Prominent stakeholders are rallying for immediate and strategic action to combat the alarming surge in incidents of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) within Gombe State.
On Tuesday, in Gombe, a pivotal one-day symposium on SGBV convened by the Association of Non-governmental Organizations (ANGO), Gombe State, in partnership with the Organization of Progressive Women in Nigeria (OPWIN), brought together experts, advocates, and thought leaders to address this escalating crisis.
Ibrahim Yusuf, Chairman of ANGO, highlighted his apprehension regarding the unsettling upsurge of SGBV cases in the state. He pinpointed the absence of proactive measures taken by the government and stakeholders as a driving factor behind this disconcerting trend.
Yusuf emphasized the imperative of a collective approach, underscoring the purpose of the conference: to facilitate a collaborative discourse among key stakeholders, aiming to formulate sustainable solutions to curb the SGBV menace.
Gombe State, among the states marked by elevated instances of SGBV, warranted heightened concern from stakeholders. Yusuf asserted, "Reported incidents of SGBV are spiraling in Gombe State, surpassing even the gravity of a pandemic. We implore the state government to declare a state of emergency to tackle this pressing issue, as was highlighted earlier by stakeholders."
He called for a multifaceted approach encompassing various levels of society to raise awareness about the detriments of SGBV, its underlying causes, far-reaching repercussions, and available support systems. He stressed the indispensable roles of educational institutions and places of worship in spearheading these awareness campaigns.
Yusuf underscored the necessity of reinforcing the legal framework and mechanisms for law enforcement to ensure the culpability of SGBV offenders. He pressed for sufficient funding from the state government to empower Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) entrusted with handling SGBV cases to ensure the pursuit of justice to its logical end.
Adaline Patari, Director of the Gombe State chapter of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), made a fervent plea to all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to eradicate this menace. She emphasized the urgency of collective action in creating a safer environment for the vulnerable segments of society, particularly children and women.