By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
In an effort to curb the menace of gender-based violence particularly rape, Akwa Ibom state first lady, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel has disclosed her plans to begin to expose those caught in the heinous act to the public.
Mrs Emmanuel made this known at the weekend in Uyo while briefing newsmen on the achievements recorded by her pet project, “Family Empowerment and Youth Re-orientation Path-initiative” (FEYReP) since its inception September 21, 2015.
She explained that the increasing cases of rape particularly toddlers informed her decision to take the fight against the menace beyond arrest, prosecution and conviction of culprits.
Her words, “The menace of gender-based violence is a cause for concern to everyone but FEYRep is fighting it seriously. Let me take the cases of rape. It is on the increase nowadays. And why it is so worrisome is because people they are defiling are babies, toddlers of two years, three years, four years, six years. Those are the age range we are seeing these days.
“And by the grace of God through the sensitization we have been carrying out people have been reporting such cases and the culprits are being prosecuted. That is the good thing about it. It is so bad. What we intend to do now is that we don’t want to hide these people anymore.
“Before now when they are caught, we take them to court, prosecute them. Now we want to expose them to the world so that other people will learn from it. You people (the media) will help us publish their names, show them on television, tell where they come from, and tell the world what they have done.
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“We are not going to hide them anymore because the menace is getting out of hand.
“If you happen to see one of the victims you will cry. So I strongly oppose to this act and I want to use this medium to plead with people practising this heinous acts to please stop because you will be put behind bars and nobody will rescue you”
Mrs Udom Emmanuel who further explained that all the governors wives had met and issued a communique’ to condemn the increasing cases of gender-based violence in the country especially the defilement of minors, disclosed that FEYRep has partnered, United Nations Population Fund, UNPF to establish Gender-Based Violence Centre in the state to temporarily cater for abused persons until they were sorted out.
She further disclosed that she has empowered more 3000 women in different areas including vocational skills since the inauguration of her pet project four years ago.
“Women empowerment is one of the topmost agenda in my heart. I have empowered more than 3000 women since the inception of FEYReP in 21st September 2015. Why I am doing this is because I realised that when a woman has something doing the family will function very well and she will be able to take care of her children.
“So I decided to go into the empowerment of women in different areas. There are some that acquire vocational skills like tailoring, hairdressing. For those that are into farming, trading we give them take-off grants. So I can say that we have recorded positive results from these empowerment programmes”
She added that FEYRep recently launched separate programmes to groom the young ones to become responsible in the society by taking them off the Streets and sensitizing them to shun anti-social behaviours.
“Some months ago we launched a programme “Bright Future for Responsible Boys’. We have done “Girls uphold your Dignity’ We decided to launch Bright Future for Responsible Boys to make sure that as we are working on our girls we are also grooming our boys to become responsible so that there will be a balance.
“Family Empowerment the Youth Re-orientation Path Initiative as the name implies is not for only women. But I decided to start with the girls and women because they are the most vulnerable in the society”.