BENIN CITY – The Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki has advocated for more potent laws that would protect the girl-child in the face of rising incidence of rape and sexual abuse in the country, reassuring that she is working with wives of governors to ensure the implementation of tougher laws to punish perpetrators of all forms of gender-based violence.
The First Lady gave the assurance while addressing members of Edo Women Development Initiative (EWDI) and Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), during a peaceful protest at the Government House in Benin City.
Mrs. Obaseki assured the Non-Governmental Organisations that governors’ wives are working together with Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, to address all forms of gender-based violence.
She noted, “We have also realised that rapists kill their victims; it is as a result of this that we, as governors’ wives, set up the Gender Violence Committee. We are working round the clock to ensure violence against women and children is stamped out. We recently came up with a communiqué to the Nigeria Governors Forum and the Governor’s forum adopted our communiqué, which made them declare a state of emergency on gender-based violence in the country.”
The first lady continued: “We need to have the right laws in place and we have called on the governors to ensure they domesticate the Violence Against Persons (VAP) Law and other related laws in their various states. We have also decided to make it a project. The governors’ wives have agreed to be at the forefront in the fight against gender-based violence. We are ready to collaborate with various groups with good intentions to help us fight this scourge ravaging our society.”
Noting that a target has been set to reduce the incidence of gender-based violence to the barest minimum, she said, “The Edo State is in the forefront of these efforts. We will do as much as we can to bring this scourge to its barest minimum. That is our primary goal. We are going to sustain the protests on a monthly basis until we are sure that there is a drastic reduction in sexual violence in our society.”
The Treasurer, Edo Women Development Initiative (EWDI) and Coordinator of Child Protection Network, Mrs. Stella Obehi Ojeme, said, “We are here to express our dismay over the high incidence of rape and defilement cases. We have come to say no to these crimes; we are tired of gory tales of all manners of violence against our women.”