No fewer than 4,000 cases of Gender-Based Violence were recorded in Benue State in 2023 alone.
Some of the associated cases include rape, spousal abuse, child abandonment, trafficking of persons, denial of resources, and psychological/emotional abuse.
The State Epidemiologist/State Project Coordinator of COPREP, Dr. Terungwa Ngishe, disclosed this on Thursday in his opening remarks at the occasion of signing the Memorandum of Understanding 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 and the Ministry of Health and Human Resources alongside other partners drawn from the Police, NAPTIP, Civil Defense, the Nigeria Bar Association, and the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Benue State chapter.
The project coordinator said that there is a possibility that the figure could rise to 8,000 in the near future following the awareness that has been created but allayed people’s fears over the possible rise in the figure.
He explained that the awareness of gender-based violence became glaringly noticeable during the lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020.
He said, “In Benue State, we have over 4,000 recorded cases of gender-based violence, and this figure is before all the interventions we are implementing now.
“Before now, traditional rulers, who are custodians of culture, have been brushing these cases under the carpet, and there is every possibility that this figure could rise to 8,000 soon.
“The reason for this is the awareness that is being created, and when this happens, you don’t need to panic.”
Also, the program 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.
According to her, “During the 2020 lockdown, there were over 500 cases of violent acts reported between August and September 2020.
“Last year, 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 maiming, mental instabilities, deaths, and discord in the communities.
She suggested the need to work together to eliminate gender-based violence and promote the human rights of women and girls in the State.
The signing of the MoU was to assist the two ministries and their partners in delivering on the expectations of the partnership, which is to prevent and respond to GBV cases in a human rights approach based on local, national, and international best practices and protocols
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