ASABA/Nigeria: A-One Day Stakeholders meeting on Sexual and Gender based violence has ended in Asaba, the Delta State Capital with a call on all stakeholders to mobilized support against the alarming rates of sexual violence related cases.
The Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa made the call on Monday, at the Unity Hall of Government House, Venue of the one day stakeholders meeting convened by the Delta State Sexual and Gender Based Violence Response Team supported by the office of the wife of the Governor and Founder of the 05 Initiative.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who was represented by his Deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro bemoaned the rising cases of rape, sexual abuse and gender based violence which he said has become a global challenge and advocated for the enactment of more stringent laws as a way of stemming the ugly tide.
The Governor while calling on government at all levels, non-governmental organizations, faith based organizations and other stakeholders to synergize in dealing with the endemic challenge of sexual and gender based violence especially against children and women, sued for more concerted efforts by stakeholders in confronting the scourge before it wrecks more havoc on the society.
Also speaking, the wife of the State Governor and Founder of the 05 Initiative Dame Edith Okowa frowned at the increasing and disturbing cases of sexual and gender based violence including physical, sexual and psychological abuses in the State and challenged parents to rise up to their responsibility.
Dame Edith Okowa while attributing the ugly development to lack of proper parenting by parents and guardians towards their wards as well as societal stigma, kicked against silencing children who may have been abused.
She stressed the need to allow them to speak out even as she charged parents and caregivers to imbibe on their children sound morals and values including that of proper dressing and pay attention to what they watched and the kind of friends they associate with.
While commending the organizers of the conference which was attended by the Political Class and their spouses, the Chief Judge, NGOs, Faith Based Organizations, the Nigeria Medical Association, the Nigeria Bar Association, Market Women, Youths and Students, the Governor’s wife said that the one day conference was a sober reflection for all gender and stressed the need for everyone to join hands with government to stamp the epidemic from the society.
The Chairman of the Delta State Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response Team, Mr. Peter Mrakpor who is also the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the State, in his welcome remarks disclosed that the Team was established to ensure the development of an effective, comprehensive and well-coordinated response to cases of gender based violence that appears to be on the rise in the State.
While saying that the stakeholders’ meeting corresponds with the 2019 16 days of International Activism against Gender-Based Violence/Campaign that kicked off on Monday 25th November, 2019 to 10th December, 2019, Mr. Peter Mrakpor pointed out some of the mandate of the Team which include to provide referral services and monitor the provision of quality forensic, medical, psycho-social, legal and after-care services to survivors of sexual and gender based violence in the State.
Speaking further, he said that the conference was convened to among other things sensitize stakeholders on prevention, care and prosecution of offenders as well as to drum up support for the State Government campaign against the menace.
Mrakpor who also raised alarm on the rising cases of sexual and gender based violence in the state, disclosed that the Ministry of Justice was currently prosecuting 134 sexual based offences in court and assured stakeholders that the Delta State Government was irrevocably committed to ensuring that all sexual and gender based violence related cases were legally and diligently prosecuted.
Others who spoke at the event includes the State Chief Judge, Justice Marshal Umukoro who identified refusal of rape victims to testify in court as one of the major challenge in prosecuting offenders and attributed the high rate of crime in society to parental failure and broken homes.