In a significant revelation made during a recent comprehensive workshop in Umuahia, Abia State, the Data Manager at the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Mr Sunday Agbakaba, shared alarming statistics pertaining to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) within the Nigerian context. Spanning the period between 2020 and October 2023, a staggering total of 27,698 cases of SGBV were reported through the utilization of the GBV National Dashboard, shedding light on the distressing prevalence of these incidents.

Digging deeper into the multifaceted dataset, Agbakaba disclosed that these reported cases encompassed 1,145 fatal incidents. Equally noteworthy, within this timeframe, legal proceedings resulted in the conviction of 393 perpetrators, albeit addressing only a fraction of the reported cases. The dashboard, a groundbreaking initiative, meticulously highlighted 9,636 ongoing cases, 3,432 newly reported cases, 1,741 cases successfully resolved, and 1,895 cases under continuous follow-up.

Emphasizing the instrumental role of the dashboard, Agbakaba underscored its pivotal function as a real-time monitoring mechanism, diligently tracking and visualizing the diverse occurrences of GBV across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The comprehensive platform aims to significantly bolster and streamline SGBV reporting mechanisms, thereby fostering a more robust response to combatting this prevalent societal issue.

Interestingly, Abia State emerged with 92 reported cases, of which four were fatal, positioning it at the lower spectrum of the GBV national dashboard, though acknowledging the challenges within the state’s landscape.

Amidst the deliberations, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Ohanenye, passionately stressed the urgency of heightened reporting to ensure stringent prosecution against perpetrators. She expressed concerns regarding the suppression of such cases within religious or traditional confines, firmly asserting the imperative nature of addressing rape as a criminal offense through established legal procedures.

In alignment with Mrs Ohanenye’s sentiments, the Abia Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Ngozi Felix, accentuated the prevailing prevalence of gender-based violence within the state. She lauded the unwavering support of Governor Alex Otti and his wife in championing initiatives focused on empowering women.

Felix fervently advocated for increased political commitment to effectively combat GBV, acknowledging the imperative to dismantle the pervasive culture of silence enveloping these heinous crimes. She ardently pushed for the formulation of cohesive structures among stakeholders, enabling consistent and concerted efforts in addressing this critical societal issue.

The collaborative workshop, jointly orchestrated by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the Office of the Wife of the Abia Governor, and the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, saw enthusiastic participation from a diverse array of stakeholders, including representatives from Civil Society Organizations, Community-Based Organizations, and law enforcement agencies, signaling a unified and collective effort to tackle this pressing societal challenge head-on.