We, the undersigned organizations recognize that since the outbreak of the 2019 novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a major mitigation strategy employed by governments worldwide is the imposition of lockdown of economic and social activities in a bid to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.

The various financial stimulus strategies adopted by Governments including moratoriums on economic empowerment interventions are welcome and will go a long way in easing the situation.

However, while the ‘stay-at-home’ order serves to protect families from the disease, it has the tendency to worsen sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women and girls.

Experience from other countries, like China, shows a corresponding rise in the number of women reporting increased incidences of domestic violence. Tensions arising from the economic impact of the lockdown such as reduced income and financial difficulties are contributing to this surge.

Nigeria is currently working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus as well as implementing its responses to the impact of total and partial lockdown across the country.

On 29 March 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the cessation of movement for residents of FCT, Lagos and Ogun State. The President acknowledged that the restrictions will impose hardship on Nigerians but emphasized that the pandemic is a matter of life and death.

In some instances, sexual and gender-based violence is a matter of life and death in Nigeria. Reports and anecdotal evidence from the work of many of the undersigned groups affirm this assertion.

Pre-existing economic hardships, where an estimated ninety-one (91) million citizens live below global daily survival benchmark, is already bad enough. It is only a matter of time that existing forms and prevalence will rise beyond the current index of one-in-three Nigerian women and girls experiencing SGBV in private and public spaces.

We therefore call on Nigeria’s Federal and State Governments to ensure respect of women’s human rights and protection from gender-based violence within the context of the lockdown in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States, and other states in total or partial lockdown. We are also concerned that the President’s speech did not address the issue of gender-based violence during this hard time. There was no mention of the needed measures to monitor and curb the escalation of gender-based violence. Measures that indicate how SGBV victims can access help in the restricted conditions of the lockdown were not included. Essential services and facilities in form of short term (shelters), legal and trauma counselling services when required should be included.

As the nation locks down, and in a bid to prevent the pandemic, it is important that these support and protection services are available and accessible so that women are shielded from the risks of transferred aggression in their homes. Focused sensitization and information on essential services are important for women and other marginalized groups who may be in violent situations arising in family settings, neighborhoods or from the actions or inactions of other state and non- state actors.

From experience, it is our opinion that in these circumstances it will be more difficult for women to seek help or escape from abusive relationships particularly where they live with the abusive partner during the lockdown. Equally worrisome is that children are also open to more violence and will need protection during this period.

In response to these potential risks and challenges, we call on Governments to:

· Designate and strengthen Gender Desks and family support units within police departments and other department of governments;

· Ensure that the family support Unit and Gender Desk are provided with effective telephone hotlines that persons with disabilities and vulnerable citizens can report domestic violence or any other gender-based violence and get immediate help;

· Ensure that within and beyond this COVID 19 crises, support resourcing and access are extended to organizations responding to domestic violence to provide assistance, including shelter, counselling, and legal aid to SGBV survivors;

· Ensure that in the COVID-19 awareness programs on radio and television, targeted information dissemination on gender-based violence prevention is prioritized;

· Direct provision of designated public services, including shelters, to remain open and accessible to vulnerable people during this period as essential services;

· Launch and intensify public enlightenment campaigns aimed at preventing and containing the spread of the virus, including sign language, closed caption and other appropriate means;

· Consult and work with civil society organizations in all initiatives to provide information and services to the public; · Target persons with special needs providing information and resources to alleviate their vulnerabilities especially those needing shelter (IDPs), migrants, refugees, and neurotypical persons;

· Ensure that pregnant women and other women at risk in hospitals and detention centers, who are at higher risk of contagion during this crisis, enjoy appropriate care to address their needs;

Lastly, we call on Nigeria’s Federal and State Governments to monitor and ensure that restrictions taken in the public interest do not result in any gender-specific harm to women and girls who are already extremely vulnerable and at risk of being denied their basic human rights.

