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30 states in Nigeria enact laws prohibiting gender-based violence – Fayemi

Fayemi at 58: From eminence to pre-eminence

A total of 30 out of 36 states in Nigeria have enacted laws prohibiting gender based violence, chairman of governors forum and Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi has said.

This is a good development considering that there were only 14 states with gender-based laws as at early 2020.

Gender-based violence, which is a pervasive issue today, is described as a harmful act perpetrated against a person’s will and as experts say, ending it can increase economic activity and inclusion and assist in achieving United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDG 17) agenda.

Fayemi spoke on the background of education gender inclusiveness and addressing the girl child education last weekend at the centenary celebration of the life of Florence Bamidele Makanjuola (1921 -2021), a teacher, nurse, philanthropist who was great grandmother to Aishah Ahmad, deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Nigerian states are not stopping as penal laws are also being reformed to make it more punitive to discourage gender-based violence, he said.

In addition to efforts to ending gender-based violence to achieve inclusiveness and encourage the girl child education, the governor also underlined the importance of security and safety in schools to make it conducive for studies.

“For us in Ekiti we don’t believe that a boy child should have life of privilege to the detriment of a girl child. Everything we do, whether policy, programmes and laws are geared towards that. That is why we run free and compulsory qualitative education to senior secondary school level,” the governor said.

According to Fayemi, without inclusiveness in education, the society will have a big price to pay. He therefore encouraged individuals, organisations and communities to support the dream of school boys and girls in their communities.

The governor, who spoke on philanthropy, which Mama Makanjuola dedicated her life to, advised, “We must try and live a life of service and a life of sacrifice in our own little way. It does not have to be humongous contribution. Giving is about conviction and about transformation to make a difference in the lives of people around.”

Read also: UNFPA-AUN parnership on gender-based violence initiative will help destroy negative stereotypes – Ndoni

He said though government has the responsibility to provide for the citizens but even with the best intentions, the work never finishes as Government cannot do it all in advancing public good. Fayemi encouraged the audience to emulate the life Florence Makanjuola who died on May 13, 2021 few months to her 100 years of December 18, 2021.

“Mama Makanjuola spent her life for humanity. She demonstrated that all of us can be warriors of hope even in despondent situation t and we can be instrument of peace and soldiers of trust and pioneers of philanthropy in our own ways”. She created Opekete Charity Foundation as a platform to formalise her lifelong philanthropic activities.

Also speaking at the event where eminent personalities including Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, Oba Enoch Ademola Akinyemi Oyoyo 11, the Owaooye of Imesi-Ile, religious leaders and other personalities where in attendance, Aishah Ahmad said the challenge of investing in girl child education is something everyone should get involved . “There is a lot we can do that we are not aware of. It is as simple as looking at your community and giving opportunity to those that cannot afford education. Help families fund the education of their children not just the girls,” she said.

Providing more insights on the importance of education inclusiveness, the panellists at the forum who discussed the topic said Nigeria’s myriad of challenges can be mitigated if women who form over 49 percent of the population are carried along.

Nike Akerele-De Souza, co-founder, Teach for Nigeria Human Capital/Social Impact specialist said gender parity in education is critical to nation development as education promotes peace and productivity. Mairo Mandra, Senior Fellow at Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, said level of education determines disease control.

Ola Brown, Founder, Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company, and Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, Managing Director, Infographics believed that when more women are educated, the economy will grow faster and derive maximum benefits.

In his speech, the chairman of the occasion, Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi who is also the chairman of MTN Foundation described Florence Makanjuola as a mentor who followed the principle of inspiring others.