Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) has said that abduction of pupils, especially females, in the Northern part of the country is eroding gains made in the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
Speaking yesterday at a two-day training on Gender-Responsive Budgeting and Advocacy organised by WARDC with support from United Nations (UN) and European Union Spotlight Initiative (EUSI), the Project Officer, WARDC, Evelyn Ugbe, regretted that kidnapping of pupils, which became prominent in 2014 with the abduction of over 300 Chibok girls, “has become a culture.”
Attacks on schools also led many state authorities, including those in Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Niger, and Zamfara states, to order the closure of boarding schools.
Ugbe observed that if the menace continued unabated, part of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is the elimination of all forms of violence against women in public and private spheres, might not be achieved.
She said: “Abduction of schoolgirls is another form of violence against women.”
There are some extremist philosophies that condemn education and we all know the benefit of education. An educated woman would not subject herself to violence but would train and raise educated children.
“Educated children means educated generation and that also means a transformed society, which in turn threatens unequal power balance. If more people are knowledgeable, they would challenge the system. The implication for Nigeria is that the incessant attacks are affecting the progress made in achieving global commitments at the SDGs.”
Noting that the prevalent of GBV is worse than the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), the Civil Society Organisation (CSO) noted that recent abductions were having a huge impact on education in Nigeria.
She called for improved financial support for policies put in place to eliminate GBV and harmful practices against women.
“What we are doing is empowering women’s movement for them to push the government at the national and state levels to increase financial backing for women. For instance, without a Victims Support Fund (VSF), the Violence Against Person (Prohibition) Act is better on paper; hence, there is a need to have a strong and sustained financial backing to make the policies reality,” Ugbe added.