By Bisi Olaniyi, Benin
Wife of the Edo State Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki; her Kebbi State counterpart Dr. Zainab Bagudu; and Founder of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin; have called for actions to end all forms of gender-based violence against women.
The also advocated the prosecution of suspected sexual offenders.
The women spoke at a public lecture organised by the United Nations Information Centre and Women Arise to mark the start of the 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls.
The event was themed “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect”.
Mrs. Obaseki urged stakeholders to work with relevant government authorities, especially law enforcement agencies, to stem the tide of gender-based violence and uphold the rights of women.
She called for more legislation and concerted efforts to fund, collect, respond and prevent gender-based violence.
The governor’s wife noted that beside legislation aimed at protecting women and girls in the state, the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration had embarked on programmes and reforms to empower the girl-child and ensure the rights of women were upheld.
Mrs. Obaseki hinted that the state has launched the sex offenders’ register and set up the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) to prosecute all cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
Mrs. Bagudu said it was time for stakeholders to move from talking to transformation, through actionable plans whole Dr. Okei-Odumakin said: “Act, start a movement. Rather than watch abuse happen, stand up, speak up, intervene in potentially harmful situations, or alert others for assistance.”
The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. It holds annually between November 25(the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and December 10 (the Human Rights Day).