The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Abia, on Friday began a nationwide campaign against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Abia.
The campaign with the theme, “Collective We Fight, Speak out,” took off in Umuahia South Local Government Area of the state.
The NYSC Director-General, Maj.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, said that it was the second phase of the Grassroots Gender Sensitisation and Advocacy Campaign of the scheme.
The director-general, who was represented by Mr Denis Jingi, the NYSC Coordinator in Abia, said the campaign was taking place simultaneously in rural communities across the Southern States.
Ibrahim said the campaign was an initiative of the Reforms Unit of NYSC, implemented on the platform of, ‘ Corps Gender Vanguards,’ with aims to expose the ills of GBV.
He said: “We are here to emphasise that no individual: Man, woman, boy or girl, should be denied the opportunity to realise their potentials.
“We are appealing to the conscience of community leaders, religious institutions, local government administrators, principals, guidance and counselling officers, corps employers and parents to be more supportive, proactive and sensitive to gender matters.”
The Head, Reforms Unit of NYSC, Mr Abdullahi Baba, thanked the director-general for expressly granting approval for the event despite other competing demands for scarce resources.
Baba, who was represented by Mrs Chizube Ogbonna-Agomoh, the NYSC Gender Desk Officer and Umuahia South Local Government Inspector, said the NYSC had been at the fore front in fighting the course of gender inequality.
According to him, the scheme has been doing this through the instrumentality of the Corps Gender Vanguards with the aim of exposing the ills of GBV.
Mrs Uche Nwokocha, the Coordinator of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abia, said the commission would support the campaign to fight against GBV in the state.
Nwokocha, who delivered a lecture on human rights, urged the participants that consisted mainly of school children, to speak up whenever their rights were being abused.
Nwokocha, a lawyer, explained, ” all forms of violence against women, including rape, incest, coercion, forceful ejection from home and female genital mutilation, among others.”
Mrs Nkemdirim Okafor, the Coordinator of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Abia, said the agency had been going round the rural communities in the state to sensitise the people against all forms of violence.
She urged the people to report to the police or other relevant agencies whenever their rights were being abused.
Obilugwu 1 of Ngodo, Eze Stephen Ihuoma, who is also the Chairman, Umuahia South Council of Traditional Rulers, urged that all hands must be on deck to fight the menace of GBV.
He advised children, especially girls to be very careful, to avoid being abused sexually.
“As you are growing, respect yourself so that you will be useful to yourself, your family and the society,” he cautioned.
Mrs Patience Nwokolo, the NYSC Umuahia Zonal Inspector, took time to interpret the different inscriptions against GBV on the placards being displayed by students.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by traditional leaders, religious leaders, students and officials of the local government. (NAN)