From Msurshima Andrew, Makurdi
Officials of Benue state government has disclosed that about 4,000 cases of Gender Based Violence, (GBV), were recorded in the state in the year 2023.
The State Epidemiologist/State Project Coordinator of COVID-19 Preparedness a d Response Project, (CoPREP), Dr Terungwa Ngishe, who made the disclosure spoke on Thursday, in Makurdi, during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Gender Based Violence/Sexual Exploitation and Abuse/Sexual Harassment in the state.
The MoU was signed between the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Ministry of Health and Human Services alongside their partners the Police, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, (NAPTIP), Civil Defense, Nigeria Bar Association, (NBA) and the International Federation of Women Lawyers, (FIDA), Benue State chapter, to curb the menace.
The CoPREP project coordinator said the figure may rise up to 8,000 if not the awareness been created.
He explained that the awareness of GBV became glaring and noticed during the lockdown occasioned by Covid-19 epidemic in 2020.
According to him, “In Benue state, we have over 4,000 recorded cases of gender based violence and this figure is before all the interventions we are having now.
“He however urged the people to join hands with the state government to nip it in the bud saying the awareness that is being created will go along way to sensitize the people.
In her remarks, the programme consultant, Dooshima Ageh lamented that the incidences of wife battery, emotional abuse and wife estrangement are high.
She listed other incidences to include, children and spousal abuse explaining that “During the 2020 lockdown, there were over 500 cases of violent acts reported between August and September, 2020 alone.
“Last year 2023, 3,841 cases were reported in the State and captured on the Gender Based Violence Dashboard for Benue State.
“These cases include rape, spousal abuse, child abandonment, trafficking of persons, denial of resources, psychological/emotional abuse, battery, stalking, destruction of properties and denial of inheritance rights.”
She added that these violent acts have led to the maiming, mental instabilities, deaths individuals and discord in the communities.
She called for the need for all partners to work together to eliminate gender based violence and promote the human rights of women and girls in the State.
She explained that the signing of the MoU was to assist the two ministries and their partners to deliver on the expectations of the partnership which is to prevent and respond to GBV cases in a human right approach based on local, national and international best practices and protocols.