Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has called for coordinated efforts to curtail sexual assault and gender-based violence particularly in the State and Nigeria in general.
The call, according to her, became necessary in order to stem the rising cases of all forms of violence in the State and also restore confidence to survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence.
The First Lady, made the call on Wednesday while inaugurating the newly established Idera Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) at the Alimosho General Hospital in Lagos.
While appreciating the British Council, European Union (EU) and the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC) for collaborating with the State Government to strengthen the war against sexual and domestic violence through the establishment of the Centre, the Governor’s wife said that the establishment of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) within the hospital, would provide the needed care for traumatised victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
According to her, the establishment of the centre complements and rightly confirms the commitment of the State government to stamp out the menace and bring dignity to both men and women while also restoring sanity within the society.
“I want to commend the EU, British Council and ROLAC for their support in making this centre a reality. I believe that more collaboration and efforts like this are what we need from our stakeholders because this gesture will further complement our advocacy drive towards reducing Gender-Based Violence (GBV)”, she said.
Speaking on the choice of Alimosho General Hospital as the location for the Centre, Dr. Sanwo-Olu explained that the centre was strategically located in Alimosho, considering the huge population of residents of the area and in order to effectively cater for the needs of Lagosians within the local government and its environs.
Also speaking at the event was the State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, saying that the fight against sexual assault should be approached from a multi-sectorial response in order to tackle the menace.
The Commissioner commended the EU, British Council, ROLAC for their support, pledging that the Ministry would continue to collaborate with partners to make access to care readily available for victims.
Abayomi averred that SARC would be integrated into the Ministry’s response to sexual violence crimes, adding that the Centre will avail more victims the opportunity to seek proper care and help whenever there is a need for such.
In his remarks, the Medical Director, Alimosho General Hospital, Dr. Madewa Adebajo, promised that the centre would be put to good use for the benefit of the victims, urging Alimosho residents to speak out whenever there is a case of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and take advantage of the Centre that has just been established within the hospital to access adequate care and support.
In his Goodwill message, the Chairman, Alimosho Local Government Area, Mr. Jelili Sulaiman, described the gesture as timely and well appreciated by all stakeholders and the communities in Alimosho area.
He promised, on behalf of the community, to safeguard the facility and make optimal use of its services.
Also, Mr. Danladi Plang, the National Programme Manager of ROLAC, said that increasing number of GBV and other forms of sexual assault in the country were alarming.
Plang said that the body had so far established 30 SARC centres, Alimosho inclusive, to provide care and succour to victims in 17 States across the country.