FIDA: For Better Economy, Treat Women’s Health with Priority

Kuni Tyessi, Abuja

The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), has stated that women’s health must be treated with utmost seriousness, bearing in mind that no economy can move forward without the impact of its female population.

It said the effect of trafficking of girls and women, which has been on the rise, has led to inevitable concerns as most victims get to their destinations with physical, mental and psychological injuries.

The Programme Officer, FIDA Nigeria, Ifeanyi Iloba, who revealed this in Abuja recently, said over 70,000 African victims of women trafficking are Nigerian women who are usually psychologically and physically imbalanced, accounting for over 70 per cent, with Italy usually the targeted destination.

Speaking on the theme “Prevention and elimination of violence against women in Nigeria”, at the training of law enforcement agencies in understanding and putting to effective use the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, Iloba said human trafficking is the third most common crime in Nigeria after drug trafficking and economic fraud, with 90 per cent of the affected being migrants.

He said preventive approaches to mitigate incidence of gender based violence in Nigeria include beat patrols, anti- vice squads, stop, detain and search and community policing, among others.

He said: “Factors underlying violence against women and their entire well being include male dominance and control, power hierarchies, anti social personality disorder, harmful use of alcohol, lower levels of education, community norms that privilege or ascribe higher status to men and lower status to women.

“Others are low levels of women’s access to paid employment, marital discord and dissatisfaction, difficulties in communication between partners, gender inequality in education, access to employment, economic and property rights freedom to marry as well as divorce.”

Programme Manager, FIDA Nigeria, Subomi Chukwu, said global statistics as documented by the United Nations, shows that violence against women and girls affects one in three women in their lifetime and 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and or sexual intimate partner violence or non partner sexual violence.

She further added that “globally, seven per cent of women have been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner and as many as 38 per cent of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner, while over 200 million have experienced female genital mutilation, among other unhealthy practices against women.”

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