By Bukar Bolori
The wife of the Borno state Governor, Dr. Falmata Zulum on Friday in order to rid the state of street hawking empowered 405 mothers of girl-child hawkers.
The women were carefully selected from Maiduguri metropolis and Jere local government areas of the state.
Speaking during the empowerment programme in Maiduguri, Dr. Zulum said the gesture is in commemoration of “16 Days Of Activism ” against gender based violence.
She said the girl-child street hawkers whose mothers have been empowered with grinding machines and starter packs , were equally enrolled at various schools close to their homes.
She added that the girls would be monitored from time to time to assess their performance in schools.
Zulum said: “The “16 Days of Activism” against gender based violence which commenced from the 25th November to 10th of December every year is an international campaign to challenge all sorts of violence against women and girls.
“The 2020 global “16 Days of Activism” is a call to action to end destructive impact of gender based violence in communities.”
She lamented that: “Gender based violence often go unpunished because of culture of silence and fear of stigmatization. And for girls and women to report such an act requires courage and resilience to reveal the attack. I am appealing to our lawmakers to enact the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act which is an Act that prohibits all sorts of violence against persons in private and public life, and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders. “
She noted that Northeast geopolitical zone accounts for the highest prevalence of gender based violence because of the lingering Boko Haram insurgency, stressing that the empowering of the 405 mothers of streets hawkers and enrolment of their daughters in schools is in commemoration of the ” 16 Days of Activism.”
She disclosed that the beneficiaries were selected from the 15 wards of Maiduguri metropolis and 12 wards of Jere local government area of the state.
The Borno state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zoura Gambo, who also spoke at the occasion, noted that between three to four months, the state recorded 25 cases of gender based violence resulting from rape, with six convictions recorded.
She said the ministry is liaising with the necessary government and non-governmental organisations to ensure that the right of any woman, girl or even boy are not tampered with as a result of gender based violence.
She said: “Many have gone to prison and we have encouraged the women to have a bond with their daughters so that they can speak up because, their daughters are closest to them.
“Basically, what we have are cases of rape and that is why we want to remove these girls from the streets. When they go out to hawk , they stay as late as 7pm to 8pm and mostly at corners, where they are usually abused and raped.
“Roughly, at least in the last three to four months, we have had about 25 cases of rape and six convictions.”