Each time I listen to the song “Ekwueme”, I’m jolted by the story of Osinachi Nwachukwu, a Nigerian
gospel artist who tragically lost her life due to gender-based violence in-spite of her contributions to the
socio-economic development of Nigeria. According to a 2013 World Health Organization study, more
than 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual partner violence or non-partner
. Although women are mostly at the receiving end, men aren’t exempted from the effect
of GBV. This essay seeks to define some terminologies, explore the effects of GBV on the socio-
economic development of Nigeria, list some examples and vulnerable groups, and proffer sustainable
measures to curb the menace.
Definition of terms
Gender based violence (GBV) refers to harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender
rooted in gender inequality, abuse of power and harmful norms1
Socio-economic development is the process of social and economic development in a society measured
with indicators such as GDP, life expectancy, literacy and levels of employment2
Examples of GBV
*Female genital mutilation
*Trafficking for sex or slavery
*Intimate partner violence
*Sexual, emotional or psychological violence4
Most vulnerable groups
*People with disability
How Gender Based Violence affects Nigeria’s socio-economic development
In Northern Nigeria where early child marriage is prevalent, young girls are exposed to early pregnancy.
With their pelvic bones unable to expel babies during delivery, complications results in fistula. Nigeria
records about 20,000 new cases of fistula each year, which is 40% of global index5
. This condition limits
the productive workforce of women, impacts upon the nations GDP and denies young girls of education.
A recent report by USAID reveals that a total of $60 million is spent maintaining the VVF centre6
implies that budget to improve infrastructure and settle the ASUU crises will be re-channelled for VVF
treatment thereby, increasing the cost of governance. Child marriage also halts the wholesome
development of the girl child. Many girls who should have studied and contributed to the economic
development of the country become dropouts with aborted dreams.
In addition, female genital mutilation is a leading cause of maternal death, infertility, loss of sexual
pleasure and infections in Nigeria, which ranks first globally7
. Infertility limits the nation’s population
growth while premature death of seasoned female lawyers, doctors, and architects denies Nigeria from
reaping productively from these professionals. The loss of sexual pleasure in many marriages is a
leading cause of divorce. This separation makes it difficult for families to pool resources towards child
training, business establishments and national development.
According to CIRDDOC, Nigerian women play important roles in food and agriculture to the extent that
women smallholder farmers constitute 70-80% of the nation’s labour force8
. When subjected to GBV, it
prevents them from contributing towards the actualization of food security.
Furthermore, Nigeria has continued to loss tax revenue because of trafficking for sex and slavery. In
2021 for instance, NAPTIP reportedly identified 434 victims (135 forced labour and 299-sex trafficking)
as well as 321 potential victims9
. If these victims had remained in Nigeria, they should have engaged in
fruitful businesses while paying tax to the government. Instead, the fake beckon of juicy opportunities
abroad lures them into prostitution and slavery in foreign lands where they remit taxes.
Sexual, emotional and psychological violence causes trauma within the work place. From my
observation teaching mathematics at a local school in my community, I noticed that married teachers
often transfer aggressions onto pupils through unnecessary floggings and punishments. Since sexual
issues aren’t readily discussed in public among many Nigerians, I believe mental instability fuels the
actions of my teaching colleagues.
Sport plays an important role in projecting a nation’s image. With many athletes from Nigeria suffering
silently under the influence of GBV coupled with their inability to speak out for fear of public ridicule, they
become mentally unstable to cultivate the right mind-set capable of steering them to win laurels for the
In Nigeria, victims of rape or girls who refuse forced marriages are often subjected to honour killing for
bringing shame to their families. Such an act is barbaric because it terminates the future of promising
girls and boys, taints the image of the country and reduces the available working population.
Intimate partner violence makes many Nigerians to forgo income and employment opportunities. Some
partners even go an extra mile to tarnish the image of their partners and facilitate their layoff from
service. This practice is mostly directed towards men.
Finally, Gender based violence creates barriers to economic growth. When people are sick and suffering
from physical injuries, it prevents them from leveraging upon opportunities for individual and national
Curbing Gender Based violence
*Religious, traditional and community leaders should educate their followers about the root causes of
GBV and adopt preventive measures.
*The educational curriculum should accommodate topics related to GBV to groom future Nigerians with
*Child marriages, female genital mutilation and honour killing though rooted in many cultures, should be
abolished immediately to preserve the life of every Nigerian.
*Safety havens where victims can be treated and allowed to recover from GBV should be provided
across the country. Such centres should also provide services for men who out of fear of public ridicule
remain silent despite suffering GBV.
*The mental health of every Nigerian should become a priority for all.
*GBV detection apps should be used to assist disadvantaged Nigerians.
*Women should participate in civic societies.
*Content creators should avoid producing works that promotes GBV.
*Role models should be encouraged to drive anti-GBV campaigns.
*As a measure of last resort, government at all levels should implement and enforce laws that
7. Okeke, TC; Anyaechie, USB; Ezenyeaku, CCK (2012-01-01). “An overview of female genital
mutilation in Nigeria”. Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research.2(1):70-3