Campaign against rape, gender violence intensified in Lagos

As part of efforts to stamp out incidence of rape and various other gender-based violence in Lagos State, a non-governmental organisation, Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP) has taken it campaign drive to more communities, particularly in Alimosho Local Government Area of the state.

The local government, according to the group, has the highest burden of rape, child abuse and other gender-based related violence in Lagos State.

The group in view of this, and with support from the British Council Nigeria and others, embarked on town hall meetings with members of various associations including artisans, market men and women, beauticians, drivers, community leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and so forth on the bases of Local Council Development Area(LCDA) sensitising them not only about the sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and its adverse effects on the society but also about roles they are expected to play so as to jointly tackle the rising monster and make the society a better place for all.

At Meiran Town Hall where no fewer than 100 participants from Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development area converged last Wednesday, the Executive Director of WRAHP, Bose Ironsi, told participants how dangerous it is for them and the society if they fail to report any SGBV incident happening to them or to people around them.

According to her, rape, child labour, wife battery, and other gender-based violence are all criminal offences and whenever any of such happens either to us or to people around us, we must speak out for justice to be served to perpetrators, otherwise, worse scenarios would happen and the society would suffer for it.

“So, don’t hide nor feel unconcern over SGBV around you rather report such to appropriate authorities,” she emphasised.

She said though there were many challenges including fear, ignorance, delay justice, lack of money and so forth that drive many away from seeking justice, they are surmountable if the right channel is approached.

Explaining this, Ironsi, through Mrs Nneoma Thompson, Human Resource\Administrative Officer of WRAHP, who represented her at the event, disclosed that WRAHP for easy process has inaugurated a centre known as Ireti Resouce Centre in Ikotun area where survivors of sexual and other gender violence and any other person could lodge a complaint and access free legal service towards justice.

While disclosing that the organisation does not disclose sources of information made available to it, she said WRAHP, which also offers free counselling and therapy to survivors of SGBV, had trained no fewer than 100 police officers and 300 grass root people on effective handling of SGBV related cases.

However, some of the participants at Meiran meeting, commended WRAHP on the sensitisation programme, saying it was a great eye-opener for them.

They said they lived almost on daily basis with cases of SGBV either happening to somebody close to them or heard about one, but without doing anything about it.

They said but for the knowledge they had gained through the programme, they would begin to act differently about SGBV cases.

A participant and Treasurer of Community Development Committee of Agbado Oke-Odo, Alhaji Adewole Onabanjo, promised to make it a duty to continue to campaign against SGBV anywhere he goes.

According to him, lack of confidence in police in terms of keeping informers’ identities secret and also getting justice always drive many people away from reporting SGBV cases as it happens almost every other day.

“But now knowing what to do and the right place to go would greatly help,” he stressed.

On her part, Mrs Esther Bethel, Vice Chairman, Community Development Association, Abule Egba, also promised to be an advocate of the campaign in her community.

She, however, suggested that WRAHP would need to open a mini resource centre at various LCDAs across Alimosho Local Government area to make its services easily accessible to people at the grassroots.

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