The Global Initiative for the Development and Care of Women and Youths (GIDCOWAY), a non-governmental organization, organized a march as part of its participation in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The event, themed “Together We Unite! No Excuse for Violence,” kicked off from Oakland Hotel and proceeded to New Haven Market.
A diverse group of participants, including representatives from organizations like the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), the Ministry of Children, Gender Affairs and Social Development, and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), alongside market leaders, sported T-shirts and carried placards with various messages.
Ngozi Eboh, the Executive Director of GIDCOWAY, explained that the road march aimed to raise awareness among traders, market women, and the public about the importance of speaking out against gender-based violence.
Eboh criticized certain women groups, citing Umuada as an example, for engaging in GBV against fellow women and widows through culturally insensitive practices. She highlighted instances where grieving widows were subjected to distressing rituals, such as being forced to drink water used in bathing their late husbands’ corpses.
Mrs. Esther Mbah, the Director of Gender Affairs at the Enugu State Ministry of Children, Gender Affairs & Social Development, affirmed Enugu State’s zero tolerance for GBV and pledged strong support to organizations dedicated to eliminating the issue in the state.
Emmanuel Amaechi Nwatu, PRO of NSCDC Enugu State Command, Maureen Atuonwu, Zonal Director of NAN, and Hon. Ofumbo Onyebuchi, Chairman of New Haven Market Traders Association, all united in calling for an end to violence against women and girls. Barr Angela Nchedo Adili, a former Social Secretary of NBA Oji River and a human rights activist, commended the road sensitization as a positive step toward understanding the available protection and government support against any form of violence.
Adili emphasized the government’s commitment to citizen protection through the enactment of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law. She urged citizens to speak out to safeguard their lives and well-being, highlighting the importance of mental and social balance. Recognizing the efforts of the state’s first lady, Mbah, Adili stressed the collective responsibility to ensure that Enugu State becomes free from gender-based violence.