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Poverty, Poor Parenting, Fuelling SGBV in FCT- AEIG

Andrew Tarker, Abuja

Poverty, poor parenting, indecent dressing, parents shying away from giving their children sexual education, rape for rituals, disrespect from women, delay in the preparation of meals, use of drugs, lack of education and proper awareness are fueling incidence of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), according to a community scorecard developed on community responses to the menace.

Others are bad behaviour of some people in treating their spouses, lack of self-control, infidelity from the woman, bad manner of approach, insecurity on the side of men and lack of trust by both parties (Spouses).

The Community scorecard conducted by Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls- (AEIG), a non-profit organisation, was done in five (5) selected communities with high incidence of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence across four FCT Area Councils as well as the performance of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in addressing the issues of sexual violence in the Bwari Area Council, where it is located in the Territory.

Presenting the scorecard yesterday, in Abuja, AEIG Executive Director,Mrs. Mayowa Akpati, explained that three communities in suburbs, and two in villages were selected from four (4) out of the six Area Councils namely: Kurudu and Karmo communities in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC); Bwari Township, a suburb that houses the Aywetu Sexual Assault Referral Center in Bwari Area Council; Yewuti village in Kwali Area Council; and Pebeyi Village in Gwagwalada Area Council.

Akpati added that in each of the communities, there were 5 five phases in developing and implementing the community scorecard.

According to her, objectives of the community scorecard were; to assess community members’ perception and experience of the Traditional Justice System in responding to SGBV; and get the community members and traditional leaders involved in joint decision making and planning process in improving responses as well as promote awareness, transparency, participation, accountability, and responsivity in curbing the incidence of SGBV in FCT especially at the grassroots.

She noted that there is a huge gap in knowledge of what sexual and gender-based violence is and in recognizing some forms of SGBV as violence, as most of the people engaged sees violence as a social norm that they have to live with.

“A dialogue amongst community members and their leaders to deliberate on findings and proffer solutions on how to fill the gaps identified. In doing this, most government and non-government agencies that respond to SGBV were invited to be part of these critical interface that has the potential to change the narrative in these communities.

“The interface was conducted for each community and at almost every point, the Social welfare department of each Area Council, National Human Right Commission, National Agency for The Prohibition Against Trafficking in Persons, Nigeria Police and CSOs were present. Each interface started with an overview of the community scorecard in the community, then the traditional leaders and SARC Team (service providers) presented their priority issues and scoring, followed by representatives of each focus group (Service users).

“They presented their scoring based on the indicators developed from the priority issues they came up with, stating reasons for their scores. Both parties identified challenges, agree on priority issues, and came up with action plan on what has to be done urgently to curb SGBV in their communities”, she explained.

Similarly, the Founder and Board member of AEIG, Mrs. Abiodun Essiet, who described the community scorecard as an eye opening, interesting and shocking experience, said community members and the traditional leaders alike needs thorough sensitisation of all forms of violence and the right ways they are to be handled.

“Traditional leaders need thorough training; disabusing their minds of norms and culture that tolerates SGBV, as well as, furnishing them with the legal ways of handling SGBV, referral system, record keeping and sensitisation.

“There is need to encourage synergy amongst institutions responding to SGBV at the local and state level to ensure effective response to cases of SGBV. So much work needs to be done, the action plan raised in each community is a way to start”.

AEIG, is one of the ten organisations selected as implementing partners of a two-year project in FCT titled: “Promoting the Rights of Original Inhabitants of FCT”, through Resource Center for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), with support from MacArthur Foundation.

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