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Lawyers task Oyo government to tackle violence against women

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The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Oyo State chapter, has solicited more support to strengthen laws tackling violence against women in the state. The group made the call during an advocacy visit to the state Head of Service, Amidat Ololade Agboola, recently.

The chairperson of the state FIDA, Oluyemisi Collins, said despite the law due to the surge in the spate of violence and abuse against women, the situation had not changed as expected since the law was put in place due to factors such as culture of case withdrawal by victims’ families and dearth of data, which often stand in the way of justice.

Collins said: “We are here on a directive from the United Nations to engage stakeholders on the level that the sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women has been and to educate people on the usage of the extant law prohibiting it. The fact remains that despite the efforts by the state government, the spate of this particular crime is on the increase here partly because there is no data.

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“In this SGBV campaign, we have some key stakeholders we have been working with. Some of them include the governor’s wife office, Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), National Council of Women Societies/NGOS, Association of Women with Disability, among others.”

Collins stressed that despite the stakeholders’ efforts to curb the act, justice often eludes most women because the evidence needed to prosecute issues relating to assaults and maltreatment are not always there.

“Over time, family pressure and the culture of withdrawal as well as stigmatisation often force our women and girls to keep quiet when assaulted, and that is why we have brought this campaign to your office through which we believe the message can get to the state governor.

The Oyo State Head of Service commended the group for taking their time to sensitise the people for them to know their rights and what can be done, noting that women go through a lot of challenges in their marriages.

“Women pretend a lot and because there is no how people can know what is going on with most of us, we keep pretending. But we have a lot to do. The sensitisation should be in the market, religious centres and associations.

“We should let every woman know that she has a right to prosecute anyone when she’s being violated and abused. In fact, the EndSARS ‘Sorosoke’ tag is for us, women. We have to always speak out when abused because even the person that abuses us may not know that what he has done is wrong. But I will convey your message to the right authority,” she added.

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