We are determined to stamp out Gender-Based Violence in Lagos – Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu

…Unveils Activities To Mark 16 Days Of Activism Against GBV

Lagos State First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, vowed that the State Government will continue to implement various initiatives aimed at stamping out the heinous crime of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), especially against women and children.

Sanwo-Olu, who spoke during a press briefing held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, to unveil activities lined up to mark this year’s Lagos GBV Week and the global 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women and girls, said the commitment of the present administration remains the same, which is zero tolerance to all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.

According to her, “Today is another great day in the annals of Lagos State as we jointly march forward in our quest to frontally stamp out all forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), especially against women and children in our communities across the State”.

“Essentially, we are here to unveil activities we have lined up in furtherance of the Lagos State Gender-Based Violence Week designed to scale up awareness and galvanise action. This is to ensure eradication of the menace of violence against women and girls in our dear State”, she added.

She said the Lagos GBV Week was being championed through a collaborative effort between her Office and critical stakeholders including the Ministries of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Youth and Social Development, Justice, Education, Health, Information and Strategy, Lagos State Judiciary and the Nigeria Police Force.

“It is also in line with the cause being championed by the 36 First Ladies in Nigeria, via our forum, to collectively end rape in the country, as well as the global 16 Days of Activism of the United Nations, which is an annual campaign to end violence against women”, she said.

Speaking on the Y2020 UN Campaign – “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect”, the First Lady said it was necessitated by the challenges brought about by the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, which according to her, effectively altered life and ensured an unanticipated lockdown not just in Nigeria, but across the world.

“As all efforts were geared towards battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of an already-existing pandemic of rape and violence against women and children were relegated to the background, and the result was a worrisome and an alarming spike in rape cases across the country. My office and other stakeholders have been collaboratively working to address the menace”, Mrs. Sanwo-Olu noted.

On activities for the GBV Week, Dr. Sanwo-Olu said plans have been concluded to embark on a massive Social Media Campaign, Identification of Complaint Platforms, Documentary and Docudrama as well as Sensitisation of various Women Groups.

She added that a working visit would be paid to Office of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) in Alausa, as well as the Gender Desk Unit of the Nigeria Police Force in Panti, among others.

The First Lady averred that the highpoint of the GBV Week will be a visit to Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, who has been commendably supportive and led efforts to fight the heinous crime of rape and all forms of Gender-Based Violence in the State.

While noting that a Compendium of Stakeholders’ Meetings on Gender-Based Violence in Lagos State will also be presented to Mr. Governor during the visit, Mrs. Sanwo-Olu pointed out that “the aim of doing this is that we envision a society where Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is reduced to the barest minimum and we are determined to achieve this by working collaboratively and effectively with relevant stakeholders”.

On her part, Wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat urged members of the public to join the effort of the State Government to drastically reduce the menace of rape and all forms of gender-based violence.

The press conference was attended by relevant stakeholders including the Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos Branch, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, representatives of African Women Lawyers Association, Youth Council of Nigeria and Parents Forum in Lagos State, among others.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.