The Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) has reaffirmed its stance against all forms of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) through enhanced collaboration with those who strive to give women a voice in society.

Speaking at a forum with Women-Focused NGOs and Governmental Agencies on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, the Permanent Secretary of  WAPA, Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo said to effectively curb SGBV, there is a need for symbiotic liaison between EU Spotlight Initiative as well as Non-Governmental Organisations with the State Government. This will adequately cater for the rising scourge of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Lagos State.

She explained that the soaring increase of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence within the Society has prompted psychosocial interventions from the EU Spotlight Initiative which comprises UN Women, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), along with other Government Agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations to ensure a seamless support system for the indigent as well as vulnerable Lagos Women residents.

Her words, ”Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is a pulsating menace in our society that is often induced by economic challenges. Hence, it is imperative to go all out to curb this societal ill which subtly affects our men too, since most of them also face verbal attacks, threats and control dynamics. I want to sincerely applaud efforts by our partners at supporting women within the Lagos Metropolis”.

“However, I want to categorically state that at most times, when the relationship turns sour, women bear the brunt of it all, making them quite vulnerable to move on or even stand on their feet. It is, therefore, our focal charge to ensure that women do not stay in the dark about what can make their lives better”, the Permanent Secretary added.

While calling for sustained collaborative efforts in eradicating all forms of SGBV, Kalesanwo implored the participants to encourage aggressive awareness campaigns and policy changes that promote gender equality through the support systems of existing Gender-Oriented Organisations.  

Also speaking, Mr. Yinka Akibu, a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist with EU Spotlight Initiative, informed that its efforts were intended to enhance the decision-making process using remodifications that will ensure Professionalism amongst gender experts.

He said, “There is a modality through which the EU Spotlight Initiative work with Lagos State Government. 30% of the allocation is being given to the State Government using Ministries, Departments and Agencies whose purview absorbs women-related issues, with the remaining 70% of such allocation for Women-focused Organisations that are closer to these indigents at the grassroots. These sponsors expect optimal delivery at eradicating all forms of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence towards building a progressive Society”.

Akibu, therefore, urged all Women-Focused NGOs under the initiative to be advocates of good statesmanship as core professionals through enhanced visibility and concise documentation processes, upon assessment through zonal visits of the EU Spotlight officials in a few weeks.