Wife of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Patience Umo Eno, has sought the collaborative efforts of Government at all levels, Organisations and well-meaning Individuals in the ongoing fight against Gender-Based Violence with the view to stemming the tide of gender crimes in the state.

Pastor Patience Eno who is the Chairperson of the Akwa Ibom State GBV Management Committee made the call on Monday, June 3, 2024, during the opening ceremony of the Akwa Ibom State Gender – Based Violence (GBV) Awareness Month, tagged: ‘Implementing the Akwa Ibom State Violence Against Persons (prohibition) law 2020 : from awareness to action’, which held at Ibom Hall, Uyo.

Represented at the event by the Deputy Governor, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, the Governor’s Wife applauded the commitment of members of the committee to a reduction in the alarming number of cases of human rights violations, describing GBV as a serious health issue that affects individuals, families and communities at large.

“I am proud of the efforts already made by the Akwa Ibom State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, the Coalition against GBV and partners. Gender Based Violence is not just a violation of human rights but a devastating public health issue with far-reaching consequences for individuals, families, and communities. It robs survivors of their dignity, impedes their potentials and hinders our collective progress”, she said.

Pastor Patience Eno urged Akwa Ibom people actively participate in the campaign – “Here in Akwa Ibom State, we recognize the urgent need to address this scourge head-on. It is our collective responsibility to speak out, to support survivors and to challenge the norms that perpetuate violence, mindful of the fact that the fight against Gender Based Violence is not only a fight for women and girls, but a fight for justice and equality for all, including men and boys”.

Presenting a keynote address on the theme of the event, “Implementing the Akwa Ibom State Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law 2020: from Awareness to Action”, the Dean, Faculty of Law University of Uyo, Professor Mojisola Eseyin, called for the establishment of special GBV courts to ensure that GBV cases are handled with urgency, sensitivity and expertise.

Professor Eseyin also recommended adequate funding, the establishment of therapeutic centers in all the Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State, the creation of GBV response units in churches and other Religious Organisations, as some of the modalities needed, to expedite pending cases and hasten the judicial process.

Setting the tone for the ceremony, the Secretary of the State GBV Management Committee, Barrister Emem Ette narrated an ugly incident of abuse that recently led to the untimely demise of a female victim, stating that response to GBV crimes as a collective responsibility by citizens who should look out for their neighbours and reach out for help where needed.

Barr. Ette informed the stakeholders and partners that the GBV awareness campaign which holds throughout the month of June, is targeted at drawing attention to the scourge of abuse and rape, start conversations and engage others in charting new pathways to end the scourge of violence crime in our society.”

Goodwill messages were  received from  partners including the Excellence Community Education Welfare Scheme (ECEWS), the Golden Initiative For All (GIFA), Nigeria for Women Project (NFWP), Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria and Ibom Jewels Compendium (IJC). They pledged their support for the Gender-Based Violence Awareness Month and applauded the Governor’s wife, Pastor Patience Umo Eno, for dedicating June 2024 to a vital cause targeted at creating awareness and educating the populace, in order to create a society of equality and safety.

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