By Bukar Bolori
The First Lady of Lagos State, Dr Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has acknowledged that with the support of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls, Lagos State had made significant progress in creating a society where every woman and girl in the state could live free from violence and discrimination.
She said at the close-out and hand-over of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls to the Lagos State Government, that: “Through our combined efforts, we have made significant progress in creating a society where every woman and girl can live free from violence and discrimination.”
The ceremony held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja was attended by senior government officials and other critical stakeholders including Civil Society Organisations, Secondary School students, among others.
According to Mrs. Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Senior Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs, Mrs Motolani Ladipo, Lagos State has witnessed the power of collaboration and transformative potential in ending gender-based violence since the launch of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative in 2019.
She disclosed that: “Lagos State with the support of UN women, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA and UNICEF under the Spotlight project, witnessed interventions in several areas of governance including laws and policies focusing on access to justice for survivors of gender based violence.”
The First Lady expressed her belief in the power of collective action, emphasising the importance of addressing the root causes of violence against women and girls.
“With a strong commitment to prevention, protection, and ensuring access to essential services, the partnership with EU-UN Spotlight Initiative is paving the way for a future where no woman or girl is left behind in Lagos State,” she added.
Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Ms Cecelia Bolaji Dada, while highlighting notable achievements and significant milestones of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative in Lagos State, stated that the bolstering of essential services including the establishment of virtual clinics at the height of COVID19 pandemic; Strengthening access to justice for survivors of GBV; Amplifying the voices of women groups, livelihood empowerment support for over 300 GBV survivors; and the creation of the GBV Situation Room which has helped in generating disaggregated data on GBV cases which in turn, reflected on the National Dashboard and in the National Bureau of Statistics reports.
The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba, emphasised the pivotal role the Judiciary plays in addressing gender-based violence and discrimination in Lagos State.
Speaking through Hon. Justice Abiola Soladoye, he highlighted the importance of breaking the silence surrounding GBV and encouraged survivors to seek justice without fear.
“Gender-Based Violence should not be ignored, and when reported, victims should not hesitate to come forward”.
He explained, “The police is also involved with the judiciary in helping to curb the cases of GBV.”
The Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, emphasised the commitment of the Assembly to combat all forms of violence against women and girls.
Represented by Hon. Princess Omolara Oyekan, the Speaker emphasised, “The House of Assembly does not take any form of violence against women and girls lightly in any way. The establishment of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency stands out as a pivotal move in the House’s dedication to eradicating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence”.
He added that the legislative efforts of the Lagos State House of Assembly in passing laws for the protection of women and girls had elevated agencies like the Lagos State Sexual and Domestic Violence Agency and the Ministry of Women Affairs to stand tall among their counterparts.