By Olayinka Owolewa
Omu-Aran (Kwara) – The Kwara Government has restated commitment to channel adequate resources toward ending all forms
of violence and negative treatment against women and children in the state.
Mrs Deborah Aremu, the state’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, also pledged commitment to work toward curbing Harmful Traditional Practices (HTP) against women and girls during community stakeholders sensitisation at the palace of the Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti in Omu-Aran, Kwara.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders sensitisation on Wednesday was tagged: “Community Engagement on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence”,
spearheaded by the Rapid Response Team of the women affairs ministry.
The sensitisation was conducted in collaboration with Global Hope for Women and Children Foundation (GLOHWOC), Global Affairs Canada, ActionAid Nigeria,
as well as Women Voice and Leadership project Nigeria (WVL).
Other stakeholders at the meeting were officials of the National Orientation Agency, led by its state Director, Mr Oluesgun Adeyemi and members of two Community Based
Organisations (CBO) – Omu-Aran Women Forum and Golden Sisters Omu-Aran.
In her address of welcome, the women affairs commissioner said that “the state government, under the leadership of Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is better focused and
determined to give women in the state a new lease of life devoid of violence and negative treatment.”
She said that the government, through the ministry, was collaborating with GLOHWOC and other stakeholders to explore various avenues to ensure that all forms of violence and abuses such as rape, battery and forceful marriage, became a thing of the past.
According to her, government alone cannot shoulder these enormous responsibility, hence the need for collaboration and sensitisation to actively involve community leaders and organisations
to achieve the desired result.
Aremu added that “at the inception of this administration, our governor ensured that nine members of his cabinet are women; this shows the high regard and importance the government attaches to women transformation.
“There are other ongoing measures, policy programmes, incentives and palliatives being put in place by the administration toward adding values and impacting on the living standard of the people of the state, especially vulnerable women.”
Mrs Afusat Ibrahim, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, who corroborated Aremu’s remarks, said that the state government
had been working toward ending child trafficking, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), street hawking and child exploitation.
She mentioned others as forceful marriage, low enrollment of the girl-child in school, wife battery, rape, too much domestic and family responsibilities on women,
as well as enforcement of the Violence Against persons (prohibition) Act (VAPP) and the Child Rights Law.
“We are advocating for stronger community policies at the grassroots; we want women to be allowd to own their own assets and resources,
parents to be sensitised on gender parity to allow for gender equality, among others.”
Mr Olusegun Adeyemi, the state’s Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), stressed the need for collective support to achieve the desired freedom against unwarranted abuses against the womenfolk.
Oba Abduraheem Adeoti, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, urged government at all levels to ensure the provision of essential amenities for the citizenry, saying that “majority of victims of rape and other abuses are vulnerable members in the society.
“Government must see to the well-being of the generality of the citizenry, especially the less privileges and vulnerable.
“We thank God that we are bestowed with a working governor who is passionate about the socio-economic development of the state and the people.”
Mrs Christy Abayomi-Oluwole, the Chief Executive Officer of GLOHWOC said that the organisation viewed the incessant violence and abuses against women and children as unethical, ungodly which must be totally and collectively tackled and eradicated.
She said that the foundation had mapped out measures and strategies in collaboration with the rapid response team toward assisting victims of such violence and abuses.
She added that “we are working with the rapid response team through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to reduce to barest minimum, the unwarranted abuses and negative treatment being meted out to our women and children.”
According to her, the rate of Gender Based Violence had been a source of concern, “especially those targeted at minors who are too tender to give any kind of self-protection against this menace.
“From the records, between 1989 and 2020, only 65 convictions were recorded from Gender Based Violence cases.
“This is not acceptable and must be addressed.”
Mrs Idayat Durodoye, a representative of the Omu-Aran Women Forum, said members of the forum had been trained and had received necessary financial and material
support from GLOHWOC to tackle the menace.
She listed the group’s area of jurisdiction to include the three wards in Omu-Aran namely; Aran, Ihaye and Ifaja wards in Irepodun Local Government Area of the state.