Story By Akinola Emmanuel, March 13, 2021
Cases of gender-based violence will no longer be treated with child’s glove in Oyo State as the government has vowed to invoke the law against perpetrators of gender-based violence.
The State Rapid Response Team on Gender Based Violence said, it has recorded 692 cases of Gender Based Violence between the months of March 2020 and February, 2021 with highest number of physical abuse, rape and child labour cases reported.
The team, which is under the State’s Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion also reported abandonment, defilement, attempted rape, rescued and intimate partners violence cases, which the victims were majorly female, having the largest number of 418 as survivors, between the age range of 0 and 17years out of 692 cases recorded.
While presenting the report of activities on behalf of the Rapid Response Team in the last one year of its inauguration at the Conference room of the Ministry over the weekend in Ibadan, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Marcus Williams said there was need to respond to the plights of girl – child and women on time as they appeared to be the most vulnerable to gender based violence in the society.
He explained that most of the cases reported happened in the rural communities, hence the need to collaborate with community leaders and sensitized them on the role to play in reducing the shameful acts and ensure that parents play active roles in giving their children both formal and informal education, while the society should also play its role of positive modelling.
While acknowledging the efforts and support of the State government to the committee, Williams stated that the Rapid Response Team did not only rescue the survivors alone, but also supported them and handled each case to positive conclusions.
“All the cases reported were swiftly responded to with provision of psychosocial support, healthcare, alternative shelter, educational, nutrition and legal support as the case may be, and all these were made possible by the Oyo State government.
“The society has to rise up and take up responsibility, parents should see this as a clarion call for them to take good care of their kids in the areas of moral upbringing and basic education that will give the children direction in life.”
“Government cannot do it all, in fact, the State has done so much to eradicate this cankerworm and other stakeholders should also do their bits so that we will see the end of the problem of gender-based violence,”
Earlier in her remarks, the State Commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Faosat Sanni who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Christiana Abioye, appreciated the Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration for the support given to the team to perform optimally and also recognized the efforts of the team, its dedication to duty and selfless service to humanity by tackling cases of gender-based violence swiftly.
She charged them not to relent and be more holistic and diligent in handling all cases reported, while not hesitating to apply the necessary enabling laws in discharging their duties.
“We have laws on ground against perpetrators and we will ensure that necessary actions and punishments are meted out to them.
“Recall that recently, the Executive Governor of Oyo state, Engr. Seyi Makinde assented to a bill that guarantees protection and equal right for all irrespective of gender, age or tribe, it is called Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAAP) bill, which addresses the issues of men, women, boy-child and girl-child; it is all-encompassing as it will also provide succor to men who are also gender based violence victims,” she said.
She advised people to always be vigilant and voice out their observation, adding that curbing the menace is a collective responsibility.
The Rapid Response Team on Gender Based Violence was inaugurated on 5th of March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak with relevant stakeholders drawn from government ministries, agencies, non- governmental organizations and law enforcement agencies among others and they were saddled with the responsibilities of curbing violence and checkmate the prevalence of gender based violence by rescuing and providing specialized services, with focus on the need of survivors.