Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs has said that failure to tackle violence against women and girls may lead to substantial economic loss estimated at two to eight per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in the country.
The minister said this on Tuesday during a virtual meeting of state commissioners and permanent secretaries of women affairs on eliminating violence against women and girls across the country.
According to her, despite existing laws and policies on sexual and other forms of violence, cases of GBV increased during the covid-19 pandemic.
She therefore called on state governments to identify risk factors and make swift interventions to address the menace.
“Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is not just a human rights issue, but a moral imperative and failure to invest in tackling this menace could lead to substantial social and economic loss estimated at two to eight per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“There is also a growing evidence base to demonstrate that preventing violence can promote economic growth, human dignity, a just and egalitarian society,’’ she said.
The minister noted that the meeting, sponsored by the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative would enable participants to discuss various response services, laws and other mechanisms by each state to respond to the various forms of violence against women and girls.
She said, “The discussion will help us assess the level of response and access the level of response and access to justice in state in addition to supporting effective planning and budgeting for violence against women, children and people with disabilities.’’
She, therefore, appealed to state governments to engage youths on various government intervention programes that would empower them generate income.
Tallen, further disclosed that the ministry, in collaboration with a CSO, Almanah Hope Foundation was also collecting database of widows for effective planning and supports to the less privileged women.
UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria, Ms Comfort Lamptey, reiterated the organisation’s commitment towards ending harmful practices, child marriage and all forms of violence against women and girls in the country.
Lamptey, represented by the National Programme Officer, UNWomen, Ms Patience Ekeoba disclosed that the 16 days activism, would commence November 25 to December 10, themed, “Orange the World: Fund, Response, Prevent, Collect.
First Lady of Ekiti, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi assured the ministry that her state would continue to implement policies that would end all forms of violence against women and girls.
Also, representative, Ministry of Women Affairs in Ebonyi, Ibina Marcillina, said the state is working with security operatives to expand advocacies on GBV and ensure justice prevail in cases recorded.