By G9ija

The First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has called for concerted efforts to fight the scourge of rape, saying her heart bleeds whenever a woman or girl is raped.

She made the call during the second phase of the Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum organised by her office in tackling Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) crimes in the state.

“It pains my heart and my heart bleeds when I hear that there has been a rape case in any area; in any local government; in any school; in any organization and so on,” she was quoted as saying via a statement issued by the Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Office of the First Lady, Olubukonla Nwonah.

“It is really painful to know that these things are still happening and this reinforces the conviction that we must work collaboratively to stamp it out totally.”

While acknowledging that the government alone cannot solve rape cases, she asked non-governmental organisations for support.

The First Lady assured that even though there might be challenges, a zero-tolerance against SGBV can be achieved in Lagos with the collaboration of NGOs and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

She also commended the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the recent signing of the bill establishing the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency into law, and the appointment of an executive secretary, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, to lead the new agency.

“It is inspiring that the law, which also establishes the Sex Offenders Register, has finally become operational in the state and it is hoped that this will provide a quantum leap in terms of the legal framework to significantly and frontally tackle the menace of domestic and sexual violence, name and shame perpetrators and most importantly provide adequate medical and legal support to the victims,” she added.

The forum was attended by NGOs and Civil Society groups in the state including Mirabel Centre, Project Alert On Violence Against Women, Women At Risk International Foundation(WARIF), Bimbo Odukoya Foundation, International Federation Of Female Lawyers, Day Spring Helps Ministry, Jashabel Touch A Heart, Eagles Wings Development, and Vision Spring Initiatives.

Other were Ceceyara Foundation, Child To Child Network, Heartminders Societal, Women Law And Development Centre Nigeria, Women’s Consortium Of Nigeria (WOCON), Women’s Right And Health Project, Community Women’s Rights, African Peace And Conflict Management Foundation, Wuraola Foundation, Safe Haven Children’s Foundation, Stand To End Rape Initiative, Community Health Support And Empowerment Initiative, Humanity Family Foundation For Peace And Development, Virginspride Foundation, Rubis Ink Initiative, Real Women Foundation, and Pukiche Girl Foundation.