As part of its efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls by 2030, Yiaga Africa has called on governments at federal and state levels to increase budgetary allocations in the 2022 appropriation bills to eradicate gender-based violence in Nigeria.
The Programme Manager, Yiaga Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement, Dr. Ernest Ereke made this known at a Capacity Building Workshop on Gender Responsive Budgeting held as part of implementing the Spotlight Initiative which is supported by the European Union and the United Nations. The two-day workshop which was held in Lagos State had finance and budgeting experts of relevant government agencies from the five states of the federation that the Spotlight Initiative is being implemented in (Adamawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Lagos and Sokoto States) and the Federal Capital Territory as participants.
“We are here to discuss how we can deliberately use the government budget to not just reduce, but entirely eliminate violence against our women and girls. We want to see how we can use the instrumentality of the budget to see if we can reduce the violence against women and girls,” he said.
He emphasized that the workshop would also look at trending analysis on budget allocation to the gender sector from 2019 to 2021 to see if they really addressed the violence against women and girls in the country.
“We are hoping that the budget as far as women and girls are concerned can be improved in 2022. It is a very serious business for us and we want the outcome to give improved budgetary allocations to gender issues especially regarding violence against women and girls. We want to see this reflected in the 2022 appropriation bill that we would be seeing across the federation,” he added.
The Adamawa State Commissioner for Finance and Budget, Dr. Ishaya Dabari, who attended the workshop stated that the Adamawa State government has dedicated 35 percent of its budget for women’s development. He added that the state had also created a ministry of entrepreneurship to ‘‘take care of youth empowerment and upliftment.’’
“When there is a serious development, gender violence especially domestic violence, would be eliminated. This is why we want to make a budget that would carry everybody along while also focusing on job creation,” said Dr Dabari. He noted that the move was to uplift the standards of youths and women in the state, stressing that projects like this are very key to achieving peace in the society.
“We want to train the youths, provide for the women and ensure that everybody is carried along. When people are empowered, they will have resources to bring about peace and orderliness in the society,” he added.
Dr Terfa Abraham, a Consultant from the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), noted that gender-responsive budgeting is not solely for women or girls.
“It is not saying divide the budget equally between men and women; it is budgeting for every person. The aim is to address injustice in every issue pertaining to gender. Gender for one state may be catering for boys between six and 13 years of age while for another state, for youths between 16 and 26,” he said.
Abraham added that while preparing budgets, allocation should be deliberate to determine the required outcomes.
The Senior Program Officer, Yiaga Africa – Centre for Legislative Excellence, Yetunde Bakare, said the workshop would also help improve knowledge and capacity for the participants.
“It will provide parliamentary support to lawmakers to inform legislative actions and more gender-sensitive budgeting in Nigeria,” she said.
She added that the Spotlight Initiative takes a look at mechanisms to be put in place to address sexual and gender-based violence as well as addressing the root causes, noting that one of the growth factors for sexual and gender-based violence is a behavioral issue which makes it necessary to address the social norm.
The Spotlight Initiative in Nigeria is funded by the European Union and the United Nations and aims to support a Nigeria where all women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable, live a life free from violence and harmful practices by addressing the linkages between sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices with related aspects of sexual and reproductive health and rights as a cross-cutting theme.