Mrs Philomena Nneji, Lagos State Coordinator, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), on Thursday called for the protection of vulnerable females against gender-based violence.
Nneji made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, describing gender-based violence as a global phenomenon which required urgent attention.
She called on relevant stakeholders to support the crusade against sexual offences by ensuring the implementation of already existing laws.
“There is no gainsaying that gender-based violence has been on the increase with devastating effects on people; this is very disheartening and worrisome.
“FIDA regards this as an urgent call for action knowing that our core objectives include protection, promotion and preservation of the rights and interests of indigent and vulnerable members of society, especially women and children.
“It is pertinent to note that over the years, FIDA had declared zero tolerance for gender-based and all forms of violence.
“FIDA has been working hard toward ending the criminal act; we are so pained about the horrifying increase in the social menace.
“Precisely, last year after the lockdown, FIDA’s branches marched to the states Houses of Assembly, Government Houses, the Senate and House of Representatives to be proactively responsive through effective implementation of existing laws,’’ Nneji said.
She said the association had been carrying out awareness campaigns in Lagos communities like Alimosho, Ikorodu, Ikeja, Yaba, and Ojodu among others, to nip sexual menace in the bud.
“We have trained paralegals in most of these communities to be of help; we have sensitised and engaged community leaders and their subjects.
“We have reached out to faith-based organisations and schools to enlighten students, teachers and children on their rights, the law and the prevention of the problem,’’ she said.
Nneji added that the association would not relent in the fight against gender-based violence.
The Lagos FIDA coordinator called on governments to reverse the trend through an effective implementation mechanism to enhance the crusade.
“We will not rest over the problem because FIDA is very passionate about women and children.
“Moreover, violence is anachronistic and barbaric as it robs individuals of their fundamental right to dignity, life and liberty,’’ Nneji said. (NAN)