In continuation of the ongoing 16-Days global activism against gender based violence, Value Rebirth and Empowerment Initiative (VREI), in collaboration with Group 1, Set-5 of Centre-LSD Leadership School, Effurun, on Wednesday 8 November, 2021, visited secondary schools in Uvwie, Okpe local government areas of Delta State to sensitize the students on effects of gender based violence. The schools visited were Ugbolokposo secondary school, Field Bright international schools, Ugbolokposo, and Okene Secondary School, Okuokoko.
Speaking to journalists, the Executive Director of VREI, Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, who doubles as the Director of Studies (DOS), at Centre-LSD Leadership School, said, “we are here today to enlighten the students on the 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence in our society. It is a global event that is marked on 25th November – 10th December every year. At this session, we teach the students what gender based violence is about, its consequences and how they can protect themselves from such violence in our society.”
He continued, “today’s activities are being carried out by group 1, of Set-5 students of Centre-LSD Leadership School, Effurun, in collaboration with Value Rebirth and Empowerment Initiative (VREI). The students, while executing their Community Development Service (CDS), took advantage of the 16-Days of activism and collaborated with VREI, the organisation that runs the leadership school, to bring an end to all forms of violence against women and girl child.
On that note, we make the students, the teachers and the public know that any form of violence against girl, and boy child is prohibited by law. We also educate them that in Delta state currently, there is the Violence Against People Prohibition (VAPP) Act which is now a potent law that prohibits gender based violence such as domestic violence, emotional violence, physical violence, and others. The VAPP Act complements the fundamental human rights enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and the African Charter on human rights.”
Pastor Egedegbe added, “we also embark on this sensitization cum advocacy to expose the public to a new law that forbids all forms of gender based violence, and that the perpetrators of such violence will not go Scot-free. So, we are saying NO to every form of violence against women and girls.”
Expatiating on the 16-Days of activism, Pastor Egedegbe said the global event kicked off with a press briefing in Asaba, where he noted that though Delta state government had domesticated the VAPP Act, but most people in the state are still ignorant of the law.
He called on the government to take the law to the communities, and make community leaders be liable for any infraction of the law in their locality.
Continuing, he said, “according to the state ministry of justice, about 69 cases of gender based violence are being prosecuted in courts across the state, meaning that the law is gradually making an impact, but more impacts are still needed.”
Pastor Egedegbe further called on the government to create a desk office in each of the 25 local government areas of the state, so that the wives of the Chairmen of the local governments would drive the process of curbing the menace, saying, “by working with NGOs, CSOs, Faith-based organisations, and the citizens, they will be able to track the crimes when they are committed,” he added that a synergy between the desk office and the Ministry of Justice, and FIDA which provides probono legal services to victims of gender based violence, will go a long way in nipping the crime in the bud.
Continuing, he said that molestation and harassment in any form also amounts to Gender Based Violence, and it should not be tolerated.
Pastor Egedegbe, advised the students to be morally upright, diligent, discipline and determined to fight the menace, even as he charged them to take their studies seriously, saying, “it’s the most important thing you are expected to do in order to become great personalities in the future and build capacity to nip the rising crime in the bud.”
“Say NO to what is not good, always listen and show respect to your teachers and parents at all times as they are your role models and counselors,” Egedegbe stated.
Also speaking, the Coordinator of Group 1, Set-5 of Centre-LSD Leadership School, Effurun, Mr. Ikimi Amos Onoriode, said that his group deemed it imperative to collaborate with VREI to embark on the sensitization exercise on gender based violence, as the group’s Community Development Service (CDS), stating that CDS is a mandatory assignment for the students of the leadership school. He advised the students not to follow the trend of quick wealth, even as he counseled them to be immuned to bad influence that could lure them into wrong act.
In the same vein, Dcns. Joy Egedegbe, Senior Programme Officer at VREI, said that the sensitization sessions at the schools were successful, stating that the students were eager to learn and apply the defense mechanisms they had been taught as a safety net for them.
Continuing, she said that more sensitization was needed across the schools in Delta state to reach out to young girls and boys, noting that more impacts would be made in eradicating gender based violence if the sensitization is sustained.