…as she canvasses effective prosecution of sex offenders

The Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba, had enlisted the support of traditional rulers, security agencies, judiciary, media and other stakeholders to reduce Gender-Based Violence in the state.

Speaking on Monday at a Special Plenary Session held by the Assembly on Prevention of Gender-Based Violence, the Speaker insisted that the epidemic of rape and other forms of sexual offences must stop in Ekiti State.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser on Media to the Speaker, Odunayo Ogunmola, the special plenary session was attended and chaired by the First Lady of Ekiti State, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji as part of activities marking the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Rt. Hon. Adelugba said she was alarmed and concerned that despite a robust legislative and policy intervention on the state, Gender-Based Violence, sexual and domestic violence appear to continue unabated in communities across the state.

She called for more vigorous and effective prosecution of sex offenders and other violators of Gender-Based Violence to end the culture of impunity and foster a culture of justice for the victims and deterrent for the offenders and potential offenders.

The Speaker emphasized that Gender-Based Violence represents a crime against individuals, the society and humanity saying it is a battle that must be won to make Ekiti safe for women, girl children and other vulnerable citizens of the state so that their rights will not be violated.

Rt. Hon. Adelugba noted that the Assembly is made up of representatives of the people of the state from all the twenty six (26) constituencies noting that the parley has made honourable members to take the message home to their constituents on the existence of laws and penalties against Gender-Based Violence.

She said: “I want to state at this juncture that more still needs to be done in the effective prosecution of sex offenders in Ekiti State and the task is a collaborative one among individuals, filed, communities, civil society organizations and stakeholders in the criminal justice system.

“I want to remind all and sundry that Gender-Based Violence represents a crime against individuals, the society and humanity. We must all join hands together to stop it; we must all rise and work together to fight and end rape epidemic in Ekiti State.

“Our collective response to the scourge of Gender-Based Violence must be proactive and efficient to end the culture of impunity and foster a culture of justice and deterrence.

“I want to enlist the support of our traditional rulers, community leaders, the media, civil society organizations and other stakeholders for more public enlightenment and awareness on Gender-Based Violence laws in the grassroots to win this battle. This is a battle that is surmountable; with our collective resolve and determination, it is achievable.”

The Speaker disclosed that the Assembly has enacted laws like Gender Based Violence (Prohibition) Law 2019, Sexual Violence Against Children (Compulsory Treatment and Care) Law 2020 and Child Rights Law 2012, among others as legislations aimed at fighting the scourge to a standstill.

The immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olawale Fapohunda, SAN presented an overview on Gender Based Violence in the state and what the state government had been doing to curb the incidence.

Fapohunda said the incidence of rape had assumed an alarming dimension which prompted the implementation of Name and Shame policy against sex offenders and opening of Sexual Offenders Register.

The Senior Advocate pointed out that gender based violence and rape offenders include the learned and the unlearned, highly placed individuals, lowly individuals, clergymen, lecturers, teachers, civil servants, among others.

He explained that gender based violence happen in all the local government areas of the state which called for a concerted effort to tackle the incidence.

The event was attended by stakeholders from Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, the Judiciary, the Nigerian Bar Association and Civil Society Organizations.