Plans are underway to set up a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) court to handle issues relating to sexual abuses and violence against residents of Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun said on Wednesday.
He also restated the state’s commitment to gender equality, noting that serious steps have been taken towards strengthening relevant laws and agencies.
“We have domesticated the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act and inaugurated its management committee, chaired by the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun.
“We have also reinforced our Sex and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) response network by establishing a sexual assault referral centre, incident registers at police stations, and working out plans on setting up special courts for related cases.”
Mr Abiodun made this known while receiving Ulla Mueller, a representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Nigeria and some other officials, in his office.
With Mrs Mueller were Mark Hutchinson, international operations manager, Lagos, and Omolaso Omosehin, the Lagos liaison office head.
In the statement signed by his spokesperson, Kunle Somorin, he disclosed that his administration has approved the payment of the counterpart funding for the year 2020 to the agency.
“This will be the first payment in the last five years, despite the continued support we have continued to receive from the agency in the areas of family planning; maternal health; response to gender-based violence; population dynamics and education.”
Also, he praised the UNFPA for remaining a dependable and committed ally despite the fact that the state had not fulfilled its obligations for some time now, assuring that this year’s counterpart funding would be released to the agency.
“This administration in line with our priorities saw the need to strengthen our partnership with you and we immediately resolved that we will begin to put things right, that is the reason why we paid the first tranche of our counterpart funding to you.
“It is also noteworthy of note that despite the fact that the counterpart funding was not forthcoming, your agency remained a dependable and committed ally to the state,” he said.
In her remarks, Mrs Mueller appreciated the governor for approving the payment of its counterpart funding despite paucity of funds, congratulating the state for being among the lowest in terms of the global level of maternal mortality rate in the country.
“Mueller added that the state also had a contraceptive prevalence rate of 32.1%, which means the state was not far from the family planning 2020 commitment, of 38 per cent, and called on the people of the state to join government in fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Mr Somorin quoted.
In the past few months, Nigerians have protested the incessant rape incidents and other gender-based violence across the country.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported the case of Barakat Bello, who was raped and killed by hoodlums in Ibadan; Vera Omozuwa, a 100-level student of microbiology at the University of Benin; and Hadiza Saidu’s daughter and niece, who were both raped by a neighbour.
The scourge has prompted a state of emergency declared by the Nigerian Governors Forum on the increasing rate of sexual and gender-based violence in the country.
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