Men protesting rape incidents at the all-men event on Thursday.
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday, said it was disturbing that there had been a spike in the incidents of rape, especially during the lockdown necessitated by COVID-19 pandemic.
Sanwo-Olu, therefore, called on Nigerian men to emulate the ongoing massive anti-racism protest in United States of America in Nigeria against sexual and gender-based violence, to send a strong message against rape and its perpetrators.
Mrs. Sanwo-Olu made the remarks while receiving participants at a special all-male awareness walk, organised by Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) in collaboration with Partnership for Justice and Mirabel Centre.
Sanwo-Olu said sexual violence against women and girls must be accorded the same level of seriousness with which COVID-19 pandemic was addressed to demonstrate commitment to end the menace.
She commended men of good conscience, who have decided to rise up to be counted for a good cause by participating in the awareness campaign aimed at highlighting the importance of men to join the fight against sexual and gender-based violence.
According to her, “it is laudable to see men come out to send strong message against rape and ending sexual and gender-based violence in Lagos State.
“I am very happy that we are able to do this and I hope this will not be the last time we are going to see men coming out like this.
“I pray by the grace of God, when we are going to repeat this event, we will have over 20 million men standing behind us.
“You know how they caused a movement in America, where everybody came out; that is the type of movement we want to see here in Nigeria against rape.
“It is sad that while we fight the coronavirus pandemic, an unseen enemy, we are still having to deal with issues of a seen enemy and that is the perpetrators of rape and other forms of violence against women and children.”
Speaking on the rape of a two-year-old girl and an 18-year-old lady in the state, Sanwo-Olu said it was unfortunate that such happened.
He added that while the state government had moved to take custody of the minor and give the victims the necessary care, every effort must be made by relevant agencies of government to ensure that justice is served to perpetrators of such heinous crime, not only in Lagos but across the country.