By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has advocated stringent penalties against perpetrators of violence on women in the state.
Speaking on Thursday in Uyo, during the inauguration of a 60-bed space Gender-Based Violence Centre in Uyo, the state capital, Governor Emmanuel disclosed that the centre is designed to also provide easy access to justice, medical interventions and skills, and extend comfort, succour and hope to those whose homes have become torture chambers. Governor Emmanuel declared that his administration has zero tolerance for all forms of gender-based violence, and, therefore, called for incarceration of perpetrators of such act.
He applauded his wife, Dr Martha Emmanuel, for her consistent effort to reduce sexual abuses and other forms of gender-based violence in the state, and expressed optimism that the all-in-one centre would provide needed succour and restore humanity to victims of GBV.
He announced previous efforts by the state government to curb gender-based violence and previous attempts by government to stem the tide in the state.
“I recall last year, that we inaugurated a State Management Committee on Gender-Based Violence. The principal terms of reference was to eliminate or reduce GBV to its barest minimum.
“Our aim was also to bring to book those who engage in this irreprehensible act. I want to reassure the committee of the importance we attach to this project and our determination to back the law that we have enacted.
“Victims of sexual abuses must be rehabilitated, must be given new leases of life, their humanity must be restored and those who perpetrate those morally depraving acts must be sent to jail, by the grace of the judiciary.”
In her remarks earlier, wife of the Akwa Ibom State Governor and Chairman, Gender-Based Violence, Management Committee, Dr Martha Udom Emmanuel, recounted her efforts and gains in curbing GBV in the state.
Mrs Emmanuel, who informed her guests that the committee had committed much effort and resources to create awareness on the issue, assured that the center would provide refuge and succour to victims of gender-based violence.
“Today, we stand here to commission and open our signature and the biggest of our accomplishments, the building and commissioning of the State Gender-Based Violence Center, built out of love and the desire to provide a safe place for victims of sexual and gender-based violence and where they can learn a skill whilst trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.
“This facility is a 60-bed edifice, which will provide for many, not only shelter, easy access to justice, medical interventions and skill acquisitions, but also provide comfort, succour and hope to those whose homes have become torture chambers.
“Those whose parents, guardians, spouses and neighbours have become their abusers and those who have become preys to perverts.Today, a dream has come true, as we have, as a state, reached out and touched the vulnerable, the tortured, the abused and the violated,” she said.
Chairperson of Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum, whose members have been in the state for their retreat for some days, and wife of Ekiti State Governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, applauded Mrs Emmanuel for the giant stride and appreciated Governor Udom Emmanuel for his huge support.
She observed that wives of governors across the country were all engaged in various projects and interventions to curb Gender-Based Violence in the country.