To mark this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and 16 Days of Activism for no violence against Women and Children Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, led a sensitisation rally in Ado-Ekiti.
It will be recalled that the event is celebrated between November 25 to December 10 of every year worldwide to draw attention to the plight of the victims and to evolve ways of eliminating the scourge.
Since October, 2010 when the Dr Kayode Fayemi-led administration mounted the saddle, her equally vibrant and activist wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, has partnered him to give the people of the state a new lease of life.
No doubt, the First Lady has demonstrated her unrivalled passion for women’s emancipation in her more than 20 years engagements across the African continent and United Kingdom.
The election of her husband has provided a veritable platform for her to carry out her laudable programmes within a policy framework aimed at lifting the status of women.
This year’s rally was organised by the office of the wife of governor, in collaboration with the state’s ministry of women’s affairs, social development and gender empowerment.
At the well-attended rally were the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Sade Obioha, who represented her boss, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka; and Commissioner for Women’s Affairs, Mrs. Fola Richie-Adewusi.
There were representatives from the National Council of Women Societies, led by the state President, Evangelist Nike Obatayo; and the Women Wing of the state chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria, led by Chief Ronke Okusanya.
Also in attendance were members of the state chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, led by Mrs. Toyin Ajibulu; market leaders, National Association of Women Journalists, led by the chairperson, Mrs Rita Opeodu, market women and other interest groups.
In her speech at the occasion, the governor’s wife reiterated the commitment of the state government to the attainment of zero tolerance for violence against women and girls.
She affirmed that the 16 days of activism was being celebrated worldwide to enable women to share their experiences at the home front, especially as it relates to violence.
The First Lady said that the period was a time for women to demand for accountability from all the stakeholders involved in gender issues.
“Over the past one year, we have seen evidence that the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi has zero tolerance for abuse of women and girls in the state, and he has passed legislation in this state to protect us from all forms of violence.
We thank God that we have passed this legislation within the shortest time possible in Ekiti State. We have also seen that resources are being invested to ensure that we promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the state.
It is very difficult to have legislation passed, it is very difficult to have policies put into place, but when we do have them in place, there is something that is even more difficult, and that is on-going implementation.”
She also applauded the government for ensuring that the state was the first to domesticate the national gender policy, which had existed at the federal level since 2006.
The governor’s wife warned law enforcement officers against using the new Law to exploit women or to victimising men either. She also cautioned women against exploiting the opportunity to settle scores with their husbands.
To guard against possible abuse of the new Law by relevant bodies, she said that the state would be running a training programme for law enforcement officers and the judiciary to guide them on the effective usage of the law.
In a message to the occasion, the deputy governor assured the gathering that the state government would continue to protect human rights and ensure that anybody that runs foul of the law was brought to justice.
She noted that gender-based violence arises from the country’s patriarchal system which has exerted control over women physically and psychologically.
In her welcome address, the commissioner for women affairs said the essence of the gender-based violence law was to ensure that women had the opportunity of realising their potentials.
Adewusi noted that women should not be molested on the basis of their gender, adding that women had all it requires to make impact in the society.
The FIDA chairperson also expressed the preparedness of female lawyers to ensure the victims got adequate legal representation under the new law.
She read out three help lines, 08038429601, 08033581144 and 07039092575, to assist victims of gender-based violence to lodge complaints and receive instant answers to their enquiries.
Last modified: November 25, 2011