Lagos First Lady Urges Men To Replicate America's Anti-Racism Movement Against Rape
Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu on Thursday called on Nigerian men to replicate the ongoing massive United States anti-racism protest in Nigeria to stop sexual, gender-based violence and send a strong message against rape and its perpetrators. Speaking while receiving participants at a special All-Male awareness walk organised by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), in collaboration with Partnership For Justice and Mirabel Centre against rape in Alausa, Mrs. Sanwo-Olu said sexual violence against women and girls must be accorded the same level of seriousness with which COVID-19 pandemic was addressed to demonstrate commitment to end the menace. She commended men of good conscience who have decided to rise up to be counted for a good cause by participating in the awareness campaign aimed at highlighting the role of men in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence. She said, “It is laudable to see men come out to send a strong message against rape and ending sexual and gender-based violence in Lagos State. I am very happy that we are able to do this and I hope this will not be the last time we are going to see men coming out like this”. “I pray by the grace of God when we are going to repeat this event, we will have over 20 million men standing behind us. You know how they caused a movement in America where everybody came out; that is the type of movement we want to see here in Nigeria against rape”, she added. She said it was utterly disturbing that there had been a spike in the incidents of rape in the country, especially during the lockdown necessitated by COVID-19 pandemic, saying that available data from credible institutions confirmed unpleasant information about the menace. Speaking on the recent incidents of rape of a two-year-old girl and an 18-year-old lady in the State, the First Lady said it was unfortunate that such happened, noting that the State Government swiftly moved to take custody of the minor and gave the victims medical treatment and necessary care.
Dr. Sanwo-Olu emphasised that every effort must be made by relevant agencies of government to ensure that justice is served to perpetrators of such heinous crime not only in Lagos but across the country. She said the position of the State Government was clear on issues of rape, adding that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had declared zero tolerance on all forms of Sexual and Gender-based violence. While recalling that the Governor had earlier in the year received an award as champion for the “HeForShe” Campaign, she said the United Nations initiative was launched as part of efforts to enhance the role of women in the State. Earlier, spokesperson of the group, Chico Aligwekwe, an on-air personality and Ambassador of the Mirabel Centre, said the movement was inspired by the deep concerns by men and boys of good conscience who decided to speak up against the unending spate of the menace. He said every incident of rape casts aspersions on all men, questions masculinity, challenges claims of manhood and essence of male humanity, stressing that it was time for all men to do away with the culture of silence and truly make the society safe for all women and girls. “We call on men in our law enforcement and the justice system to rise up to the demands of our times and put an end to the growing menace of rape and sexual assault”, he said.