By Martin Nwoko

A Non Governmental Organization (NGO) Alliances for Africa (AFA) in collaboration with members of Imo State Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, has called for an end to all forms of violence against women and children in the state. The group made this disclosure during a press conference held recently in Owerri to find a lasting solution to the rising cases of violence against women and children who are described as the most vulnerable group in the society.

It was revealed that members of the Imo State Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, which was established after a two- day capacity Training organized by Alliances for Africa (AFA) with support from the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) called on all relevant institutions to support the efforts of the committee in making Imo State free from violence against women/ girls and children. The Committee is proposing to embark on a massive state and Community awareness outreaches in the 27 LGAs and 640 wards in Imo State to advocate for an end to violence against women and children; an end to culture of silence; develop Imo State Directory on institutions working on women and girls. In addition, it will design a centralized framework for effective data collection on violence and advocate for operational legal framework to support access to justice and redress where need arises.

The group noted with dismay that the State government has not effectively addressed the issues of Violence against women and children with state security and human rights issues getting very worrisome. It further stressed that there is need for mass awareness campaign and outreaches in the State whereby everyone must be involved, it therefore called on the churches, media, government etc to support their efforts in reducing to the barest minimum the high rate of all forms of violence against women and children.

The NGO stated that, it is in collaboration with some institutions; National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIT), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Security Agency (Police), FIDA, Child Protection Network. In addition, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development and Civil Society Organizations are working on women and girls issues towards putting an end to violence against women and children in the state.

Speaking further at the briefing, the Program Manager of Alliances for Africa Mrs Blessing Azubuike hinted that the Committee is calling for regulation and oversight of all institutions responsible for women, girls and Children, effectiveness of legislation , establishment of special police unit across Imo state to be responsible for all cases of gender- based violence , maintain state level sensitization, coordination and policy making, establishment of state special offences court and many other demands.