Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has expressed optimism on the drastic reduction of Gender based violence, GBV due to the engagement of traditional and religious leaders in the country.

He made this known in Abuja while speaking at a 2-Day Summit organised by the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development, with the theme: Moving from Awareness to Action.

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo represented by the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen  admonished the traditional and religious leaders to ensure that the Child Right Act is domesticated in the 10 remaining States,  and commended the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ad, and other development partners for taking the initiative to get the traditional and religious leaders of the North on board in  the fight against GBV.

The Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ad, who doubles as Chairman of the Summit charged traditional rulers and religious leaders of the North to among other things, set the rules to ensure that the girl-child is safe and secured in their communities; strengthen alliances and networks; identify champions among themselves to encourage and influence people in their communities.

According to him, the summit was aimed that identifying the strategic role of traditional rulers as custodians of customs and values which places a demand on them to agree on innovative roles to be employed to end all forms of harmful practices associated with GBV.

He further advised Government to establish and fund at least one Gender based violence resettlement centre in each of the Geo political zones to respond to cases of GBV.

The Deputy Secretary, United Nations, Amina Muhammed explained that they were increase in early marriage, forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other forms of violence as a result of COVID 19 pandemic.

She further called on all traditional and religious leaders to condemn practices that do not give equal rights to women and encouraged them to lend their voice to fight against GBV in their spheres of influence.

The Chairperson, Northern Governors Wives Forum, Hadiza Isma El-rufai appealed to religious leaders and traditional rulers to balance their message to their subjects.

The 2-Day summit is expected to chart a course of action through resolutions, and compact commitment by all leaders.