Church leaders under the leadership of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) in collaboration with UNICEF have commenced a campaign in six states of Nigeria for an end to violence against women and girls.
The Council said the present campaign project focuses on Sokoto, Adamawa, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos, Ebonyi, and the Cross River States. Speaking during a press conference as part of activities commencing the campaign against violations of women and girls rights, the President, Christian Council of Nigeria, who is also the Vice President of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA), Most Rev Benebo Fubara-Manuel, said their focus was the rural dwellers, adding that women and girls must be protected by the religious leaders.
“Today, we kick-off a week of sensitisation in the Federal Capital Territory beginning from today, July 14 through July 18, 2021. CCN has joined this collaboration because we realize that violence against Women and Girls is not what the churches or faith-based organizations alone can solve; it calls for multilateral efforts and initiatives and every form of support is a move in the right direction.
“We believe that his collaboration will assist many non-religious persons to discern clearly how they have been trapped in the same declining culture and do all that they can to stop this evil.
“The Christian Council of Nigeria is the oldest Protestant ecumenical body in Nigeria but now stands as one of the five families that make up the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). CCN was founded in 1929 in Nigeria and properly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. It brings together many of the historic denominations in Nigeria including The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Methodist Church Nigeria, the Nigerian Baptist Convention, the Salvation Army, the First African Church, the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, the United Evangelical Church (Qua Iboe Church), the Church of the Lord (Prayer Fellowship), the African Methodist Episcopalian Zion Church, the African Episcopal Church, the Community of Christ Fellowship and the First African Gospel Mission Church,” Fubara-Manuel said.
While stating that they are supported in the campaign by the Students’ Christian Movement as one of their most active associate members, he said over 50 million Christians in Nigeria under the name and the Church groups have collaboration with UNICEF on the UN-EU spotlight initiative towards ending violence against women and girls.
“For us and for UNICEF, this is in furtherance of our previous collective effort between 2017 and 2019 in ending violence against children with the support of USAID and the European Union,” the clergy added.
Not convinced that the governments of the nations of the world are sufficiently tackling the challenges with respect to violence against women and girls, he said it was clear that Nigeria is not winning in the battle.
“But it should win. We have all it takes to have a secure country and to end all forms of violence especially that against women and girls. The political and social systems are not skewed in their favour but rather against them.
“The religious systems worsen their plight even when claiming to be the agents of liberation. We regret all these and set ourselves on the path of change. We commit, therefore, to directly, personally, and communally opposing all systems of marginalization that we have inherited or set up or that we are presently designing or setting up. We commit to promoting practices and establishing institutions that would allow women and girls to flourish in all ways – spiritually, physically, sexually, emotionally, and psychologically,” Fubara-Manuel said of the campaign.
On his part, the chairman of CCN, Adams Mutuwa, said violence against women and girls is as old as humanity. He said they were determined as religious leaders to end the menace through engagement with members of the church that are also policymakers.
“We are targeting six states in the first phase and we will reach the grassroots. After we completed the campaign in the pilot states, the sensitisation will continue,” Mutuwa stated.