Samuel Ogenyi/Ugbana Ukioma, Uyo Correspondent
The Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Women Affairs and Agriculture says it has apprehended over 180 and convicted 18 offenders due to various cases of gender-based violence.
The ministry listed such offenses to include rape, child abuse, molestation and wife battering, and therefore called for the passage of the Violence Against Persons (prohibited) law in Akwa Ibom State.
In a press conference to commemorate the 2019 sixteen days of activism for the elimination of violence against women in Uyo on Monday, Commissioner for Agriculture and Women Affairs, Dr Gloria Edet said the state government has taken over the care of some of the children whose parents have been convicted, in the case of those who had no one to care for them
Edet vowed that no circumstances, nor consideration would prevent the state government from prosecuting sexual offenders against children and gender -based violence perpetrators.
The intent the commissioner explained is to end violence against women by 2030.
Speaking on the theme of the 2019 sixteen days of activism “Orange the World: Generational Equity Stands Against Rape”, Edet regretted that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical and or sexual violence in their life-time, while 11 percent of African women have experienced physical and sexual violence by an intimate partner.
“The Akwa Ibom State government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Women Affairs, notes the reported cases of rape, defilement and violence and the numerous incidents which go unreported for reasons such as stigmatisation of survivors, threats, the culture of silence, shame, intimidation etc.
“The Ministry has therefore played a paramount and active role in ensuring a violence free state for citizens and residents of Akwa Ibom State. We have, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) established the Gender Based Violence Response Unit, where cases of violence and other vices are reported with prompt actions taken on such cases.
“We have done series of sensitization against Gender Based Violence. Since October 4, 2018, when the unit was established. We have received over 180 cases and have successfully prosecuted over 18 culprits, especially cases of defilement and rape.” She said.
Speaking on the activities lined up for the commemoration of the 16 days of activism, the commissioner said the ministry would carry out a capacity building program for key stakeholders, community influencers, faith based organizations and other groups on the ills of gender based violence.
“We are also planning to carry out sensitization programmes in Secondary Schools to fight Gender Based Violence. The Ministry is equally making plans to empower the widows and celebrate the International Day for Disabled Persons, among other programmes.” She said