lduozee Paul, Benin Correspondent
Edo state governor, Godwin Obasekihas condemned in very strong terms acts of violence, rape, molestation,harassment, intimidation and dehumanization of women and the girl child in the state.
The governor made the condemnation when he received a coalition of women, CSOs, NGOs, other interest bodies including members of the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FlDA), who came to the Edo State Government House to protest and register their demand for an end to inhuman treatment against women and girl child.
The women who displayed placards withvarious inscriptions such as, ” Noto Jungle Justice,” No to Violence Against Women,” “No to Inhuman treatment, “No One is Above the Law,” Stop Violence Againstthe Girl Child,” “Stop ViolenceAgainst Women and Children,” “ViolenceAgainst Women Must Stop,” called for better conditions for women.
Governor Obaseki told the women that Edo state government totally condemnsthe dehumanizing of a young woman over an alleged theft of a cell phone, theplank on which the protest march was organized.
“The second issue you have raised is that of the law to ensure there is enough legal safe guard to
prosecute people who have violated the law, particularly on violence against persons. Let me say again that the Edo State government has totally condemned what has happened. We as government have zero tolerance for such conducts.
“lf you will recall, when some people were molested by their parents and guardians, we took quick actions. ln our curriculum with Edo Best, we are looking a thow we can start curbing it from classes to ensure we fish-out those students who have been abused at home, and are emotionally disturbed. We are extending it with the aid of violence against persons, some of the laws which we have sponsored through FlDA. We believe that when those laws are passed we will equally ensure that they have their full effects.”
Obaseki pointed out that beyond having laws in place, ensuring implementation is important.
“lt is one thing to have laws because we have enough laws in our book. Another aspect is to ensure we implement those laws. For us, we will not only ensure we implement the laws, but make sure we put in place the mechanisms to enforce those laws. It does not matter who is
really involved in the society,” he stressed.
The governor later took the women to his office and signed the Violence Against Persons
Prohibition Bill, 2019 into law.
He said Edo State has respect forwomen and wondered why people should carry out
violence against women, video and upload them on the internet.
“We will not support violence against women by anybody, and we will ensure that justice is served in these cases.”
Also speaking after receiving the protesting women, first lady of the state, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki said she went to the Edo State House of Assembly twice to plead with the lawmakers to make sure the law is passed. She equally condemned violent assaults on women.
She added, “Women all over the world and the entire human race collectively condemn and denounce the assault, trial by the ordeal, inhuman and degrading treatment meted on one of our daughters. This act has been widely described by Nigerians, and non- Nigerians as barbaric,
cruel, satanic, evil, wicked and most degrading. It is a crime against women and the girl child all over the world. It is indeed a crime that shocks the human conscience and cannot be tolerated.”
The governor’s wife thanked the women for organizing the protest.
“l thank you for this rally and l want to encourage you to keep on doing it. Anywhere you see
any evil act against a woman and her child, you as women in Edo State must stand up against it until the end. That is what we are expected to do as mothers; that is what God and our children need from us to fight for them at all time. l am glad that you are on the move.
“l am very sure the evil acts will stop. l join you to condemn this evil act. We should talk to our children to cultivate good behavior at home so that they will not be exposed to situations like this. We condemn violence against women and children in Edo State. This degrading of womanhood with a video of the event is a huge insult to womanhood. l believe it is a ritual, all those young boys that want to get money over night without working for it, and we also want God’s judgment to come upon everyone involved in the act. We will ensure justice is done on this issue, “Mrs Obaseki promised.