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SGBV: NGO educates students, calls for end to culture of silence

By Ruth Oketunde

The Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has urged students to end the
culture of silence when faced with any form of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

The Executive Director of the organisation, Mrs Abiodun Essiet, gave the advice at a sensitisation seminar, organised for students of
Government Secondary School, Gwagwalada in Abuja.

Essiet, who was represented by Josephine Emeghoghena, the Project Officer of the organisation, said the seminar was to motivate the
students to speak out against SGBV and break the culture of silence.

She explained that the sensitisation was also aimed at increasing student ambassadors willing to champion the campaign against SGBV
in schools, homes and their various communities.

She added that “we intend to achieve a society where there will be minimal stories of sexual and gender based violence at home, in schools and
in our communities.

“We also intend to curb cases of bullying in schools, as we want the students to take the message home, their classrooms and we want them
to be watch-dog for us.

“We have selected Anti-SGBV ambassadors in this school and their mandate is to report such cases to us and we will know how to follow up from there.

“To the parents, we want them to watch out what their children are doing, watch who they mingle with, what they watch on their phones and so on.

“Do not leave it to teachers alone, let them see you as their friend, so that they can feel free to open up to you,” she said.

On his part, Mr Anze Vincent, the Vice-Principal, Administration of the school, appreciated the NGO for bringing the sensitisation to the students.

He urged the students to take the message learnt to their colleagues and friends at home.

He said “don’t allow anybody to jeopardise your life; nobody should influence you to do what will endanger your life because it will remain a stigma in your life.

“You can also help someone else by reporting whatever you see, do not be afraid to speak out,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that five Anti-SGBV ambassadors were appointed at the end of the sensitisation.

Miss Afodia Allahnana, one of the ambassadors who spoke with NAN, said the seminar had made her bold to speak out against sexual and gender-based violence.

She thanked the NGO for bringing the awareness to students of the school.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu