.
Congratulating the President, Women Arise for Change, Joe Okei-Odumakin, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and other partners, Mr. Odinkalu said effective means of disseminating the guidelines must be developed.
Also, Mr. Odinakalu said the commission will issue a report on election-related violence in Nigeria ahead of the 2015 general elections.