The Lagos State Government on Thursday flagged off a one month long awareness campaign against all forms of domestic and sexual violence crimes, just as it urged the men folk to lead the quest to put an end to the menace.
The State Government, which made the call at a media parley organized by its Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, said the campaign should not be left alone to the women folk, adding that all hands must be on deck to frontally address it.
Speaking on the activities lined up to celebrate the month, the State's Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem said the theme of this year's event: "Promoting Positive Masculinity, Men Can End Sexual And Gender Based Violence," was carefully selected and same centered on the compelling need to ensure men act as flag bearers in the fight against such crimes.
Kazeem, who was represented by DSVRT's Alternate Chairman, Mrs Omotilewa Ibirogba said the campaign would kick off on September 8, with a walk from Ikeja Under Bridge at 9am to Lagos House in Alausa where they would be received by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, while there would be a simultaneous walk from Festac Divisional Police Station to Federal Housing Authority where participants would be received by the Sole Administrator of Amuwo Odofin Local Government and the Priest of Anglican Cathedral Church in the area.
He said a one-day symposium on the role of men in ending Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) targeted at artisans, market men and women, members of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), police officers, among others, would take place at Muson Centre in Onikan on September 15, while an event for children will hold onSeptember 26 at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa.
The climax of the activities, according to Kazeem, is an evening of arts where SGBV will be expressed through arts, and the event will be hosted by Governor Ambode with participation of key players and influencers in the society who have helped in the fight against SGBV in Lagos, adding that deserving individuals and private institutions will also be honored at the event.
Kazeem, who is also the Chairman of DSVRT, said in furtherance of the Team's objectives to be a repository of data, a detailed research was carried out in February 2016 in all prison facilities in Lagos on sex convicts and inmates awaiting trial for SGBV cases.
"Results of the research disclosed that 80.9 percent of the inmates were abused as a child implying that they had become sexually active at an early age which illustrates the trend of 'abused abuser.'
"Furthermore, DSVRT has also scientifically discovered that a lot of attention has been on females, unconsciously neglecting males who have a major role to play in tackling and preventing SGBV," Kazeem said.
Also speaking at the media parley, Public Relations Officer of Lagos State Police Command, Dolapo Badmos, said there has been an increase in the report of SGBV crimes to law enforcement agencies over the past few months, adding that the Command was working closely with the Office of the Attorney General of the State and the DSVRT to frontally address the issue.
She said from the recent reports and investigation, it was discovered that the major perpetrators of sexual offences were religious leaders hiding under religion to commit such heinous crimes.
She said just few days ago, about 30 girls were rescued from an acclaimed man of God, adding that the State's Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni had already directed a discreet investigation on the case, while the public would be briefed in due course.