The wife of Delta governor, Dame Edith Okowa, on Monday, said no effort would be spared in completely stamping out sexual and gender based violence from the state.
Dame Okowa who is the founder of 05 Initiative, disclosed this at Government House, Asaba, during the ceremony of an advocacy programme against sexual and gender- based violence organised by Orange Brigade in partnership with Delta State Government’s Girl Child Empowerment Office.
She advised victims of sexual and gender violence to speak up, and affirmed that the state government has enacted laws to protect the rights of girls, boys and others who may be exposed to abuse.
While commending Orange Brigade for championing the campaign against sexual and gender violence, she called on girls not to see their gender as a barrier to the realisation of their dreams.
“Nobody can direct your destiny; you should be serious in your academic activities to actualise your God-given potentials in life.
“In Delta State, we don’t tolerate sexual and gender based violence. There are laws put in place by the state government to prosecute anybody caught perpetrating the criminal act (sexual and gender based violence).
“The state government is working with the police and other relevant security agencies to ensure that perpetrators of the criminal act are brought to book.
“When you hear something, say something and when you see something, say something. Young girls should not allow themselves to be intimidated or belittled,” the governor’s wife said.
Dame Okowa who was inducted as Squadron Leader of Orange Brigade in Delta State, pledged to join hands with stakeholders in the collective fight against abuse of any child in the state and the country.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Sir Austin Oghoro and his counterpart in Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Mrs. Kevwe Agas who were inducted into the Orange Brigade, assured that the interest of all especially the girl child, would be protected against any form of abuse in the state.
The duo said that the state government was out to solidly stand behind victims of rape and other forms of abuse, and advised them (victims of rape and other forms of violence) to open up so as to speak up to enable the invocation of the relevant sections of the law against perpetrators of the criminal act.
On her part, the Executive Director, Centre for Creative Arts, Hilda Dokubo said the vision of the international body was to fight discrimination, fear and poverty as well as to empower people with requisite knowledge on how to overcome sexual and gender based violence.
She lauded Dame Okowa for using her office to liberate women, youths and the vulnerable from the stronghold of poverty and joblessness.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Executive Assistant to the governor on Special Duties (Girl Child Empowerment), Barr. Bridget Anyafulu called on all to tap into the enabling laws of the state government in tackling the problem of rape, incest, sexual and other gender based violence.
She said the roles of parents and other critical stakeholders cannot be over-emphasised in the campaign against all forms of abuse in the society.
The highpoint of the ceremony was a drama presentation by some secondary school students which centred on the need for gender parity in the society.