Sequel to the recent incessant cases of sexual harassment against minors in Nigeria, Ondo state inclusive, the wife of the State Governor, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has declared enough is enough war against the dastard act.
In her quest to provide adequate intervention, Mrs. Akeredolu has therefore convened stakeholders’ meeting at the Rotunda hall government’s house ground Alagbaka to fashion out way forward to curtail the ugly trend in the state.
At the meeting were the Human Rights Commision, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Women and children-based NGOs, Forum of the wives of State Officials, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Titi Adeyemi, female Political office holders, representatives of the Nigerian Police, NAFDAC, Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation, BAAF, parents of some victims of sexual harassment among others.
The two cases that serve as catalysts for the prompt intervention were the defilement of two girls in Irele and Owo local government areas of the state last week, age 6 and 7 respectively.
Mrs. Akeredolu who condemned the ugly development in strong term, expressed readiness to synergies with appropriate stakeholders in ensuring that assault against minors, especially rape is eradicated in the state.
She advocates massive awareness campaign against the trend, assuring that the meeting will produce a logical and convincing conclusion to curb it.
“What we have done today is to set the pace, this meeting is to send a very strong signal, that, it is no longer a business as usual; government will continue to look at us seriously that we are committed to end or reduce the incidence of rape that is almost an epidemic in Ondo state.
“As the first lady of Ondo state and the mother of all, I said I can no longer take it anymore”. She noted.
Reacting to the two recent cases, Mrs. Akeredolu enjoined parents not to endanger the lives of their children, especially girls in the name of religion, and to also ensure that children are in school at the appropriate hours.
The only female lawmaker in the state House of Assembly, Mrs. Favour Tomomewo said women need to rise up against the trend, adding that there is a need for aggressive awareness to encourage people to report cases of rape and defilement without fear of intimidation.
The commissioner for Women Affairs on her part stressed the need for strong collaboration with relevant ministries, agencies, and local governments, saying that the issue is becoming so alarming.
The meeting brought to the limelight, the newly inaugurated Ondo State Gender-based Violence Response Quad with a commitment to appoint representatives in all the local government areas of the state who will be sending distress calls to the concerned authorities in case of minors defilement and rape incidents.