Nigeria: Nollywood Stars Fight Sexual Violence With 'Speak Up'

"Speak Up", a serial drama addressing sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) is set to begin production.

The series sponsored by Patriot Foundation will feature Nollywood stars such as Monalisa Chinda, Chuck Cyke, Steve Eboh among others, and also pave the way for newer stars.

Over 200 practising and fledgling artists turned up for the auditions held recently in Abuja.

Speaking at the audition, serial director and producer, Chris Oge-Kalu, noted that the production was a fallout of the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and relevant Nigerian institutes last year on the way forward to curb the increased sexual and GBV resulting from the global lockdown.

He said, "After the COVID-19 pandemic, there was the report that cases of sexual and gender-based violence increased due to the lockdown and people found themselves staying together for too long resulting in violation of the vulnerable people who fall amongst women, male and female teenagers and children. There was therefore the need to create a model to be on ground to effectively fight the menace.

He said in line with the committee formed by the relevant institutes including the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Ministry of Women Affairs, Legal Aid Council, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nigerian Police, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Person (NAPTIP) and the media, the foundation came up with the concept of addressing the menace via films.

"Our target audience are the people on the receiving end to be able to speak up at all times as against the African tradition that discourages disclosure, since it is believed that when your child is sexually molested it becomes a reason for societal stigmatsation.

"We are moved purely out of patriotism and love for one's country," said Patriot Foundation's chairman, Adamu Musa Adams.

Adams who is also the CEO of Patriot TV said his group was moved purely out of patriotism to give back to the society.

"We reckon that the best thing we can do is to educate the people. With adequate information, people will be well guided. When people know that a proactive joint task force is keenly watching, and commensurate punishment will be given for such actions, the increasing rate of sexual and gender-based violence will drop," he said,

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