Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State says the programmes and strategies initiated by government have been very effective in breaking the culture of silence by victims of Sexual and Domestic Based Violence.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his wife, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said this during the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency Governor’s Commendation and Awards Ceremony held at Ikeja on Friday night.
He said that the culture of victims being silent had made the heinous crime of domestic and sexual violence to continue to be perpetrated with impunity.
According to him, from its inception, the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency hit the ground running and in collaboration with stakeholders, has been able to achieve the success being celebrated.
”It is gratifying that all hands are on deck and I am certain that our efforts will yield the desired fruit of eradicating this menace in our society.
”Since the inception of our administration, the fight against these forms of abuse have been on the front burner and we have initiated programmes and strategies which have been very effective particularly in breaking the culture of silence under which this heinous crime has continued to be perpetrated with impunity.
”The family is the foundation of society and a stable family unit can raise strong men and women who are capable leaders in the society.
”If we want to build the Lagos of our collective desires, then we must tackle any obstacle to the peace, tranquility and positive growth of the family unit.
”This award and commendation ceremony is a culmination of the month long drive and sensitisation exercise which brings to the fore the need for an affirmative action on Domestic, Gender and Sexual violence which is destroying the fabric of our society,” he said.
The governor congratulated all the awardees for exemplified excellence and commitment to service and charged them to work even harder and come up with more innovative ways to achieve the goal of curbing domestic and sexual violence.
According to him, government’s policy of zero tolerance on issues of gender based violence is non-negotiable and it is willing and ready to collaborate with organisations and well-meaning individuals to nip the menace in the bud.
In his opening remarks, the Commissioner of Justice, Mr Moyosoro Onigbanjo, said that sexual and gender based violence was one of the most pervasive violations of human rights in the world, and the least prosecuted crimes.
Onigbanjo, who is also the Attorney-General of Lagos State, said that sexual and gender based violence was one of the greatest threats to lasting peace and development.
He said that statistics had revealed that individuals of every tribe, ethnic group, faith and background may experience domestic violence, but some communities are disproportionately affected.
According to him, in order to combat the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence, the state government is giving priority for adequate reporting and concerted effort is being made toward the prosecution of reported cases timeously.
”This important development will also help survivors receive holistic support, including medical, legal, psychosocial support, and justice.
”Whilst the data reveals that we are gradually breaking the culture of silence, we are, however, not oblivious of the fact that these issues continue to remain grossly underreported.
”I think we can all agree that the time for complacency is long gone and now is the time for stronger action.
This is of utmost importance as this administration has declared a Zero Tolerance for Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
”Violence against women, children and men has tremendous costs to communities, nations and societies.
If left unaddressed, these human rights violations pose serious consequences for current and future generations as well as our efforts to ensure peace and security in Lagos State,” he said.
Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency thanked the Lagos State Government for supporting the agency’s efforts at curbing sexual and gender based violence.
Vivour-Adeniyi said that the agency would intensify sensitisation of the populace and ensure that no perpetrator of the evil went unpunished, to serve as deterrence to others.