SIGNED BY PARTNERS Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)

Saudatu Mahdi (MFR), Secretary General, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA)

Joy Ada Onyesoh (PhD), Country Director, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Nigeria ENDORSED BY THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS/PERSONS:

1. 100 Women Lobby Group, Change Managers International Network

2. Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls

3. Accountability Lab Nigeria

4. ACEP

5. ACP Initiative

6. ACSS Alumni Nigeria Chapter

7. ActionAid Nigeria

8. ACTS Generation GBV

9. Ada Agina-Ude

10. ADEM Community & Human Development Foundation

11. Adinya Arise Foundation (AAF)

12. Adonai Health and Development Foundation (AHADEF)

13. Advocacy Centre for Development

14. Afri Foundation

15. African Citizens’ Initiative for Rights and Development (ACIRD)

16. African Disability Forum

17. African Community Development Initiatives

18. African Women Empowerment Guild

19. African Women Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP)

20. African Women’s Initiative

21. African Women Nigeria

22. African Women Water Sanitation & Hygiene Network (AWWASHNet)

23. Against All Odds Foundation (AGAOF)

24. Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation

25. Akin Fatunke & Co

26. Alauchi Women Development Initiative

27. Alliances for Africa

28. Ambassadors Community Empowerment Organization

29. Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation

30. Association of Aliwe Daughters International

31. Association for Childhood Education Practitioners (ACEP)

32. Association of Nigeria Women Business Network (ANWBN)

33. Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture

34. Ayisha Osori

35. Azuka and Ify Development Foundation

36. BEFA Women and Child Care Foundation

37. BoT Netete Initiative

38. BraveHeart Initiative

39. Bring Back Our Girls

40. CAFSO Women’s Rights Action Group

41. Caring Culture

42. Cece Yara Foundation

43. CedarSeed Foundation

44. CEE-HOPE Nigeria

45. Centre for Advancement of Development Rights (CEADER)

46. Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)

47. Center for Economic Empowerment and Gender Activities (CEEGA)

48. Centre for Media and Development Communication

49. Centre for Media Resources in Development (CEMERDEV)

50. Centre for Social Transformation and Human Development

51. Centre For the Empowerment of Women, Youth Development, Care and Rehabilitation of the Aged (Cewoy Cara)

52. Centre for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN)

53. Centre for Research in Environmental Resource Management

54. Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI)

55. Chikun Women Farmers Association

56. Child Development and Support Initiative

57. Child Education and Crime Eradication Foundation (CECEF)

58. Child Health Organization (CHO)

59. Child to Child Network

60. Children and Adult Empowerment Initiatives (CAADEI)

61. Children and Women’s First International Foundation (CAWFIF)

62. Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR)

63. Civil Society Coalition for Elections

64. CLICE Foundation

65. Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance (CACOBAG)

66. Coalition of Women in Governance

67. Coastal Women Initiative for Business and Human Rights

68. CODAF

69. Collaborative Living and Development Initiative (COLIDEIN)

70. Community Education Advancement of Peace and Development Initiative (CEAPDI)

71. Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR)

72. Community Partners for Development – CPD

73. Community Life Project

74. Community Women’s Right Foundation

75. COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peacebuilding

76. Country Associates Network (CANET)

77. Courageous People Health and Development Initiative

78. Crestville Development Foundation

79. CSR-in-Action 80. Daria Media Foundation

81. Delta State Civil Society for Good Governance

82. Destiny sisters

83. Development in Practice, Gender and Entrepreneurial Initiative (DIPGEI)

84. Development Outreach International

85. Development Research and Synergy Initiative

86. Dinidari Foundation

87. Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC)

