The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Thursday, received members of the Southern Governors Wife Forum (SGWF), charging them on the need to support efforts at checking food insecurity.
The governor, who received the guests led by the chairman of the forum and the wife of Osun State Governor, Mrs. Kafayat Oyetola, at the Government House, Benin City, said his government will sustain reforms and programmes to end all forms of gender violence against women and girls in the state.
Obaseki, also received his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Udom Emmanuel, who was in the state to seek the support of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegates ahead of the party’s primaries for the presidential race.
Addressing members of the Southern Governors Wife Forum, the governor said his government “will continue to demonstrate the political will to support and protect young boys and girls against sexual based violence.
Be rest assured that, as a government, we will continue to support your efforts along this line.”
Members of the SGWF include the first ladies of Edo, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Abia, Ogun, Ekiti, Delta, Lagos and Oyo States.”
Obaseki said, “Protection of rights is key to our administration as we have committed lots of resources to this. We already have a budget planning for gender-based violence (GBV) in our budget this year. We will continue to pull in resources to support the GVB centers across the 18 local government areas in Edo State.”
Noting that his administration is gender sensitive, Obaseki noted that he appointed eight female commissioners as a part of his cabinet.
He noted, “We don’t play with gender issues in Edo State. We are in line with what the SGWF represents as the group.
They represent unity in Nigeria. Despite the divide in our political outlook, you continue to work very closels if there is no divide. It’s significant for the unity of this country. If there is anything we need the most today, it is the unity of the country. You represent unity; you epitomize unity of Nigeria.”
Narrating some of the government’s efforts in tackling gender-based violence in the state, Obaseki added, “We were worst hit several years ago when a young lady, Vivian Ogu, was murdered in the state on the account of sexual violence. We were also united to condemn the act on the murder of Omozuwa Uwaila, who was also sexually abused and murdered.
“The state understands the pain the victims and their families go through. As a state, we have zero tolerance for sexual based violence in the state.”
He further noted, “Our EdoBEST programme is to make sure our pupils learn and get knowledge while going to school. We will continue to emphasize girl-child education.
“Also, we are focusing on drug abuse. As a state, we are collaborating with relevant agencies to stem the rising tide of drug abuse.”
On checking food insecurity, the governor stated, “Our country is going through a trying and difficult time following the amount of increase in food prices in Nigeria in the last two months. This has thrown millions of Nigerians into hunger as people are being pushed into hunger. You must raise your voices to enable us to address this issue like we have done with gender-based violence and drug abuse in states.
“We should put pressure on federal authorities that rather than subsidising petrol, we should move the subsidy to food so that people can eat well. We call on our mothers to join us so that we can prioritize the issue of food in Nigeria.”
Noting that the fight against gender-based violence has achieved remarkable progress, the Chairman Nigeria Governors Wife Forum (NGWF), Orelu Bisi Adeleye Fayemi said, “The group thanked our husbands under the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for their support and encouragement given to the NGWF on tackling gender– based violence in Nigeria.”
Mrs. Oyetola on her part commended the governor of Edo State for his developmental strides in the state, especially in education and human capacity development, adding, “Your Making Edo Great Again (MEGA) Agenda is quite inspiring and it’s transforming lives already in the state.”
Also, Edo First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki said the NGWF has shown capacity to promote unity in the country, urging governors to support women in their states to run for elective positions.