Sexual violence: Oyo, IGR, park managers, Ibadan drivers reach agreement

Various stakeholders in Oyo State have resolved to put an end to child sexual, violence against women and other related offences in the state.

These stakeholders advanced this resolve at a meeting to examine the Child Sexual Offences Bill, 2020, Oyo State Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response Team and Referral Centre Bill, 2020 and Violence Against Persons Bill, 2020.

The meeting organised under the auspices of the Oyo State House of Assembly Committee on Women Affairs and Social Inclusion featured presentations from the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and Ministry of Justice and other relevant stakeholders.

In her address, Chairman of the House committee, Honourable Bimbo Oladeji, bemoaned that violence and sexually related offences had serious physical, psychological and social consequences not only on the victims but also their families and entire communities.

She vowed that the bills, when passed into law, will prohibit all forms of violence and ensure maximum protection and effective remedies and punishments for offenders.

She pointed out that the Violence Against Persons Bill was to protect the interest of both men and women in society.

She lauded the Governor Seyi Makinde government for keying into the proposition for the establishment of Gender-Based Violence Referral and Response Centre to combat gender-based violence-related cases.

Pointing to the alarming rate of violence against the male and female gender, Oladeji held that and the bills, when passed into law, will help to put an end to cases of violence in Oyo State.

Furthermore, Oladeji tasked non-governmental organizations to be unrelenting in campaigning against child abuse, rape and other sexual related offences.

Presenting the position of the ministry, state Commissioner for Women and Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Faosat Sanni, said that humanitarian protection and assistance needs had increased as a result of the increase in the rate of violence stemming from the COVID-19 restrictions.

She affirmed the commitment of the ministry to promote the rights and wellbeing of women, children, the aged, people with disabilities, destitute and the less privileged, as well as coordinating prevention and responses for sexual and gender-based violence in the state.

While commending the House Committee on Women Affairs and Social Inclusion on its effort to ensure speedy passage of the bills, the Commissioner assured that the Violence Response Team will provide prompt responses to reported cases of sexual and physical abuse, child labour, trafficking, neglect and battery.

Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Oyelowo Oyewo, in delivering his ministry’s submission, indicated that the implementation of the bill will task the Nigeria Police Force and caregivers.

The Commissioner urged the Committee on Women Affairs to consider the Child rights Law, 2006 in its consideration of the bill to avoid inconsistency in implementation, when it becomes law.

Other stakeholders involved at the meeting were National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and other non-governmental organizations.

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