In order to engender a proper understanding of the initiative on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, with a specific focus on women, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) has organised a workshop for youths in Lagos with the theme: “Orange the World, Stop Gender-Based Violence Amongst Women and Girls Now”.

Speaking at the workshop held on Monday at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, said there is a need for sustained efforts to ensure the safety of the female gender from negative influences being fostered by society.

She said: “The Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation is saddled with the responsibility of protecting, supporting and empowering all women within Lagos State to achieve their full potentials socially, physically, economically and politically”.

“All acts of violence against women and girls have been classified as a deterrent to women’s productivity, reproductive health, mental and physical well-being globally. Thus, this initiative is a global awareness designed by the United Nations to sensitise the general populace on violence against women and girls”, Dada added

While explaining the essence of the training, the Commissioner reiterated that there was ample need for remodification of lifestyles, through behavioural changes, emphasising that positive masculinities must be geared towards promoting gender equality values within the society.

The Director, Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Dr. Babajide Martins, stated that the high level of illiteracy in the country has made it imperative for consistent enlightenment and campaigns to educate more people to foster change across all strata of the society.

He said: “So many survivours of Gender-Based Violence do not bother to seek justice because they feel they cannot get it. However, Lagos State Government is quite particular about what happens to its citizens. That is why there is an existing Sexual Offenders Register for perpetrators who have been prosecuted by the State’s Directorate of Public Prosecution”.

He maintained that no one has ever been above the law to subvert justice against crimes committed and urged those who are victims of Gender-Based Violence to seek justice through the State’s Directorate of Public Prosecution or Office of the Public Defender”.

Also speaking, the Assistant Director of Social Welfare in the Ministry of Youths and Social Development, Mrs. Modupeola Sahid-Adebambo, charged the participants to become advocates and change agents against the societal menace being triggered by cultural practices, negative influences and poor educational standards. 

She listed various Public Agencies and Units that handle Sexual and Gender-Based related offences to include the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, the Child Protection Unit in the Ministry of Youth and Social Development and the Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency.

A participant at the event, Mr. David Okene, expressed appreciation to the Ministry for organising the programme, noting that youths as leaders of tomorrow need to be well equipped with details of building a better future that will never stifle the voice of the female gender within the Nigerian society.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10th December, which is observed as Human Rights Day.