We'll Make Ekiti No-Go-Area For Sexual Offenders - Fapohunda
Abasi Femi Oguntayo
Ekiti State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Olawale Fapohunda has reassured Ekiti people of his Ministry's commitment to ensure that the State is not conducive for sexual Offenders.
He made this assurance yesterday April 4th, 2019 while addressing participants at a roundtable discussion that was held at the Ekiti State Ministry of Justice Academy.
The roundtable discussion which was aimed at strengthening the legal and institutional framework for the elimination of Gender Based Violence in the State had in attendance, the wife of the State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, the Lagos Mirabel Centre Team and various stakeholders in the State.
Fapohunda who said the government was ready to go against all odds to prevent the state from being tagged a thriving land for violence against women and girl-child, claimed the state has a zero-tolerance for all forms of Gender and Sexual violence.
“Reported cases of sexual rape, violence rape, and child defilement have now reached a frequency that we firmly must believe there is an urgent need for joint action between government and other stakeholders to reverse the scourge.
“Apart from legal interventions, we will also make sure photographs of convicted offenders are placed on state’s website and announced on the state broadcasting service.
“Also in cases of defilement, we insist on compulsory psychiatric tests for all persons designated as having cases to answer in form of violence against women.” he said.
The wife of the governor while speaking at the meeting commended the Attorney General for sharing in her vision in ensuring that the incidence of Sexual and domestic violence in the State was vigorously dealt with.
She said government was disheartened that in spite of the existing legal framework prohibiting gender-based violence, Ekiti State continues to witness issues of rape, defilement and human trafficking.
The governor’s wife stressed that immediate past administration's non-implementation of the gender-based violence prohibition law, child rights law, equal opportunities law and other legislation put in place by her husband during his first tine, accounted for the increase of the heinous activities.
“When Fayemi left, some of the laws put in place to safeguard the lives of women and girl-child were not implemented. This constituted a serious impediment in the fight against the practice.
“At a stakeholders’ meeting held recently, we agreed that part of the policy thrust should be that steps must be taken on how to take care of the emotional needs of victims before seeking or getting justice through the court of law.
“Most of the victims used to be emotionally down, because we have all failed them at one time or the other; that is why we must rise up to fight this scourge,” she said.
The first lady stressed that the three key areas that needed to be examined by stakeholders included the causes of gender-based violence, how to use legal framework to resolve some of the issues revolving around this scourge and how to break the culture of silence among victims.
“The third one is how to focus on inter-agency collaboration, because this is not a problem that can be solved by a body", she said.
A Court of Appeal judge, Justice Uzor Ndukwe- Anyanwu who was also present at the meeting expressed worries over the rate of violence against women in Ekiti.
She added that this menace had been an issue of interest to Nigerian All Female Judges Association, particularly how to resolve the problem and make women safe wherever they go.
“Ekiti has this as a big problem. I am worried that we have it in this proportion. It is not something cultural as people want us to believe,” she said.
Justice Uzor however urged mothers to be observant and create time for their female children as many of these children were in pain and needed someone to confide in, hence, their mothers should be the closest person to observe that.
Founder of the Mirabel Centre Lagos, Mrs Itoro Ezegwu who talked as a lead speaker on the second issue of establishing a referral centre for victims of Sexual Violence in the State, shared some of their experiences at the Lagos centre and how they were able to maintain and sustain the place.