Yobe State urges men and boys to stand for gender equality

Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A HeForShe champion signing  the commitment board
A HeForShe champion signing the commitment board

On 12 December 2018, the Governor of Yobe State, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Gaidam led the state launch of the HeForShe campaign in Damaturu and pledged to step up for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in Yobe state.

The HeForShe launch event in Yobe State brought together  over 150 stakeholders drawn from different sectors including traditional and religious leaders, the  police,  the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, media and other men to commit towards supporting gender equality and mobilizing men and boys as change agents and gender advocates across all sectors.

HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality initiated by UN Women. It aims at engaging men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.

The event was organized  by the Yobe State Ministry of Women Affairs and UN Women, in partnership with Search for Common Ground, under the “Protection, Empowerment and Resilience Building of Women in the North East Nigeria  (PERD)” project with funding support from the Government of Japan.

The Yobe State Government under the leadership His Excellency, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Gaidam is the fourth  state government to launch the HeForShe campaign after Adamawa, Gombe and Plateau States. In his commitment statement, the governor underlined efforts by the state to advance gender equality by declaring that: “ My state will continue to support women and girls. It’s the right thing to do” .

Addressing the gathering on behalf of the UN Women Country Representative, Ms. Lilian Unaegbu, in charge of the North East Nigeria operations of UN Women,  reiterated that gender equality requires all of us to work together. “ We just concluded the 16Days of activism against gender-based violence, and it is clear that there can be no peace without ending violence against women and girls. So when you see something, speak up! Take action!”

The state Police Commissioner, Mr. Abdulmaliki Sumonu  disclosed at the event that the signing of the State Penal Code Amendment Law 2018, which prescribed punishment for rape, kidnapping and unnatural offenses has led to a significant drop in the number of reported rape cases in the state.

Other highlights from the event included;- online commitments by male attendees, which resulted in more than 80 men committing to gender equality on the HeforShe website, whilst   more than 60 men signed up on the HeforShe commitment white board. Other activities included the presentation of a dance drama on the importance of women’s empowerment and gender equality by Yobe the State Arts and Culture troupe; and the sharing of goodwill messages from representatives of UN agencies, governments, traditional and religious institutions.  

The launch of the HeforShe campaign in Yobe State is an integral part of efforts to build and expand the coalition of committed men and women working to promote the rights of women and girls in Yobe State. The campaign will contribute to building an inclusive and gender-responsive foundation for recovery and peacebuilding in the state, following almost a decade of the Boko Haram insurgency, which has had a particularly brutalizing effect of women and girls in North East Nigeria.