Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, WAPA, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, has charged Heads of Marriage Registries to develop effective counselling services before solemnisation as part of efforts to curb the incidence of domestic violence across the State. 

The Commissioner gave the charge on Wednesday, while speaking at the maiden edition of a capacity building programme for Marriage Registrars across the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas in the State, held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Alausa Ikeja. 

Mrs. Dada informed that the rate of reported domestic violence cases at the Ministry calls for urgent intervention in order to protect the marriage institution.

She said, “WAPA believes that concerted and collective efforts of all stakeholders will contribute immensely to reducing this societal decadence, hence, the reason for this gathering. For instance, between March and August, 2020, 1614 calls were received following incidents of domestic violence, while several interventions were made by the Ministry”.

“In the same vein, between January-April 2021, a total of 325 calls had been received on issues of Domestic Violence. At least, once a week, there is always a pathetic case of a man beating, maiming or killing his wife”, Dada added.

While urging Registrars to become flag bearers of peaceful coexistence, she revealed that the result of an abused marriage has toxic effects on the children, who usually become victims of abusive relationships and worse still, become perpetrators of such ill acts themselves.

Her words: “The emotional, physical and social damage that abusive relationship creates for children; statistics have shown that domestic violence can make such experience a learned behaviour that is transferred from one generation to another. Thus, we must all come together to curb this menace”, she implored. 

Also speaking, Mrs. Modupeola Sahid-Adebambo, an Advocate for women and children, disclosed that one out of five marriages conducted through Registries across the State often have domestic violence issues before their second year anniversary. 

Mrs. Adebambo called for the need to have a universal marriage register as part of provisions to ensure men do not contract multiple marriages while the former marriage was still valid.

In her remarks, Barrister Dorcas Aderemi, Legal practitioner and Coordinator, FamilyLawNg, called for the inclusion of one legal practitioner in all counselling units across the State which, according to her, would give intending couples the platform to get necessary legal information before solemnisation. 

She said, “The marriage certificate becomes a public law which any alteration on it, has a legal penalty for defaulters. All women should make sure their physical assets have their names as presented on their marriage certificates”. 

The highlight of the event was the formal launch of the book “A Law to Provide Protection against Domestic Violence and For Connected Purpose”. 

It should be noted that recent global prevalence figures of domestic violence reveal that about one in every three women worldwide have experienced either physical or intimate sexual partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. 

Worldwide, almost one-third of women, who have been in relationships, report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their intimate partners while 38% of murder cases are being committed by an intimate partner.