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Ogun’ll protect victims of gender-based violence – Gov Abiodun

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Ogun’ll protect victims of gender-based violence – Gov Abiodun

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Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State on Wednesday said the state government would provide a befitting accommodation for victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the state.

Abiodun disclosed in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the state capital when he received his wife and other women, who were on a road show as part of activities for the 16 days’ Activism Against Gender Based Violence in the state.

He acknowledged that gender violence has become pronounced among males and females in the country.

The governor assured that the state government would provide a befitting building to serve as a shelter for people that have been sexually harassed or subjected to other forms of molestation in the state.

The shelter, he said, will save them from the stigma usually associated with the problem.

Abiodun opined that the government would also work towards instituting a Gender Based Violence Trust Funds to finance the welfare of the victims.

“You want us to ensure that we have a befitting shelter and you made a case for that, and you emphasized the fact that people abused in the house or at home can not go back home. There are those who do not have anywhere else to go back to. There is a lot of stigma associated with those who are abused.

“I believe that we have identified somewhere previously, but I am told that it may not be befitting.

“By this, I am now instructing the Secretary to the State Government to work with the Ministry of Housing to identify either a building; if they can’t find one, we identify a parcel of land and we will construct a befitting building to serve as the needed shelter for those persons who have been subjected to all kinds of sexual harassment,” he said.

The governor also spoke on the call for a specialized court to try cases of gender based violence in the state, saying “Fortunately, our head of court in Ogun State is a woman. In fact, the two courts we have, the state High ourt and the Customary Court of Appeal, are both headed by women. I am sure that the Chief Judge will be more than happy to see what she can do to expedite the request.”

He assured that his administration would support women at the executive level and at the judiciary to ensure that all that is required to reduce gender violence to the barest minimum in the state, is implemented.

Abiodun specifically mentioned the need to look into violence against men.

He said: “I also want to bring to the fore that violence against persons is not only violence against women alone. Men also are being abused. But often times, nobody talks about that, and I want to be the advocate for men who are being abused.

“On the Gender Based Violence Trust Fund, I will do everything that I can to ensure that we sit down and plan on how to mobilize resources towards this noble cause.

“Once again, I want to assure you that I do identify with you and as your Governor, I will do everything within my power to ensure that we reduce this incidence of gender based violence to an absolute minimum in Ogun State.”

Wife of the governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun noted that there was an increase in cases of rape and incest in the society, calling for the provision of a safe space for those who have been abused or harassed.

Earlier, an expert on gender based violence, Dr. Mojisola Akinsanya noted that there was an urgent need to relocate women who have experienced violence at home for them to have a peaceful place to stay.

Akinsanya, who advocated for a Gender Based Violence Trust Fund in the state, acknowledged poverty as the driving force for GBV, noting that once women are well empowered, they would adequately cater for themselves.