By Ime Silas
Wife of the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Her Excellency, Dr. (Mrs.) Olufolake Abdulrazaq, has reiterated that her office in partnership with the National Orientation Agency, would continue in organizing awareness campaigns against rape and other violent crime against women.
The Kwara First Lady made this known today in her address presented at the occasion of road walk sensitization programme against rape and gender-based violence organized by her office.
Speaking, the governor’s wife decried the increasing rate of rape and gender-based violence nationwide, noting that the negative effects of the callous act cannot be overemphasized.
She said “It gives me great pleasure to address gentlemen of the press and indeed every stakeholder present here today as we all continue to make efforts to eliminate vices that have physical, moral, and psychological negative effects on victims.
The increasing rate of rape and gender-based violence nationwide is no doubt a cause for concern and as stakeholders, we cannot afford to fold our hands as the negative effect of the callous act cannot be over-emphasized.
It is in the light of the above that my office, the Office of the First Lady Kwara State in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency, Kwara State has embarked on an intensive campaign against rape and gender-based violence and I want to specially commend the Agency for its proactive effort on this issue as well as other germane national issues”.
Mrs. Abdulrazaq further noted that her Foundation, the Ajike People’s Support Centre, had been at the forefront of the anti-rape campaigns as well as efforts at empowering the women, youths and children through skill acquisition.
She said “As a mother, I feel pained each time I hear or read about cases of sexual violence against women, particularly the girlchild and that is why through my foundation, the Ajike People’s Support Centre, we have been at the forefront of campaigning against gender-based violence and contributing our quota to the society especially by assisting women, children and the youths with skill acquisition.
“Let me reiterate that as an advocate for gender-based issues, we will continue to have awareness discussions aimed at averting violence among women and I urge women to learn how to speak out, be bold and shun stigmatization”.
While calling for a massive investment in the girl-child education, which she said had a role to play in the tackling the scourge, Her Excellency continued, “Furthermore, I want to underscore the importance of girl-child education in eliminating this evil. We cannot afford to leave them behind because when you educate the girl-child, you educate a nation. I wish to also emphasize that rape has too many damaging effects on individuals which can last for a lifetime if care is not taken. And that is why I want to urge parents, guardians, law enforcement officers, and indeed everyone to play their part well in the elimination of this vice without fear or favor.
“I am convinced that if we would holistically tackle this menace as a society, we must do more than talk, but put words into action in our individual capacity and collectively.
As members of the society, it is high time we stopped treating gender violence and rape cases with kids’ gloves but attend to it as a criminal act which it is and desist from sweeping under the carpet, rape cases under the guise of family ties or other unacceptable excuses.
As we continue with the road walk today and sustain efforts to tackle rape and gender-based violence, I call on everyone to see themselves as ambassadors of this project and continue to play their parts effectively, cooperate with the Kwara State government and our society will be better for it”.