The United Nations on Tuesday expressed concerns over the spate of Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria, estimating that during the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the country recorded over 3,600 rape cases nationwide.
The UN also said it was committed to continuing the cooperation with the Ministry of Women Affairs to strengthen the availability of data on violence against women and girls.
The Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, stated this during the launch of the Violence Against Women and Girls Situation Room – Spotlight Initiative.
The programme which was jointly organised by the European Union, UN and Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development allows decision-makers and programme managers to analyse and view GBV data in real-time.
Amina Mohammed said the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative aims to create a Nigeria where all women and girls, particularly those most vulnerable, live a life free from violence and harmful practices.
She said, “The need for this initiative has perhaps never been as evident as amid the COVID – 19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world including Nigeria. The Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, has stated that the number of rapes has increased by three times compared to the previous level. During the lockdown, each state in Nigeria has reported over 100 rape cases, equalling over 3,600 rape cases nationwide.
“This points to a shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls on top of the Coronavirus pandemic, and calls for all actors to come together and take urgent action to protect the rights of women and girls.
“One of the key priorities of the Spotlight Initiative is to enhance data availability and capacities. There has previously been paucity of data related to Violence Against Women and Girls, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Harmful Practices and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
“The main existing data sources are fragmented with poor coordination of the data collection process, often lack disaggregated data for vulnerable groups and disaggregation beyond state level, have small samples and are not widely disseminated.
“The National Violence Against Women and Girls Situation Room is an innovative data management and visualization platform which uses technology to enable government, decision-makers and program managers view and analyse data with ease.”
Also, the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development, Otunba Adewunmi Onanuga, representing Ikenne/Sagamu/Remo/North, called for united action against gender-based violence in Nigeria.