–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) —By Albert OGRAKA:
Wife of the Delta State Governor, Dame Edith Okowa and founder of 05 Initiative has encouraged the Coalition of Non Governmental Organizations, to initiate a comprehensive database for the collection of cases of sexual abuses, domestic violence for the purpose of policy implementation.
Dame Okowa said this on Thursday, November 26, 2020, while addressing a gender-based advocates, who thronged her office during a 16 days of activism rally to her office at Government House, Asaba, in commemoration of the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Addressing the advocates who came under the umbrella of Delta State Coalition Against Gender-Based Violence, she told them to sustain the tempo to curtail acts of abuse, gender molestation and violence prevalent in the society, insisting that much effort is still needed to curtail the menace to the barest minimum.
She frowned at the recurring incidences of child defilement, rape and domestic violence against women, stressing that women should feel safe, speak up, listen and show love to victims of sexual violence.
“We should go to churches, market places, to schools talking to our young girls, see something say something. Stop shutting up your daughters, let them speak because if you don’t listen to them, someone else will give them ears. Respond to these victims, so many of them might not be able to talk, they need love, they need our ears.”
Earlier in her speech, leader of the Coalition and the Executive Director, International Center for Women Empowerment and Child Development, Barr Julian Ogwulu said the commemoration of the 16 days of activism basically serves to raise public awareness on the repugnant action of violence against women and girls, noting that, gender-based violence is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our present world.
Barr. Ogwulu, stated that recent statistics published by the State Ministry of Justice showed that Delta State recorded its highest cases of gender-based violence in 2018 since the Ministry started keeping the records. She said that the situation from all indications has further worsened world wide with advent of Covid-19 pandemic.
“Although there are no available statistics yet but there has undoubtedly been a significant increase in the number of reported acts of violence against women and girls in Delta State and across Nigeria since the outbreak of the pandemic.”
She mentioned that impunity, silence, stigma and shame as inhibitors to addressing the large majority of cases of gender-based violence which go unreported, applauded the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law in Delta state, emphasizing that it has comprehensive and far reaching provision against gender-based violence.
“Indubitably, it represents a formidable instrument for combating violence against women and girls. The VAPP law is therefore a critically important legislation in the fight against gender inequality and the marginalization of women and girls.”
Also the Delta state chairperson of FIDA, Stella-Maris Mejulu, in a vote of thanks, commended Dame Edith Okowa for her passion and assured that the advocacy will continue with the advocacy until the menace is halted.
She thanked the State Attorney General, Barr Peter Mrakpor for ensuring the successful passage of the VAPP law which she said will rip the state of violators of the law.
The National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), led by Mrs Gbemudu was fully on ground amongst other 30 Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) during the ongoing 16-day advocacy rally to commemorate the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.