Barely two months of signing the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act(VAPPA), into law in Ondo State by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, and consequently the inauguration of the Agency Against Gender-Based Violence, (OSAA-GBV), a Strategic Plan Development workshop, aimed at determining approaches and policies towards achieving a free GBV State has commenced.

The four days workshop, organised by the Office of Ondo State First Lady, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs started today for Stakeholders in the fight against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), held at Heritage hotel Ijapo Estate, Akure, the State capital.

Declaring the workshop openned, the Ondo First Lady, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu was optimistic that upon the conclusion of the programme, a world-class standard would have been set for smooth operation of OSAA-GBV which would serves as a model for other States.

Ondo State First Lady

She assured the members OSAA-GBV of government’s readiness to provide necessary support for the agency; while identifying lack of fund as a major problem needed to be tackled in order for the agency to achieve its vision statement.

The Ondo First Lady and Ada OWERE 1, who was an active participant at the workshop, brainstormed with the Stakeholders and the Facilitators to arrived at vision and mission statements for the Agency, including identification of factors that exacerbate GBV, and progresses made in stemming it in Ondo State.

Tariah Adams, a Strategic Consultant from TRESCORP Global Resources, who presented a paper on Gender-Based Violence, its types, impacts, and factors that exacerbate it; including the progresses made so far in Ondo State, hinted that one in every three women experienced GBV in Nigeria.

She added that 20% females between 15-49years undergone SGBV, 27% of school girls in Ondo State confessed to have been pressurized sexually by their teachers, while 79% girls said they were harrassed by their male classmates.

Ondo First Lady with the stakeholders

She identified factors that exacerbate GBV to include, weak and non-existent Policy and legal framework and their implementation; existing discriminatory laws and policies that repressed the right of women, and socio-cultural practices, among others.

Commending the efforts of the state government in the fight against GBV, Adams highlighted some achievements recorded by Akeredolu-led administration to include signing VAPPA into law, setting up the OSAA-GBV, and functional emergency centre with a toll free numbers for victims to contact.

Earlier, Mr Tonte Ibraye who analysed the expectations of the workshop, commended Ondo First Lady for championing the fight against GBV and for her numerous initiatives towards achieving a GBV-free state, while describing her as a passionate woman who doesn’t take the issues of women, girls and other vulnerable groups, with levity.

The workshop featured group works that entailed formulation of Vision and Mission statements by all participants, and joint analysis of Political, Economic, Social, and Technological challenges to be addressed by OSAA-GBV in achieving the vision statement.

The participants arrived at a vision statement for the agency, which is ‘an Ondo State Free From All Forms of GBV’, with Mission statements that include ‘To coordinate all activities against GBV’ in the state.

Stakeholders at the event included Representatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigeria Police Force, National Council of Women Societies, Federation of Female Lawyers, Ministry of Women Affairs, Foundation of Wives of Ondo State Government Officials, Civil Societies in the fight against GBV, and Betty Anyanwu- Akeredolu Foundation (BAAF).

Mary Agidi
Special Assistant on Media to the Governor
(Office of the First Lady)
Sept., 8th 2021