By Patrick Odey
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has called for concerted efforts by relevant stakeholders and authorities towards eliminating all forms of Gender-Based Violence against women and the girl child.
He decried the rate of violence of gender-based in the country and called for awareness to be created to promote the rights of women and enforcement of punitive measures against offenders to serve as deterrents
Emmanuel stated this on Thursday during a courtesy visit to him by the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum led by the Chairperson and first lady of Ekiti State Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi at the Executive Chambers, Government House Uyo.
While thanking the Nigerian Governors Wives Forum for leading the fight against sexual and gender-based violence, the governor said his administration identified with the vision and programmes of NGWF to address the challenges of the girl child.
He maintained that three referral hospitals have been built in the senatorial districts to intervene in cases of sexually assaulted victims who need help.
“If we had started this in time past, I think the awareness would have been much and a lot could have been achieved. All the issues outlined have been there in time past either they were not reported or there wasn’t any kind of awareness on the right privileges on the people who were victims to raise an alarm wherever there is abuse.
“I don’t think there is any state in Nigeria today that the governor is not aware that he needs to at least have a referral center for sexual assault victims.
“In Akwa Ibom, I have three centers, one in Eket, Uyo, and Ikot Ekpene and I am establishing one now at Oron”.
He commended the NGWF for choosing Akwa Ibom to host their Annual Retreat and lauded their initiatives and commitment to creating awareness on the need to eradicate all forms of gender-based violence.
Earlier in her remarks, the Chairperson of NGWF, Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, who is also the wife of Ekiti State Governor, thanked Governor Emmanuel for hosting the retreat in the state.
She said NGWF is concerned over the high rate of drug abuse and its effects on society and on children, adding that there was the need to educate the girl child, prevent gender-specific cancer and its treatment and increase access for women in leadership and decision-making.
The Chairperson of the NGWF, lauded the proactive measures of the Akwa Ibom State Government in declaring a state of emergency against Gender-Based Violence, adding that wives of Governors have domiciled the programme in their various states and called on the need to sustain the programme beyond the present administration.