By Segun Giwa
Mrs Olamide Falana, the Special Adviser on Gender to Ondo State Governor, on Tuesday said that Gender-Based Violence (GBV) could be tackled by commitment backed by funding.
Falana stated this at a programme organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) in Akure.
The programme is tagged: “Enhancement of the capacity of state institutions for effective implementation of laws to promote inclusion, gender equality and reverse GBV.”
Falana said the state was one of the leading ones in response to GBV with the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law in 2021 and with the establishment of the Ondo State Agency Against Gender-Based Violence (OSAA-GBV).
She also said that the wife of the Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, chairing the agency, had ensured the political will required to win the fight against “the GBV monsters”.
“This has helped the state agency to record huge success in raising awareness about GBV across the state, prosecution of suspects and care psychosocial support for the victims,” she said.
Falana, while quoting data available on the dashboard of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs as of June 2023, said,” There are 17,848 reported cases of GBV.
“Seven hundred and seventy nine fatal cases, 1,146 closed cases, 5,716 open cases, and 248 convicted perpetrators while Ondo has 158 reported cases.”
According to her, the data may seem like figures but mirrors the number of persons who have been raped, assaulted and molested.
“Economically suppressed, politically deprived, socially stigmatised, mentally defied and all who carry the scars of the crime against their persons, some may never heal in their lifetime.
“This explains the need for continuous coordination of the state GBV response, with a mantra to leave no one behind in the training of capacity building and awareness creation.
“As we go forward as a state, it is important for the handlers of the sector such as the security operatives and prosecutors to be aware of what they can do in their various commands and agencies, to enhance the collective prevention of GBV.
“Keeping in mind that the fight against GBV cannot be won by words but rather by commitment backed by funding,” he said.
Earlier, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Sir Charles Titiloye, commended the WFD for its support in the awareness and implementation of the law in the state.
Titiloye said Child right and VAPP laws had brought to the barest minimum cases of violence against children and women and the state was gradually being freed of sexual offenses unlike in the past.
“Today, we have a law that has an agency that will enforce it. We have an agency that works with WFD.
“Most states are now adopting our model. We are leading in the fight for equality, we are setting the pace,” he said.
Also, the Country Director of WFD, Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, said the programme had achieved a lot over eight months since it started.
Olorunmola emphasised the need for gender budgeting through lobbying state assemblies to release funding at different stages for the VAPP Law.
Also, the Senior Special Adviser to the governor’s wife, Mrs Temitope Daniya, appreciated WFD for the effort and struggle in the passage of the law. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Idris Abdulrahman