Press Release

United Against Violence: Urgent Call for Action on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Nigeria

Every year, the global community unites to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a crucial initiative by the United Nations aimed at spotlighting the urgent need to end all forms of violence against women and girls worldwide.

Despite strides in inclusive policies and legal protocols to safeguard women’s rights, Nigerian women continue to grapple with a myriad of challenges linked to gender inequality, including alarming rates of death, poverty, and politic al disenfranchisement. Shockingly, one in every three Nigerian women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence, according to UN report.

Sexual and Gender-based violence, harmful widowhood practices, spousal abandonment, economic inequality, child marriage, female genital mutilation, and discriminatory employment practices and other vices, persist as pervasive issues. Furthermore, Nigeria ranks 123 out of 146 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index, highlighting a significant regression in female representation in leadership.

Women’s rights are fundamental human rights, as recognized by the United Nations. While the Nigerian Constitution emphasizes gender equality and non-discrimination, women continue to face injustices and marginalization due to discriminatory laws, cultural norms, gender stereotypes, low education levels, and the disproportionate impact of poverty.

In alignment with this year’s theme, “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls,” we strongly advocate for the urgent passage and domestication of the Violence against Persons Prohibition bill in Kano, Katsina, and Zamfara states. This legislation needs to be comprehensive and reflective of the unique challenges faced by the people.

Additionally, we call for funding and increased support for the establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCs). While 20 out of 36 states have established SARCs, the rising number of cases necessitates more funding commitment from state governments to ensure these centres can provide essential, urgent, and lifesaving services, free of charge.

The critical role of SARCs in bridging service delivery gaps for the vulnerable cannot be overstated. We urge state governments to commit to funding, replicating, and sustaining SARC services. Existing SARCs require direct resources to operate effectively, and states without one must commit to establishing these essential centres.

To further increase government support to the promotion of women against all forms of violence, we therefore call on the Federal government;

  • To mandate states to adopt, legislate, domesticate and enforce the Maputo protocol and all legal instruments that protect and promote women’s rights including the affirmative action.
  • To enforce fully all the provisions enshrined in the VAPP and provide a gender sensitive budget for its smooth running
  • To ensure that the VAPP Law  at the national level, is comprehensive and integrates current trends and patterns of violence as well as provisions for access to essential services for survivors, timeline for administration of justice, a regulatory agency.
  • To establish the Agency for the prohibition of sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria, with a multi-sectoral committee comprising of Ministry of Women Affairs, departments and agencies, law enforcement agencies, civil society organizations, and cascaded down to the state level.
  • To establish functional Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) and shelter homes with a comprehensive unit to render immediate medical treatment, psycho-social services and forensic medical examination services by specially trained doctors and midwives (who prepare reports that are admissible as evidence where appropriate) to aid the reintegration of survivors into the society. The structure, must be replicated in every state, with headquarter in Abuja
  • To create an active Federal GBV rapid response team that will see to the provision of immediate survivor centered services.

We call on the government, to increase investments in preventing violence against women and girls. The implementation of these aforementioned recommendations will serve as a step towards creating a safer, more equal and prosperous world.


Bassey Bassey

Executive Director, HipCity Innovation Centre


About HipCity:

HipCity Innovation Centre, is a research, development and advocacy organization, with a focus to support everyone especially youths have the right mind-set to create wealth through skills, coexist, value human rights, respect the rule of law, realise their full potential, and meaningfully become tools for positive sustainable development.