88. Donmary Human and Community Enhancement Initiative

89. Dorothy Njemanze Foundation

90. Dynamic Grassroots Women Youth Empowerment Initiatives

91. Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives

92. Elixir Foundation

93. Elizabeth Foundation

94. Emerge Women Development Initiative

95. Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative

96. Environmental and Rural Mediation Center

97. Environmental Conflict Mediation and Women Development Initiative

98. Equality Through Education Foundation (ETEF)

99. EVA

100. FACICP Disability Plus

101. Faith Habila

102. FCT Widows Organisation

103. Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN)

104. Female Drivers Association

105. FEMBUD

106. First Future Leadership

107. Gbolekekro Women Empowerment and Development Organization (GWEDO)

108. Gender Awareness Trust

109. Gender Development Initiative

110. Gender Equality, Peace and Development Centre

111. Gender Justice Network

112. Gender Relevance Initiative Promotion (GRIP)

113. Girl Child Africa

114. Girl Education Rehabilitation and Care (GERAC)

115. Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI)

116. Global Fund for Women Grantees Network, Nigeria

117. Global Initiative for Development and Care of Women and Youth (GIDCOWAY)

118. Global Women for Quality and Sustainable Development Initiative (GWSD)

119. Glorious Women Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited

120. Goggoji Zumunchi Development Initiative (GZDI)

121. Good Care for the Child Development and Support Initiative

122. Grass to Amazing Favour Global foundation (GRAFF)

123. Green Ice Foundation

124. Haj Maisuga Empowerment Foundation

125. Halliru Memorial Youth Development and Empowerment Initiative (AYDI)

126. Haly Hope Foundation

127. Hands to Help International

128. Head High International Organisation

129. Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HEFRON)

130. HEIR Women Development

131. Herfessions Initiative

132. Heroine Women Foundation

133. Hope and Rural Aid Foundation (HARAF)

134. Hope for Coastal Women Empowerment Initiative

135. Hope for New life Organisation

136. Hope for the Hopeless Social Development Foundation

137. Hope-Goodness Empowerment Foundation

138. I am light

139. IN-CSR Gender Advocates

140. Initiatives for Development Empowerment and Sustainability for Africa

141. Initiative for Peace and Stability

142. Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD)

143. Initiative for Visionary Education and Social Support (IVESS)

144. Initiative for Youth and Social Development

145. International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria

146. International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH)

147. IWCC

148. Iyaniwura Children Care Foundation

149. Jewels Hive Initiative (JHI)

150. Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities- JONAPWD

151. Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC)

152. Justice, Peace and Reconciliation (JPRM)

153. Kaduna State Market Association

154. Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre

155. Kidunimirye

156. Khairinnisa’i Foundation

157. Kids & Teens Resource Centre

158. Kronikla & Associates

159. League of Queens International Empowerment

160. League of Women Voters of Nigeria

161. Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women

162. Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP)

163. Let’s Help Foundation

164. Life Bridge and Development Foundation

165. Market Women Association Kaduna State

166. Media Concern Initiative

167. Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Bayelsa (MWAN BYS)

168. Merchant of Hope

169. Mimjean Foundation for Women and Children with Disabilities

170. Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome

171. Murtala Muhammed Foundation

172. NlC Women Committee Kaduna State

173. Nigeria Association of Women Journalist Kaduna State

174. National Council for Women’s Societies Nigeria (NCWS)

175. National Democratic Institute

176. Nde Oduko Foundation (NDOF)

177. Neferous Foundation

178. Network of Disabled Women

179. Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN)

