The Chief of Staff Kaduna State, Mr. Muhammad Abdullahi, says the state is set to prioritise the protection of women and girls under existing laws.
This is to curb the spate of indiscriminate violations of their bodies.
He made the remark at the launch of the 2021 State of the World Population Report, a flagship of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The report brings to the public domain, deep research on topical issues that were affecting population and development across the world.
In a statement, Saturday, the chief of staff said in matters relating to reproduction and sexuality, bodily autonomy means that women and girls determine their lives.
He noted that they also had the right to determine their future and should have the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence.
Speaking on the current report, he said that the government would focus on effectively addressing the rising needs of the population of Kaduna State, particularly a number of disturbing issues.
“There are cultural and religious sensitivities that are contained within this report; it is a global report that also carries the consent of other countries and what they term as important.
“It is up to us to really prioritise what we feel are the most important development and population issues in Kaduna State, areas that do not go against existing laws of our country,” he said.
“Immediate action will be taken by relevant agencies in close collaboration with the planning and budget commission to study the recent report by the Kaduna Bureau of Statistics on the general household in the state.
“Government will channel a clear path toward the implementation of the areas that are particularly important to the people of Kaduna State. These issues are not one size fits all.
“It is my belief that policymakers, lawmakers, and all duty bearers will provide the needed support to implement key recommendations in the report.
“Issues of major concern contained in the report bordered on child marriages, genital mutilation, and domestic violence. According to the report over 38 percent of girls in Soba, the Local Government Area of the state get married before the age of 15.
“While over 30 percent of girls in Kubau and Kudan LGAs were also married off before they turn 15 years, “he said.
He said that the report showed that at the zonal level, over 32 percent of girls were married off before age 15 in Kaduna North Senatorial Zone, 15 percent in Kaduna Central, and 17 percent in Kaduna South.
Abdullahi said that the survey equally showed 49 percent prevalence of female genital mutilation in Makarfi LGA and 34 percent in Giwa LGA.
“The report also shows that in the area of domestic violence, 73 percent of women in Birnin Gwari LGA and 0.4 percent in Zaria LGA felt it was normal for a man to beat a woman,’’ he added.
He said that relevant ministries, departments, and agencies, particularly the Ministry of Health, Human Services and Social Development and PBC would study the report closely and provide a clear implementation plan for some of the recommendations.
The Chief of Staff urged traditional and religious leaders, as well as influential groups in various communities to champion the conversation on achieving bodily autonomy.