The Edo State Government through the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues at the weekend led women rights groups and other civil society organisations around the streets of Benin City to advocate and demand urgent action to end all forms of Gender-Based Violence in the country.

The women walked in solidarity to the Secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, House of Assembly Complex, King Square, Lagos Street and Ezoti Street, all in Benin City.

Permanently Secretary, Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues, Pst. Mrs. Dorcas Idehen, said the advocacy campaign is part of activities lined up for the 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls in Nigeria.

According to her, “Gender-based violence must be put to a stop because it is an evil act. It ranges from rape, battery and child molestation, among others.

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“The State Government has done a lot by setting up the Sexual Assault Referral Center and the Sex Offenders Registry, where offenders are brought to book. There the Ministry gives psychosocial support to the victims by way of treatment and counselling so that they can freely reintegrate into the society.”

The Founder/ Project Coordinator, Artisans Development and Networking Organization, Mr. Ugiagbe Osamuyime noted: “We are partnering with the Edo State Government to join our voices in the enlightenment and elimination of Gender-based Violence against persons. As a group, we have so many members who are women, many of whom victims or survivors of different forms of violence. So, it is part of the mission of this group to protect the interest of the artisans and women in general.”

Director of Gender Issues, Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues, Mrs. Joy Ihensekhien, said the campaign is to create awareness on the urgent need to stem the tide of gender-based violence and uphold the rights of women in the society.

Ihensekhien who hailed the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led state government for its efforts at protecting the rights of women in the state, noted that the governor has zero-tolerance for gender-based violence.