Sexual Violence: NGO urges students to break culture of silence

A Non-Governmental Organisation, Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls, has carried out sensitisation programme on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) at Government Secondary School, Kawu, ìn Bwari Area Council of the FCT.

Essiet, the Executive Director of the organisaion, stated this in Abuja.

She said that the sensitisation, which also coincided with a seminar, was all about  encouraging the students to speak out against SGBV and break the culture of silence.

She said that the idea to sensitise the students was also aimed at raising student ambassadors that would champion the campaign against SGBV within the school premises and the immediate environment.

According to her, cases of SGBV is prevalent in the rural communities, as well as high schools, and that there is need to sensitise students to guide against the menace within the school premises and the society.

Students of Government Secondary School Kawu, Bwari Area Council (BAC) listening to lectures on SGBV

“We felt that SGBV is an issue that should be discussed within the schools premises, where we feel the issue also occured; we are here to sensitise the students about the menace, to break the culture of silence.

“In case they are having these issues in their home or within the school premises, they will know what to do to get attention and rescue.

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“We are also using this medium to raise SGBV ambassadors of both men and women within the high schools. They will be ambassadors to talk about issues of SGBV.

“They will also be the team members that will be working with our organisaion to drive the sensitisation on, they will be the one to call our attention anytime this issues arise.

“They need to be exposed to happenings around SGBV because it could happen in their homes, communities; they must know that it is a bad thing, they must be able to speak out and not to be silent towards it,” Essiet stressed.

The Executive Director, who disclosed that the NGO planned to visit a school in the six area council of the FCT especially in the interior part of the council, added that schools in the city centre were already having knowledge about SGBV.

According to her, people in the rural areas are not paying much attention to SGBV issues hence the plan for the visit because the NGO has discovered from its baseline studies that everyone is affected in one way or the other.

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Essiet said that her organisaion had received so many calls about SGBV within the school premises which also necessitated the need to bring the campaign down to the schools to checkmate and address it.

She, however, called on government agencies like the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and National Orientation Agency (NOA) to do more in the area of sensitising young Nigerians to SGBV.

She also called for creation of Save Space Centre in all schools where young ambassadors could reach out to people pertaining the right thing on SGBV, adding that the NGO would continue to sensitise Nigerians to SGBV.

The Principal of the school, Mr Abiaziem Ikechukwu who was represented by the Vice Principal Administration, Mr Sabi Ishaya, appreciated the NGO for bringing the campaign against SGBV to the school.

According to him, the knowledge obtained by the students during the sensitisation/seminar would surely impact on the students on how to go about SGBV.

“There has not been any cases of SGBV, but we have a similar issue where a girl entered into early marriage. I have told other girls not to look into that direction,  and that the girl in question might regret it.

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“Marrying at tender age could spread VVF and this is very bad, I am happy for this limelight that has been brought to the students.

 “I plead with this organisation to carry on with this campaign to other schools; all what is said here is common in some schools where teachers do have carnal knowledge of some students,” he said.

A student of the school, Abu Salome, who is the Head Girl, also appreciated the NGO for the lecture, adding that she had leant a lot from the lectures.

She promised to speak out whenever she came across such situation in the school by first of all reporting to the teachers and the school principals.

Salome,  who disclosed that there had not been any case of SGBV in their school, stated that if the teachers and principal did not handle the case very well, she would report directly to the NGO. (NAN)

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