The Wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, has decried the increasing rate of gender based violence in the society, calling for stiffer punishment for perpetrators of such act.
The first lady spoke to newsmen shortly after a walk within Abeokuta metropolis to end 16 days of activism against gender-based violence which commenced on Nov.25.
Mrs Abiodun called for more efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
She reiterated that the action required more efforts from all concerned parties because of the alarming increase in cases of gender-based violence over the past year.
She said that the situation needed to be addressed and dealt with critically.
To combat domestic abuse and other forms of gender-based violence, Mrs Abiodun noted that women should be allowed to realise their worth and believe that they deserve to be treated with dignity.
She added that it was important to promote a society where speaking out was not taboo and where offenders were made to face the full wrath of the law.
” There is zero tolerance for domestic violence in Ogun state and it is my singular purpose as the First Lady to empower our girls especially equipping them with the knowledge and tools to end all forms of inequality.
“This event is an annual international campaign and this year is with the theme “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”
“We can not rest on our oars in this work because with the different reports of violence we discover every day, it is evident that the perpetrators are looking for new ways to carry out their acts.
“And in turn, our pushback needs to be strategic and deliberate.
“Last year, in response to the public outcry sparked by some of these unfortunate cases, the President and all the governors of the country declared a state of emergency in the country.
“In turn, all the first ladies mobilised through the Nigerian Governors Wives Forum (NGWF) to come up with unified approaches to protect the victims of this unspeakable act while ensuring that the perpetrators do not go scot-free.
“One of such approaches was the enforcement of the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act across all states.
“Furthermore, a management committee of the VAPP was inaugurated by Gov. Dapo Abiodun to steer decisions in the right direction.
“I am extremely proud of this committee which I sit as a Chairperson for the pivotal work they are doing to stem the scourge of violence against persons in our state.
“Everyone in that committee represented by different agencies and ministries is highly committed to ensuring that we fulfill our mandate to help guarantee the rights of victims and survivors of violence, under our laws in Ogun State,” she said.
The first lady urged community leaders, influencers, and all concerned stakeholders to join hands in finding more ways to make more impact in this regard.
Addressing the women in his office, Gov. Dapo Abiodun said his administration stood with all women , adding that women played important role in his administration.
“Women should not allow themselves to be push back from where they are needed but also let their voices heard so that they can be part of the process and express their desire to contest positions,”he said.
Abiodun said for the first time in the history of Ogun State, a woman is the Party Chairman in one of the toughest local government in the State which is Abeokuta North.
“We stand with all the women in the state against gender based violence.
“Violence against persons prohibition act have been domesticated here in Ogun State, Child right protection law also have been passed here in Ogun State.
“Not just been sensitive to violence against women but violence against men as well. We want to have an enabling environment for investors to come to our state.
“We will do everything to ensure that we uphold this gender based violence campaign, we’ll oppose and uphold everything that deal with violence in Ogun State,” the governor said.
In his remarks, the Speaker , Ogun State House of Assembly , Olakunle Oluomo assured relevant stakeholders involved in activism against gender based violence that the 9th Assembly would assist in reviewing the relevant laws to checkmate human rights abuse for the promotion of peaceful co-existence.
The speaker assured that even the international day of human rights, which coincided with the campaign against gender based violence was a pointer to the fact that there was need for the Assembly to ensure that all relevant laws that protect human rights needed to be amended to accommodate the current and emerging realities in the country to further protect the people.
He equally challenged the stakeholders to also sponsor a bill that would handle all cases relating to gender based violence and forward same to the Assembly for consideration.
Earlier in their presentations, Mr Abiodun and the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Naimot Salako- Oyedele, sought relevant legislation to stop all forms of gender based violence including battery, bullying, violence against children, women and men as well as other vulnerable groups.
They requested that relevant amendments be carried out on relevant laws in the State to reflect the current realities in the society and help curb all forms of gender based violence.