180. Nigeria Defence Academy 181. Nigerian Girl Guides Association Anambra State

182. Nigeria Network of NGOs

183. Nigeria Union of Teachers Kaduna South Branch Women’s wing

184. Noble Delta Women for Peace and Development International

185. NoMore234NG

186. Ogayem Merciful Care and Support Initiative (OMCSI)

187. Okerio Okoro Anthony Development Foundation

188. Omowumi Asubiaro Dada

189. One Love Community Development and Promotion of Peace Initiative

190. Online Hub Educational Services

191. Our Lady of Perpetual Help initiative (OLPHI)

192. Ovie Brume Foundation

193. Pan African Young Women Development Initiative- (PAYWODI)

194. Partners West Africa- Nigeria (PWAN)

195. Partnership for Justice

196. Partners for Peace

197. Peace Point Development Foundation -PPDF

198. Peasants Dragnet

199. PEFoundation

200. Positive Outreach Foundation

201. Precious Cares for All Foundation

202. Prime Diamond Initiative for Community Health

203. Prof Mnguember Vicky Sylvester

204. Project Alert on Violence Against Women

205. Public Enlightenment Projects, Abia State

206. RATTAWU North West

207. Rays of Hope

208. REED Center

209. Renascence of Hope Initiative

210. Responsible Citizenship and Human Development Initiative

211. Reube Fulbe Development Centre

212. Rights Enforcement and Public Law Centre (REPLACE)

213. Rural Health and Women Development

214. Scripture Union West Africa (SUWA)

215. Sabon Gari Peace Women initiative Kaduna State

216. Safehaven Development Initiative

217. Save the Child Initiative

218. Selfworth Organization for Women Development

219. Selu Afrique

220. Sessor Empowerment Foundation

221. She Speaks

222. Society for Abused Minors AIDS Victims

223. Society for water and sanitation

224. Son-Kowa Women Association, Kaduna

225. South South Professional Women Association (SSPWA)

226. Speak Out Africa

227. Speaking Fingers Network

228. Stand Out Global Empowerment Foundation

229. Star Ruby Initiative

230. Strategy for Peace and Humanitarian Development Initiative (SPEHDI)

231. Street Project Foundation

232. Tabitha Cumi Foundation

233. Take A Cue Development Initiative

234. The Farid Centre for People with Special Needs

235. The Pukiche Girl Child Foundation (TPGCF)

236. The STAGE for Women Coalition

237. Third Sector Development Solutions

238. Unique Muslim Sister’s Association

239. UTO Foundation

240. Value Rebirth Empowerment Initiative

241. Virgin Heart Foundation

242. Vision Spring Initiative

243. Voice of Akwa Ibom Women

244. Voice of Disability Initiative (VDI)

245. Water for life

246. West Africa Network for Peacebuilding Nigeria (WANEP-Nigeria)

247. Women Aid Collective (WACOL)

248. Women and Youths Environmental Safety and Empowerment Organisation

249. Women Arise Development and Humanitarian Initiative

250. Women Committee, Auptre Kaduna

251. Women Committee, Nigerian Labour Congress Kaduna

252. Women’s Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON)

253. Women Empowerment Initiative

254. Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria, (WEAN)

255. Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative (WOYODEV)

256. Women 4 Better Society Network

257. Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative

258. Women for Peace and Unity Growth Initiative (WPUGI)

259. Women for Women International Nigeria

260. Women Foundation of Nigeria

261. Women in Distress Organisation

262. Women in Law and Learning (WILL)

263. Women in Leadership Forum of Nigeria

264. Women in Politics Forum

265. Women, Infants and Children Care Initiative (WICCI)

266. Women Initiative for Leadership Strategy & Innovation in Africa (Women Africa)

267. Women Initiative on Climate Change

268. Women Law and Development Centre Nigeria (WLDCN)

269. Women of vision development initiative

270. Women Peace and Security Network

271. Women Peace Builders Network

272. Women Peace Mentors and Mediators Form

273. Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP)

274. Women’s Situation Room Nigeria (WSRN)

275. Women Standard-Bearers International (WOSBI)

276. Women Wing, Christian Association of Nigeria, (WOWICAN)

277. Women with Disability Self Reliance Foundation

278. Women Youths and Children Advancement Program (WOYCAP)

279. Working Fingers International Initiative

280. Youth for Change Initiative

281. Youth Future Savers Initiative (YFSI)

282. Zhihwi Mercy Foundation 283. Zonta International Club of Lagos