..commissions Sexual Assault Referral Center
Wife of the Governor of Ondo State, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has rallied all and sundry, particularly the critical stakeholders, to publicize the Ondo State Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law” VAPP.
Mrs Akeredolu made the plea at the Town Hall Meeting on the “Ondo State Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law” VAPP, held at the Akoko South-West Local Government Secretariat, Oka-Akoko, Ondo State.
The First Lady who was represented by the wife of Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mrs Esther Oluwaseun Aiyedatiwa, said the VAPP law is not only for the protection of girls and women, it is for everybody, boys and men inclusive. The VAPP Law exists to protects everybody.
“We should all be committed to spreading the message of the VAPP law. We should tell everybody that the law will catch up with the whoever violates or abuses a person irrespective of his status. The VAPP law exists to protect everybody, including men and women.
“We appreciate the First Lady, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, for her support for women and the girl-child at all times, and for being committed to making Ondo State SGBV- free. All hands must therefore be on deck so that we can complement her good efforts and ensure that the message reaches all the nooks and crannies.”
The Governor’s wife added that part of the reasons cases of sexual and gender violations are not usually reported include the failure of SGBV handlers to treat such reports with confidentiality, and the indifference of people against cases of violations.
Organised by the Office of the Wife of Governor of Ondo State in collaboration with the Westminister Foundation For Democracy (WFD), the programme is put together to sensitise members of the public
and relevant stakeholders on the existence of the VAPP law and the consequences of violating them.
Speaking on behalf of WFD, the programme coordinator, Mrs Sola Folayan, said Ondo State has been very supportive of the programme, noting that the state has already moved far in the fight against sexual and gender violence.
According to her, “Ondo State has been very warm, welcoming and supportive. Working in Ondo State has been a pleasant experience. Ondo State has moved very far in the fight against SGBV and I must say it’s a good place work. It’s very encouraging that the First Lady made good efforts to achieve the passage of the Vapp law.
“The VAPP law is not for women alone, it’s for everyone. The implementation of the law is very important; we should therefore not depend on government alone but we should all get involved. That is why this town hall meeting is organised so that everyone is carried along. It’s very important to spread the message across on the importance of the law and consequences of violation through the social media platforms, through market women, in churches and other important places.”
Senior Special Assistant on Gender, Research and Documentation, Mrs Temitope Daniyan, lamented that cases of sexual and gender violations persist even after the VAPP law has become operative, noting that the town hall meeting becomes more imperative so that people can become more aware of the laws and the consequences of breaking them.
Daniyan said, “Ondo State is recognized for setting pace, particularly in the area of the fight against sexual and gender based violence and other great works being done by the wife of Governor of Ondo State, Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, which has attracted the WFD. We also commend the First Lady for ensuring that VAPP law become operative in Ondo State by facilitating the passage of the law.
“We congratulate the people of Akoko who are the first to benefit from this effort. We have visited the House of Assembly and had sensititation programme with nurses and today we are here. We do hope that the town hall meeting would help to create more awareness among our people on the VAPP law. Meanwhile, sexual and gender violations still happen in our communities despite the existence of VAPP law, which is why we need to improve on sensititation.”
Participants who reacted to the discussions of the VAPP law and its consequences, include High Chief Olugbenga Adewunmi from Supare- Akoko, who said the punishment allotted to sexual and gender crimes under the VAPP law and discouraged people from covering violations under any guise.
In her own reaction, the Iyaloja of Oka Land, Chief Mrs Sarah Emidun, argued that absence of toilet facilities in some of the public secondary schools exposes the girls to the risk of rape by touts and miscreants.
The programme featured the official commissioning of the Satellite Sexual Assault Referral Center, situated at the Primary Health Care, Iwaro-Oka, Award for Royal Fathers, Display of Awareness postals by the Royal fathers, Meeting Expectations and Ground Rules, Questions among other activities.
The meeting was attended by royal fathers in Akoko land, including Oba (Dr.) Yusuf Adebori Adeleye (OON) the Olubaka of Okaland, Alale of Akungba, Oba Isaac Ajimo Adeyeye, Olusupare of Supare-Akoko, Oba Adejoro Adedeji, Onikun of Ikun, Oba (Pastor) Olokunbola Adedoyin, Oloba of Oba, HRM Nurudeen Adegoroye and the Chief Imam of Oka Land, Alhaji Abubakar Isa Mohammed.
Others are Chairman of Akoko South-West Local Government, Hon Augustine Oloruntogbe, represented by his wife, Mrs Florence Oloruntogbe, Secretary, Hon Jide Okeowo, Director of Akoko Southwest primary Healthcare, Dr Abdulazeez Adewale, Senior Special Assistant (Media), Tobi Fademi, Members of the Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation (BAAF),
The Nigeria Police Force, Aketi Women Forum, the Iyalojas, Members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Moslem Society, Market Women and others.