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FG working on gender-inclusive budget –Minister

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Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba, said the Federal Government is working on attaining a gender-responsive budget.

Agba gave the assurance in a joint press statement of the Government/EU/UN Spotlight Initiative issued on Thursday in Yola.

The statement was jointly made by Mrs. Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs and Youths Development and leadership of EU, UN and Spotlight Initiative in Nigeria.

They were recently in Yola on a high-level field monitoring of programmes in the state.

According to the Agba, the government was `very much’ committed to the prioritisation of gender issues.

”Federal Government is continuously working on attaining a gender-responsive budget and gender inclusiveness in government plans and actions including in public appointments.

“We must also work on strengthening coordination mechanisms across the 36 states and the major thematic areas because it is this effective coordination that will support sustainable results.

“I would like to acknowledge the contributions of the EU /UN joint Spotlight Initiative in fostering transformative change and instituting meaningful milestones around the elimination of violence against women and girls”. Agba said.

In her statement, Tallen said the ministry was aware of the vulnerability of Nigerian women.

“The increasing reports of Gender-Based Violence cases are a testimony to this.

“On our part, we are working passionately to address the issues and we are doing this from all angles.

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“Our goal is to put in place the necessary legal frameworks and policies that protect women and girls and raise awareness on negative social norms.

“Our aim is to create a Nigeria that is safe for every woman and every girl.

“Some of the big milestones of the Ministry of Women Affairs in the last few months is the establishment of a GBV Data situation room in the 36 states of Nigeria”. Tallen said.

She said the situation room was a digital tool that supports the State Ministries of Women Affairs to collect and transmit real-time data that will facilitate a timely response.

According to her, the GBV situation room is a model for data collection in Nigeria and beyond.

She noted that access to justice for survivors was one area that should be collectively paid close attention to.

“I would like to advocate for the establishment of a Special Court that will summarily prosecute offenders without delay.

“I will also ask that the state standardises its temporary shelter for women victims of abuse or build one if this does not exist.

“On my part, I want to commit the Ministry of Women Affairs to lead on this change that we are seeking for women”. she said.

Similarly, Samuela Isopi, European Union Ambassador and Head of EU Delegation in Nigeria, said the Spotlight Initiative was a global multi-year partnership between the EU, UN and participating national governments.

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Isopi explained that the core target of the joint initiative meant to address the issue of gender-based violence not only in Nigeria but around the world.

“In Nigeria, the initiative has been working to build a momentum that drives attention to the scale of the problem as well as to catalyze sustainable actions that can address significant bottlenecks.

“I want to congratulate the team here in Adamawa for the successful implementation of the Spotlight programme so far.

“I note several key achievements, ” like the passage of the VAPP act by the State House of Assembly and its subsequent assent into law by the Adamawa state Governor”. Isopi said.

Also, Matthias Schmale, UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, said that it was clear that the Spotlight Initiative was both traditional and at the same time innovative.

“It is traditional because it aims at addressing basic issues such as strengthening of GBV systems and services.

“This includes activities that raise awareness and enhance access to justice for GBV survivors

“I would like to encourage all our partners in Adamawa state to not only leverage on the solid foundation that has been laid by the Spotlight Initiative, but to also establish strong and sustainable measures that will help in consolidating these gains”. Schmale said.

(NAN)

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