By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
Akwa Ibom state government says it has received over 180 cases and prosecuted over 18 culprits for cases of defilement and rape since 2018.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Women Affairs, Dr. Glory Edet made the disclosure Monday during a press briefing on the commemoration of 16 days of activism for the elimination of violence against women.
Edet commended the call by the United Nations Secretary-General for global actions to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts, and share knowledge and innovations with the intention to end violence against women by 2030.
“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 reason such as stigmatization of survivors, threats, the culture of silence, shame, intimidation, etc.
“We have in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) established the Gender-Based Violence (GBV), 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 GBV.
“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. The Ministry deals with culprits of rape, defilement accordingly. They are not spared irrespective of status”, She said.
Edet added that her ministry had between September 2018 and November 2019 undertaken various activities with a view to mitigating violence against women and children in the state.
She listed some of the activities carried out within the period to include empowerment of Vesico Vagina Festula,(VVF), and Rector-Vagina Festula (RVF) survivors, training of first responders on Gender-Based Violence.
“Others are establishment of a central one-stop Gender-Based Violence ( GBV) prevention, and Response centre with a dedicated hotline and response linkages with law enforcement agents, civil society organizations and dedicated health facilities in the state.
“The government has taken over 800 children in the five Government Home, Special Children centre, Divine Children Home, children correctional centre.
“As the activities marking the 16 days of activism kick-off, we call upon all good meaning individuals, stakeholders, other government agencies and groups to join us as we look into, speak out and take practical, effective and proactive steps to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence in our state.
“We must all stand together against Rape and other forms of gender-based violence. Let us work together to instil confidence in the administration of criminal justice and also to remove the stigmatization of survivors.
“Let us work to protect and give voice to the vulnerable while stopping the impunity of perpetrators by reporting all cases of abuse and ensuring they are brought to justice”, She noted.