By Felix Kuyinu
Traditional rulers in Lagos State have expressed willingness to collaborate with the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, DSVA, in eradicating the rampant occurrences of sexual assault in their various kingdoms.
The royal figures made their disgruntlement known during an awareness session organized by the DSVA in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs held at the Banquet Hall, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Alausa, Ikeja Lagos.
The monarchs, 50 in number at the event, expressed huge concern over the rampant cases reported in communities in the state and country as a whole noting that it requires a drastic action in order to curtail the abnormal situation.
The Olofin Ajaiye of Orugbo Ido, Oba Adewale Abdul, while expressing kudos to the Lagos State Government, the DSVA, security agencies and the Judiciary for the indefatigable efforts in curbing sexual crimes noted that there is more to do in making the state free of such crimes.
The Royal Majesty called for more concerted effort by the state, local governments and traditional rulers including parents and guardians to push in efforts to be able to address the menace of Gender-Based Violence.
Representing HRM, Oba Kasali Semiudeen – the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Babatunde Afuwape spoke on the roles Traditional Rulers can play in Preventing Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Lagos State and proposed various ways on how they can intervene to stem the tide in preventing the menace in their communities.
He said that so many problems emanate from the home and that the aftermath effect is what lingers in the society now. He said that the Igbogbo community is awash sexual base crimes. He opined that it is dangerous to in a community enveloped in such grevious lawbreaking acts, calling on perpetrators to desist from indulging in the acts to make the communities safe for habitation.
Executive Secretary of DSVA, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, while thanking the community rulers for their support in achieving the feat of a society free from violence explained the motive behind the agency now seeking partnership from these influential members of the society in a bid to create group awareness and mutual respect, among their subordinates.
Vivour-Adeniyi said it became pivotal to involve the monarchs due to the proximity they have with residents in their kingdom. She stressed that the royal figures have become imperative as they play a vital role in swift response and prevention of domestic and sexual violence
“Today we stand united with our traditional rulers as key stakeholders with collective commitment to eradicate Sexual and Gender-Based Violence”, said Vivour-Adeniyi.
“You play a pivotal role in shaping the cultural and social fabric of our communities, your involvement is essential in spreading awareness debunking stereotypes and fostering an environment that rejects Violence.
“As royal majesties, you are trusted figures in the communities and in the different kingdoms that you represent, you have power to inspire change. By actively engaging with you, we know that you will be able to influence attitude, encourage open dialogue and champion Initiatives that promote respect and equality.
“Together, our Traditional Rulers, you are integral to the success of our mission. Your commitment and involvement underscore the significance of eradicating sexual and gender-based violence, creating a society where everyone can thrive in safety and dignity.”.
“Any one can be a victim having previously attended to thousands of survivors including a seven-month old baby and a 74year old woman”, she continued.
“Over the years we’ve gotten reports that survivors have been to the palaces to complain about sexual and gender based violence.
“So we know that they are addressing this issue in the way they know how to. And so it is important that we leverage on existing institutions such as traditional institutions, equip them and letting them know that these are crimes committed against the state and letting them know their roles in preventing and responding, letting them know the referral pathways that should be activated and letting them know where their intervention should stop and when government should step in.”
She disclosed that the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has declared zero tolerance for all forms of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. Vivour-Adeniyi also stressed that necessary sanctions await lawbreaker caught in the act.
The agency disclosed that it offers medical assistance, rescue operations, legal assistance, law enforcement, psychosocial support and emergency assistance, as well as empowerment.