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By Jenis Irmiya Manni
July 27, 2020 / Gombe Nigeria

The global community has been hit hard in an unprecedented way by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Nigeria as a country and its people are not exempt. This, despite tremendous efforts through the  Nigerian Centre for Disease control, (NCDC) in trying to halt the spread from climaxing and getting vast, by promoting the adherence to preventive measures put in place. The ravaging effects of the pandemic on the country is practically seen and immensely felt by everyone, especially in the northeastern region as it affects our socio-economic lives already made difficult by our embattled economy.  

As the outbreak intensifies, Nigeria’s services, trade and financial sectors of the economy  suffer significant disruptions and breakdowns, which has led to job losses, unharnessed human labor, closure of industries, factories, and schools. In addition, there are traveling restrictions, stoppage of imports and exports, and businesses in both the private and public sectors of the formal and informal job markets. This is a severe blow and poses a threat to instability in the country as youth unemployment/underemployment is already high. These factors are cultivating conditions for discontent and social unrest in several communities. Overwhelming financial instability, limited access to social safety nets, job opportunities, and relief aid has also posed a threat to the peaceful coexistence of Nigerians, like the recent killings of locals and communal clashes in southern Kaduna, and in urban centers where incidences of corruption, looting, home banditry and armed robbery has risen as a result of poverty.

This health pandemic has has also triggered more cases of sexual violence, including cases of rape, sexual abuse, exploitation and manipulations mostly faced by the girlchild. Recently seen in the media in Nigeria are cases especially in the northern part of the country, like the recent allegation of a man who raped a 3-month-old baby in Adogi village of Nasarawa state in May who was later arrested by the Nigerian Civil Defense Corp, NSCDC, Nasarawa state. Similar to that is the allegation of the rape of a 12-year old girl whose family was poor by a 57 year old man in Jigawa state. This led to the arrest of 11 others who have been having sex with the same girl for about two months by luring her with money as little as ₦30 to ₦50 naira (less than a dime in the US).

Violence against health workers due to serious stress levels that the pandemic places on patients. Stigma is faced by patients and their relatives from health personnel and society due to fear of the unknown from the devastating virus.  While the Government urgently needs to intensify efforts to reach out to its people, Doris Adamu leads the effort inside the Women Arise Collective for Nigeria to inspire and mobilize women and additional faith leaders so that people do all within their power to end the virus.

As the nation faces this collective threat, your support is needed to help activate new and existing systems at the local levels, so that prevention of sexual violence and its lasting effects become priority in the hardest hit areas. You can help with a gift as small as $10. Donate now.

Irmiya Jenis Manni is the son of Doris Adamu, director of strategy and content for the Women Arise Collective in Nigeria.