The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, on Thursday, tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to prioritise investment in food production to scale back hunger and fast-track economic well-being of the people, especially women and girls.
Ayokunle, who spoke at CAN’s launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Abuja, expressed worry over the extent of hunger within the land, warning that the country might experience a season of sexual exploitation and abuse of girls and girls, if urgent steps weren’t taken.
Rather than paying hypocrisy to women emancipation, he said practical means must be explored to deal with their economic and social needs in safe spaces freed from violence and abuse.
He said, “Economic challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak posed a significant threat to young women’s work and commercial activity and exposed them to increased risk of exploitation and abuse.
“We observed that higher levels of food insecurity and hunger led women and men to exchange food for sex. So, we urge the govt to try to to more to scale back hunger within the land, which can help to fight gender based violence in Nigeria.”
He described the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence by the govt and stakeholders as a welcome development, adding that; “There may be a need for this campaign to be stepped down at zonal, state and native government levels across the country.
“There is additionally a requirement to proportion prevention efforts that address unequal gender power relations as a root explanation for gender-based violence.”
Against that backdrop, Ayokunle urged the govt , the religion leaders and therefore the civil society to collaborate in designating safe spaces (physical and online) for ladies where they will report abuse without alerting the perpetrators.
CAN charged religious leaders to line up disciplinary measures against gender-based violence occurring in their circles.
“Religious leaders who are the religion actors should see themselves as major stakeholders within the campaign against gender based violence. they ought to use their platforms to debate problems with gender based violence in their organisations,” he added.
Among faith leaders present at the event was the Chief Imam of Apo Juma’at Mosque Abuja, Alhaji Nura Khalid, who involved religious tolerance, mutual respect and cooperation within the fight against gender-based violence and other challenges heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Others notable clerics present include: Rev. Gideon Shagba, Apostle Nyeneime Andy, Rev. Dr. Testimony Onifade, Elder Biodun Sanyaolu, Magistrate J.K. Atoyebi, the representatives of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), amongst others.
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