By Rotimi Ojomoyela, Ado-Ekiti
The Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, has hinted that the National Assembly would work in tandem with the state governors to rid the country of rape and Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
Bamidele, who represents Ekiti Central Senatorial District, expressed the determination of the federal lawmakers to make laws that would complement efforts of stakeholders to checkmate those with unbridled libidos from perpetrating acts of defilement, rape, and other sexual abuses.
The lawmaker spoke, in a statement made available to journalists in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday, being a speech he delivered at an anti -GVB programme tagged: ‘COVID – 19: ‘exploring innovative routes to tackling the escalation of sexual and gender-based violence in a pandemic’.
Bamidele regretted that the global COVID-19 pandemic has brought an upsurge in the sexual abuse related cases in Nigeria, describing the sordid scenario as dangerous to the image of the country and perception about Nigerians.
He said the fact that the barbaric act has been difficult to tame made it expedient for the state and federal legislatures to rev the pedal of legislative duties by enacting laws that can impose stringent sanctions on defaulters.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that sexual and gender-based violence has reached its highest crescendo and of unimaginable proportions in recent times. The situation had been further exacerbated by the COVID–19 pandemic in Nigeria and across the globe.
“As such, there is a need for us as a nation to come together, brainstorm, and fashion out the best ways to tackle this menace, which has eaten deep into the fabric of our society.
“There must be concerted efforts of each and every one of us to stem the tide of this ugly phenomenon before it destroys our societal moral rectitude and cultural pride that we are known for as a nation. We must strive to uphold our cultural norms and system to ensure that our dignity and fundamental core values as human beings are preserved at all costs.
“The initiative behind this project is quite commendable, as it is aimed at strengthening the fight against sexual and gender-based violence, through consideration of innovative and creative ideas to tackle the escalation of this ugly trend.
“In the past, various measures have been put in place, in terms of legislations and enlightenment programmes by relevant Agencies of Government and NGOs to curb the menace. However, these have not achieved the desired result, as the situation keeps increasing by the day, despite the various intervention measures implemented over the years.
“As a result, there is a need for us to proffer measures that are effective and sustainable in the light of the peculiar circumstances of our country generally, especially in a pandemic or sundry situation”.
Bamidele assured that the ninth Senate, under the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, is poised towards making laws and amending existing legislation that would fortify the fight against sexual and gender-based violence in conformity with global best practices.
“In line with the foregoing, your views, suggestions and opinions are germane towards the deployment of technological methods for effective intervention in this area.
“I urge all stakeholders to make themselves available when called upon to make inputs on any proposed legislation that will ensure the realisation of the objective of this project”.