By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
The wife of the Governor of Ogun State, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun has asserted that the war against gender based violence and rape can only be won with the commitment of all and sundry.
She maintained that the responsibility is that of everyone in the society, including the Judiciary, Police, Traditional leaders and Religious Bodies.
Mrs. Abiodun, who made the assertion in her address at the commissioning of the Family Support Unit of the Otta Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Ogun State, promised to always support the Unit and others will be set up across the state.
She said ” FSU is a safe haven, where our people, no matter how young or old, can come forward and speak up without fear, if they are experiencing any form of violence It is the first step to recovery, and hopefully to a future free of abuse”.
According to her, His Excellency Governor Dapo Abiodun inaugurated the Management Committee of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law, of which she’s the chairperson.
The Governor’s wife emphasized that the committee is saddled with a single mandate, which is to ensure that the VAPP Law works effectively to produce the intended results in the fight against all forms of domestic violence.
She however pointed out that the greatest deterrent against crime is law enforcement.
She said: “ When perpetrators of crime know that they will face the consequences of their action, they will think twice before engaging in those kinds of acts. However, what happens if crime is not reported? What will become of the victims of domestic violence if they do not feel safe to speak up about what they are facing?
“It means that the offender will go scot-free, likely inflicting their violence on other victims. For many years, this has been the case in our country; this year, things are changing, and the days of the lawbreaker are numbered.”
She added that, I am happy that we are inaugurating the FSU Centre in the Area Command, and as I said earlier in the year, a robust approach to information, education and communication on domestic violence is needed across our state. People need to, not only know that the Family Support Unit exists, but they can come here to be safe.
“Informational programs about the unit should be extended to the entire community in Sango, Ota and its environs and people should be encouraged to come forward to make complaints. Also, survivors should not be made to face societal stigma just because a family member is being duly punished under the law for a crime they committed. “
Earlier in his welcome address, The Assistant Commissioner of Police Otta Area Command, ACP Monday Agbonika said it couldn’t have come at a better time than now that there is a general call for police reforms.
He explained that the FSU was to be an upgrade of the traditional Nigeria Police Juvenile Welfare Center, where cases of juvenile offences such as missing or found children, sexual offences against minors will be handled.
According to him, ” The FSU Ota vision became possible and it would be traced to the period when the British Department for International Development (DFID), in their justice for all (J4A) Programmed started a model police station project in 2011, the idea as to have designated police stations nationwide as a models where activities would be trialed, with a room for regular adjustment for gender based violence, that was what gave birth to the Family Support Unit”.
Agbonika hinted that those who will be handling the cases were trained by the honourable Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the State, Mr. Gbolahan Adeniran to the best international standard, while the facilities are well equipped.
He lauded the Inspector General of Police Muhammed Adamu and the Commissioner of Police Ogun State, CP Edward Ajogun for their fatherly role over the success of the project, the
In his remark, the Olota of Ota, Oba Abdulkabir Obalanlege implored the police to ensure that the law takes its full course in the fight against assault on women and children.
The monarch, who noted that the judiciary also has significant role to play in the prosecution of rape suspects, added that if women have a happy home and take good care of their children, the cases of rape and gender violence would reduce.
The traditional ruler appealed to all couples to see themselves as partners in progress, pointing out that both husband and wife have a role to play in the reduction of cases of gender based violence.
“Because of the oppressive nature of men, we see women as a weaker vessel, which is not supposed to be so, we should always see them as our partner, in my palace I always have cases of gender based violence which they always brought before me on a daily basis. I want to appeal to all men and woman that we all have a role to play in the reduction of cases of gender based violence and rape in the society”, he enthused.