The Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) has vowed to enforce stiffer measures in calling perpetrators of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence to order through the use of new laws and policies across all strata of the State.

The Permanent Secretary of WAPA, Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo made this known in her address to a team from Niras International Consulting, a multi-disciplinary Engineering Consultancy, who paid a courtesy visit to the Ministry.

She explained that it has become expedient to domesticate the T.H.E.M.E.S Plus agenda of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu‘s administration, which takes Social Inclusion and Gender Parity as its focal point.

The Permanent Secretary explained that the Ministry’s policies, programmes And activities are focused on providing a safe space for women, as well as empowering them for financial independence towards becoming contributors to the socio-economic development of Lagos State.

Kalesanwo stated that Mr. Governor, who doubles as a #HeforShe Sexual and Gender-Based Champion, understands the crucial and central roles that women play in shaping society, hence, the reason for the improved T.H.E.M.E.S PLUS agenda.

She said, “Every Department and Unit in WAPA is running with the vision of Mr. Governor, which is based on the understanding that when you empower a woman, you empower a nation, therefore, he is very receptive to all initiatives designed for women self-actualisation and empowerment”.

“Mr. Governor has made this clear with the new agenda which will act as a road map for his second term in Office. Now plans are underway to ensure that perpetrators and arbitrators are fully punished within the ambit of the law on issues of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence” She said.

The Permanent Secretary urged the unemployed or underemployed to take advantage of the 20 Skills Acquisition Centres across the State, which offer various Tuition-free Vocations for a duration of six to 12 months, while also stating that the Ministry offers Four-week short-term vocational training, whereby, beneficiaries are equipped with certificates and starter packs ranging from Wig-Making and Hair-Braiding, Make-Up and Gele-Tying, Tie and Dye, Catering and Confectionaries, Garments Stoning, Pomade-Making, Insecticide and Stove Wick, Ankara Craft and Interior Decorations, amongst others”.

While reiterating the need to be open on issues of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Kalesanwo explained that victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) should be encouraged to speak up and speak out against any form of abuse, this will help them in their journey to full recovery.

She implored every member of each community members to desist from stigmatising victims and survivors, stressing that they should rather encourage them to speak out and also take all necessary actions required.

The Team lead and Expert at the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA), Mr. Mark Mcginty revealed that the visit was to enable the European Union, comprising the United Nations Spotlight Initiative, to make informed decisions that will aid the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.