A senior official of Governor Nasir El-Rufai said at the launch of the United Nations Population Fund’s flagship report, the 2021 State of the World Population Report, that the state government of Kaduna will prioritize the protection of women and girls under existing laws in order to curb the spate of indiscriminate violations of their bodies (UNFPA).
The report, which has been published since 1978, makes extensive research on current issues impacting population and development around the world available to the public.
Mr Sani Dattijo, the governor’s chief of staff, described the report as “timely” on Wednesday, noting that this year’s theme calls global leaders, policymakers, parliaments, and all stakeholders’ attention to the infringement of body rights of half of the world’s population, which is made up of women and girls.
“In matters related to reproduction and sexuality, bodily autonomy means women and girls determine their lives and their future and should have the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion and violence,” Dattijo said.
In the present report, he stated that the government will focus on efficiently addressing the expanding demands of the population of Kaduna state, notably a number of troubling issues contained within.
“There are of course cultural and religious sensitivities that are contained within this report – it is a global report that also carries the consent of other countries and what they term as important. But it is up to us to really prioritise what we feel are the most important development and population issues in Kaduna state, areas that do not go against existing laws of our country,” he said.
He stated that relevant agencies will take prompt action in concert with the planning and budget commission to review the Kaduna Bureau of Statistics’ latest report on the state’s general household. The survey’s findings will help the administration chart a clear path to implementing the areas that are most important to the people of Kaduna state.
“You can see that when we talk about these issues, it is not one size fits all – it is my belief that policy makers, lawmakers and all duty bearers will provide the needed support to implement key recommendations in the report,” he said.
Child marriages, genital mutilation, and domestic abuse were among the key concerns raised in the report.
Over 38% of girls in the state’s Soba Local Government Area are married before they become 15, while over 30% of females in the Kubau and Kudan LGAs are married before they turn 15.
At the zonal level, nearly 32% of girls in Kaduna North Senatorial Zone, 15% in Kaduna Central, and 17% in Kaduna South are married off before the age of 15.
Female genital mutilation is shown to be prevalent in both Makarfi and Giwa LGAs, with 49% in Makarfi and 34% in Giwa.
In the case of domestic abuse, 73% of women in Birnin Gwari LGA and 4% in Zaria LGA believed it was usual for a man to beat a woman.
Abdullahi pledged that relevant ministries, departments, and agencies, including the Ministry of Health, Human Services, and Social Development, as well as the Public Broadcasting Corporation, will thoroughly examine the report and provide a detailed implementation plan for some of the recommendations.
He also challenged traditional and religious leaders, as well as powerful groups in different communities, to push the discussion on gaining bodily autonomy.
SOURCE; THE GUARDIAN