FIC Report (Abia State) – The Wife of Abia State Governor, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu has been presented with an Award by the United Kingdom for making a laudable difference in the fight against Gender-Based Violence.
The Award by the UK Department for Foreign and Commonwealth Development, through its Agency, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy was presented to Mrs. Ikpeazu in a ceremony.
Also presented to Mrs. Ikpeazu was the Policy Brief on VAPP Implementation in Abia State.
According to the Programmes Co-ordinator, Westminster Foundation, Shola Folayan, the UK Agency had done a 3-month focal study on the implementation of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law in Abia reviewed the performance indices of the State in addressing Gender-Based Violence and the Wife of the Governor’s role.
The findings according to her revealed that Mrs. Ikpeazu had done exceedingly well in providing much-needed leadership and impetus which had led to Abia’s high-performance indices.
The report outlined visible structures put in place in the state by Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu to provide a system of prevention, response and support for survivors of gender-based violence.
Responding, Mrs. Ikpeazu thanked the UK Government and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy for the Award, saying the honour is inspiring and will spur her to do a lot more.
Mrs. Ikpeazu revealed plans to set up trainings for the Community GBV Watch Committees to improve their capacity to identify and respond to cases of gender based violence in the rural communities, adding that more family courts will be created to provide greater access to justice.
“Getting successful litigations and conclusions to trials have been a major problem in our state as well as in other places. This has often been so because of reluctance on the part of survivors to carry on with the case. Behind this reluctance is a hidden avalanche of pressure by family members, society, even politicians who pressure victims to abandon cases”, Mrs. Ikpeazu.
She dedicated the Award to the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, key stakeholders in the Government Ministries and Agencies, her staff on the GBV project, the CSOs and other players.
Chief Press Secretary to the Wife of the Governor Chika Ojiegbe, who also functions as the Technical Lead Abia State, described the award as well deserved because Mrs. Ikpeazu has provided proactive leadership and had introduced several initiatives.
“Recall that last year the Westminster Foundation had released a report that rated Abia as one of the top three states in the country in the implementation of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law. The Award presented to the First Lady now further asserts that leading position.
She is the driver of what we do in the GBV space. A lot of initiatives are attributable to her including the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law, the setting up of a GBV Resource Centre in Umuahia and GBV Incidence Reporting Offices in the 17 LGAs, the establishment of Community GBV Watch committees, the strengthening of the gender desk at state Police Command with her support, the creation of more family courts, the establishment of two shelters for vulnerable people in Aba and Umuahia as well as the inauguration of several bodies that are active in prevention and protection of women and girls from abuse and violence,” Mr. Ojiegbe said.
“She has empowered thousands of women and still empowering more, providing livelihoods, economic skills, startup capitals, encouraging small businesses, mentoring young girls and building over 160 houses mostly for indigent women”.
Also contributing, Mr. Raymond Chima Ukwa who is the Response Lead and Coordinator of the GBV Action Committee said various enduring structures have been put in place courtesy of the wife of Governor and that plans to set up a sexual assault referral centre has reached advance stages.
Mr. Ukwa said the GBV Resource Centre in the state under the directives of the wife of the Governor had produced procedures and manuals to guide the GBV Response and Mitigation and that the dissemination of the documents to stakeholders will commence soon.
The ceremony which was a hybrid event had in attendance the wife of the Deputy Governor Mrs. Vivien Oko Chukwu, Special advisers to the Governor on Diaspora, Dr. Mrs Ngozi Ogbonna Erondu, Programmes and Initiatives, Dr. Edith Nwosu, Principal Secretary office of Wife of Governor Mrs. Love Ezema, Executive Secretary of the State Planning Commission Dr. Nnenna Chikezie, acting Permanent Secretary Ministry of Women Affairs Rev Jane Omereonye and Members of the State Action Committee and Technical Committee on GBV, the Lead Consultant for Westminster Foundation, Mrs. Bunmi Dipo Salami, the Abia Expert of Westminster Foundation, Mrs. Mary Ikoku, and the Abia GBV Response Lead who doubles as Coordinator of the Abia GBV Action Committee, Mr. Raymond Chima Ukwa.