By Emek Nwokocha
Development Initiative for Community Impact (DICI), on Saturday 2 December, 2023, kicked off a road walk campaign in Warri, tagged, “Prevent violence against Women, Girls and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Delta State,” in continuation of its activities to mark this year’s 16 Days Activism Against Gender-Based violence.
The road walk campaign set off from DICI’s head office, Airport Road, Warri with members of the organisation, members of the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Warri Chapter, Karis Tower Foundation, and Ursula Esiso bearing placards and leading a large procession through Angle Park to Ajamimogha and other major roads in Warri and back to DICI’s head office.
Some of the placards bore inscriptions such as, “Stop Early & Forced Marriage; Violence Against Women & Girls is not a family affair,” “Ensure Security for Women,” “Don’t get Raped,” “Zero Tolerance for Rape,” “Access To Quality Education is our Right,” “Save my Dignity, I am Your Daughter,” “Ensure Security For Women,” and “Imagine A World Free Of Sexual Violence On Women.”
Speaking to journalists, the Executive Director of DICI, Dr. Rachael Misan-Ruppee, said that the activities to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based violence kicked off on 25 Thursday, 2023, noting that the road walk campaign was organised with support from the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND). She called on Delta State government to develop a Multi Sectoral Costed Action Plan to ensure that the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) saddled with responsibility of ending gender-based violence in the state are better funded to be able to carry out their activities and programmes effectively.
She added that increased investment in the fight against gender-based violence would guarantee protection for women, girls and Persons with disabilities (PWDS).
She expressed the need for a collaboration between government and Civil Society Organisarions in the fight against the menace.
She said, “The importance of a collaboration between CSOs/ NGOs and government in ending gender-based violence cannot be overemphasized.”
Speaking, the chairperson of Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Warri Chapter, Mrs. Ogechi Megbele, said, “The campaign aims to sensitize the public, government, and other stakeholders on the need for a unified voice to end gender-based violence.”
She tasked the relevant stakeholders on cooperation in the fight against gender-based violence, saying “We can invest our talents, our resources and time to prevent violence against women and girls and finally eradicate the scourge.”
Continuing, Megbele called on the Delta State government to ensure the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act is activated and made to work effectively. She also charged the government to provide a safe home for the victims of sexual abuse, stating that separating the victims from the environment they were abused is paramount in addressing issues of stigma and traumatic conditions that are the aftermath of an abuse.
“If we come together in unity, we can end violence against women and girls in our communities,” she stated.
Also speaking, Ayo Okotie of Neferock Development Initiative, called on the private sector to join the campaign to end violence against women and girls in society, saying, “It’s an issue that bothers on humanity.”
“Collaborate with the CSOs, NGOs and Governments to win the war against gender-based violence,” she stated.
Speaking, Ursula Esiso stressed the need for men and boys’ participation in the ongoing campaign, noting that the fight against gender-based violence would make a holistic impact when men and boys become part of the drivers of the campaign against the menace in society.
Members of the Delta State Working Group for the Implementation of the VAPP Law also participated in the road walk campaign to prevent violence against Women, Girls and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Delta State.