Wives of state governors under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum on Monday decried the worsening security situation across the country, even as they also expressed concern with the rate of poverty, joblessness among Nigerians among other social ills. The wives of the states chief executive, have therefore declared their readiness to work with their husbands, in their respective states to tackle the alarming headlong.
The chairman of the forum, Bisi Fayemi, who is the wife of the Ekiti State Governor, disclosed this while addressing newsmen at the end of a meeting at the Nigerian Governors’ Forum Secretariat in Abuja, to appraise the work of Governors Wives Against Gender Base Violence (GBV), year after it was created in the wake of increase in gender based violence occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
According to Mrs. Fayemi, “We are concerned about the security situation and the impact it has on women and children.
“We are also concerned about the job crises in the country which is gradually consuming a whole lot of young people.
“We are also concerned about the poverty that a lot of women face especially in the rural communities.”
She said members of the forum were committed to supporting their respective state governments in making sure that they work alongside their husbands to improve the quality of lives of citizens.
“We, as wives, mothers and First Ladies, will do whatever we can in support of our husbands to ensure we bridge the gap and play whatever role we can mostly behind the scene to ensure that the quality of life of our people will be much better.”
The chairman of the governors wives forum disclosed that as a result of the forum’s lobbying and advocacy, 27 states in Nigeria have domesticated the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, compared to 14 last year when the advocacy started.
According to Mrs. Fayemi, “In June 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of us first ladies in Nigeria came together and decided to start a project looking at gender based violence. That was when we started the working group known as Nigerian Governors Wives Against Gender Based Violence.
“Our objective at the time, was to draw attention to the way in which gender based violence had become a pandemic in and of itself, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the first things we did, as governors wives, at that time, was to convince our husbands at the Nigerian Governors Forum to declare a state of emergency on gender based violence.
On the 10th of June 2020, the state of emergency was declared. And what this meant was that the governors decided to go back to their respective states and prioritise the issue of laws, policies and resources that were required to mitigate gender based violence in the country.
“I’m pleased to report that one year after the state of emergency was declared against gender based violence in Nigeria, significant progress has been made across the country, largely due to the efforts of first ladies who have worked assiduously, advocating, lobbying, providing resources and ensuring that advocacy and awareness, which is down to grassroots community.
“Since we started in June 30, for example, there were only 14 states in Nigeria, who had domesticated the Violence Against Persons Prohibition act, as if April this year, at least 27 states in Nigeria have domesticated the VAPP Act. This goes to show that the work that we have been doing together a governors wives has been effective, and that we have made an impact in our states and in our various communities.”
Earlier, before the meeting went into closed door, the Director-General of the NGF, Asishana Okauru, assured that the secretariat was willing to partner with the Governors’ Wives Forum to create enabling policy environment for improved maternal health.
He said, “Nigeria has one of the worst maternal mortality ratios. This is unacceptable as no woman should lose her life in the course of bringing a new life to the world.
“Each maternal death should mandatorily be reported whenever and wherever they occur; reviewed as to possible causes of the death and there has to be an institutional response designed to implement appropriate measures to mitigate future occurrences.
“The secretariat has a resource centre and the requisite expertise to provide support in seeking and securing assistance to any First Lady interested in pursuing this.”
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By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye,