Edo State Commissioner for Youth and Gender Issues, Hon. Andrew Adaze Emwanta. Esq. JP has called on every one to unite to eliminate gender based violence in the society and he re-emphasized the state government’s commitment to protect women and girls until the state is free from sexual and gender based violence
The Commissioner who disclosed this at the Nigeria Union Of Journalists, NUJ Press Centre in Benin City, during the commencement of the 16 days of action Against Gender Based Violence, said this years theme, “Unite! Activism to end violence against women and girls” is apt.
According to him, “We have cases where as young as 3 years old,5 and 13 years old are been raped and harassed. As such, the NUJ must add its voice as the fourth estate of the realm. The first estate of the realm, the legislature has done their part in ensuring that the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP) was enacted and the Executive arm, not just signing the law but taking steps in ensuring that there are budgetary provisions.
“In Edo State, we have the Gender Based Violence Management Committee with the First lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki as chairman, in the forefront of protecting the interest of girls and women and ensuring perpetrators of GBV are dealt with.
“Within the last three years, we have a situation where over 255 cases have gone to court and so far we have been able to secure 39 convictions which is the highest in Nigeria. The three arms of government in Edo State have made it possible, particularly, the Judiciary.
“We must thank the Chief Judge of Edo state, Hon Justice Joseph Acha for creating special courts, Criminal Court I and 4 which mandates is to ensure that we do not have a case of Justice delayed and Justice denied,” the Commissioner noted
The Commissioner further disclosed that Edo state is one of the few states that have a sex offenders register and he enjoined the NUJ to give publicity to what the Edo state government has done so far to deal with the problems of gender based violence.
The Chairman of the NUJ, Edo State Council, Mr. Festus Alenkhe, Commended the Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki for taking the bull by the horn by ensuring that violence against women are eliminated and those who perpetrate the violence are arrested and prosecuted .
“I want to reassure that journalists in the state will assist to ensure violence and evil against women must stop. There are physical and emotional violence and if detected such persons should be arrested and prosecuted,” he added.
The Commissioner, Hon. Emwanta and Director of Gender, Ministry of Youth and Gender Issues, Mrs. Joy Ihensekhien and other heads of Non governmental Organizations, NGO embarked on a road walk sensitization exercise round Benin City to mark the 2022 International day for the elimination of violence against women and girls.
At the Benin Central Park, Mrs. Ihensekhien, said Edo State is out to ensure zero tolerance for GBV and she advised people to always report cases of GBV to the Ministry of Youth and Gender Issues for action to be taken against the offenders.
“According to the theme of this year, let is unite to ensure there is action. Husband beating wife, husband not allowing women to work for a living, sexual harassment at work places, schools and the churches are all punishable offenses,” she added.