The Executive Director of Zamani Foundation, Dr. Talatu Zamani-Henry, has raised an alarm over the unabated economic hardship in the country, saying the condition is exacerbating poverty, insecurity, and Gender-Based Violence especially in the Northern part of the country.
With over 23 years of field experience on development advocacy and security intervention up North, Zamani-Henry, is also the National Focal Point for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). She is a PhD holder in Defense and Strategic Studies, and currently pursuing another Doctoral Degree in Peace Studies at the United Nations University for Peace.
In a press statement made available to BONews Service, Zamani-Henry said the growing intensity of banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and as well as rising cases of Gender-based Violence has been repeatedly linked to continued shrinking of economic resources, opportunities, and the struggle for survival.
She was worried that despite overwhelming data showing women and children being the most affected by the negative impacts of all the developmental challenges bedeviling the country, the society has not done enough to assuage the pains.
According to her, the number of out-of-school children in the country, particularly from the Northern region, has continued to skyrocket, adding this is so because of the failure to decisively bring the protracted deadly insecurity and economic crisis to an end.
She said the growing cases of Maternal Mortality in the country is worse in the North because of refusal to invest in quality, accessible and affordable public healthcare institutions for the masses, and buttressed that, “for instance, in our three decades of field intervention, we have repeatedly come face-to-face with everyday experiences of women and children in the core North. Poverty, hunger, sickness, fears, and deaths are the regular occurrence.
“And these are innocent, aspirational but vulnerable people who the society has now conditioned to only thinking of survival safety, instead of chasing their dreams like any other person. These people are mostly women, children, Persons with Disabilities, Aged, and Orphans,” she worried.
Stressing that the issues have been left unattended for so long a time, hence they have festered, Zamani-Henry, said there is need for a permanent and long-term solution beyond the politics.
Particularly on the problems of domestic violence, Gender-based Violence, and economic impoverishment of the women and girl child among others, Zamani-Henry said the time for all the stakeholders to work together in restoring the dignity of the Nigerian womanhood is now.
She said some of the challenges are going to be spotlighted at her organisation’s Annual Women’s Conference slated for March in Kaduna, where over 200 women would be converged to brainstorm, network, trained, and empowered on the best approach to facing some of the problems headlong.
“Education is a fundamental human right of all, so is safety and security, ditto for economic wellbeing and social welfare. As we are making our modest contribution in Zamani Foundation, focusing on the most underserved, there is the need for government and all other stakeholders to demonstrate serious commitment to cutting off the fielders fueling the social problems
“It is time for us to put an end to Domestic and Gender-based Violence. Love is stronger than hate. There is nothing love cannot do, just as there is no wound that love cannot heal. It’s time for everyone to embrace love and shun violence. Say no to Domestic Violence; Financial Violence, Emotional Violence Extramarital Affairs; and any other acts that constitute dangers to your spouse or the children.
“Domestic Violence is a No No. Let us put a stop to Gender-Based Violence. I just ended a case of a man who bartered his wife. She was rushed to the hospital in the pool of her blood. It is not right to be subjecting women to such act. It is always traumatic to see once inseparable lover, loving and caring, suddenly turns beast, inflicting deadly injuries and people they claim they love. Wife Battery is a no. Whatever may have happened along the way, people need reorientation and critical thinking before going into marriage. Marriage is not a walk in the park anymore. It is like an empty box, you have to put in a whole lot more to make it work, mostly characterized by love. Because love is bigger than everything else,”
Zamani Foundation was established 30 years ago as a not-for-profit, non-governmental, and non-religious interventionist programme through advocacy to institutionalize global best practices in political, legal, religious, and traditional practices as part of efforts to enhance human rights and standards of living of ordinary and vulnerable members of the society.
The organisation’s thematic areas include Security and Safety, Rights Advocacy, Conflict Resolution, Education for all, Economic and Vocational Empowerment, marriage counselling and dispute resolution, among others.