By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State First Lady, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has vowed that the State Government will continue to implement various initiatives aimed at stamping out the heinous crime of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), in the State, especially against women and children.
Sanwo-Olu, who spoke during a press briefing held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, to unveil activities lined up to mark this year’s Lagos GBV Week and the global 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women and girls, said the commitment of the present administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu remains the same, which is zero tolerance to all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
According to her, “Today is another great day in the annals of Lagos State, as we jointly march forward in our quest to frontally stamp out all forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), especially against women and children in our communities across the State.
“Essentially, we are here to unveil activities we have lined up in furtherance of the Lagos State Gender-Based Violence Week designed to scale up awareness and galvanize action. This is with the view to ensuring eradication of the menace of violence against women and girls in our dear state.”
She said the Lagos GBV Week was being championed through a collaborative effort between her Office and critical stakeholders including Ministries of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation; Youth and Social Development; Justice; Education; Health, Information and Strategy; Lagos State Judiciary, and the Nigerian Police Force.
“It is also in line with the cause being championed by the 36 First Ladies in Nigeria, via our forum, to collectively end rape in the country, as well as the global 16 Days of Activism of the United Nations, which is an annual campaign to end violence against women,” she said.
Speaking on the 2020 UN Campaign – “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!,” the First Lady said it was necessitated by the challenges brought about by the unexpected Covid-19 pandemic, which according to her, effectively altered life and ensured an unanticipated lockdown not just in Nigeria, but across the world.
“As all efforts were geared toward battling Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of an already-existing pandemic of rape and violence against women and children was relegated to the background, and the result was a worrisome and alarming spike in rape cases across the country,” she said, adding that her office and other stakeholders have been collaboratively working to address the menace.
On activities for the GBV Week, Sanwo-Olu said plans have been firmed up to embark on a massive Social Media Campaign, Identification of Complaint Platforms, Documentary and Docudrama as well as Sensitization of various Women Groups.
She added that a working visit would be paid to Office of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) in Alausa as well as the Gender Desk Unit of the Nigerian Police, Panti.
“Also, we will be visiting the Proposed Shelter Sites for victims of Domestic Violence being spearheaded by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), which is one of the success stories of our collaborative effort on ending Gender-Based Violence, with regards to care for victims.
“Furthermore, in continuation of the visit to Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas, we shall also be embarking on Symbolic Walk against Rape in some notorious Local Government Areas across the State.
“The highpoint of the GBV Week is a visit to Mr. Governor; Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu who I must confess has been commendably supportive and leading efforts to fight the heinous crime of rape and all forms of Gender-Based Violence in the State. A Compendium of Stakeholders’ Meeting on Gender-Based Violence in Lagos State will also be presented to Mr. Governor during the visit.
“Our aim of doing this is that we envision a society where Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is reduced to the barest minimum and we are determined to achieve this by working collaboratively and effectively with relevant stakeholders,” the First Lady said.
On her part, Wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Oluremi Hamzat urged members of the public to join the effort of the State Government to drastically reduce the menace of rape and all forms of gender-based violence.
The press conference was attended by relevant stakeholders including Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos Branch, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya; representatives of African Women Lawyers Association, Youth Council of Nigeria, and Parents Forum in Lagos State, among others.