By Emeka Nwokocha
Foremost Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs) in Delta State, Value Rebirth and Empowerment Initiative (VREI), Initiative for Peace and Stability (IPAS), and Hands for Help International Foundation (H2H), on 9th and 10th December 2020, embarked on sensitization of secondary school students in Delta State against rape and other acts of violence.
Speaking to the students of Army Day Secondary School, Effurun, the Executive Director of VREI, Pastor Edewor Egedegbe said that the sensitization session was being carried out as part of the ongoing 16-days of global activism against gender-based violence.
His words, “we have come to sensitise you on some obvious dangers you should be aware of in the society and abstain from them.” He continued, “the Bible says, “the wise man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself.”
He charged the students to shun all acts of violence both in the school and at home. He counseled the students to study very hard to be able to distinguish themselves as great men and women in the society.
Continuing, Egedegbe tasked the students on good morals and conduct, even as he advised them to abstain from vices such as rape and cultism, adding that such vices attract grave penalty.
His words, “l urge you to abstain from violence and any act that will derail your goals because you are children of destiny. Make use of your opportunities and ensure your foundation is enshrined in enduring moral values.”
Continuing, Egedegbe commended the principal and teachers of the school for maintaining high level of discipline in the school, stating that such virtue is uncommon in most public schools across the state.
Saying to the students, “you are part of a school that is very disciplined. I charge you to incline your hearts to do great things. Don’t indulge in those things the world is running after today. Open your ears and learn the good things from the message we have brought to you and it will help you grow as potential students.”
Pastor Egedegbe told the students that the future holds great prospect for the youth, stating that the sure and legitimate route to achieving greatness is harwork, just as he urged the students to apply themselves to their studies and make their parents, their communities and Nigeria proud in future.
The Executive Director of IPAS, Mrs. Joy Tobele, tasked the students on good morals. She advised the female students to carry themselves with dignity and respect.
She said to the female students, “respect yourselves; don’t behave in a way that suggests that you want to be raped. Raise the alarm when you are under threat. She noted that some girls have gone through the ordeal of rape which has had adverse impact on their well-being. She charged them to speak up against rape and stand boldly for what is right.
Speaking to the male students, Tobele said, “don’t let your name be shamed and written in the black book, “Sexual Offender Register.” Make good your destiny and say no to rape, say no to battery, say no to cultism, say no to yahoo and other forms of violence against the opposite sex.
Continuing, she said to the students, “you have bright future as you take your studies very serious.”
At Alegbo Secondary School, Effurun, the Executive Director of Hands To Help International Foundation (H2H), Chief Mercy Awhana, advised the students to avoid all acts of violence. She educated the students that violence doesn’t occur only when there is a physical attack such as aggressive act of brutality inflicted on one person by another, which may range from battery to rape, but could occur in a subtle way such as bullying, nagging, and jeering.
Continuing, she said the sensitization session would equip the students with relevant knowledge so they would become agents of social change and development.
Mrs. Tobele, charged the female students to always adopt the SRR (Shout, Run, Report) model to combat rape in the society. She said that rape inflicts physical, emotional and psychological pain on the victim and often times, leads to loss of self-worth.
She told the students that rape is crime against humanity and punishable under the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act. She charged the male students to abstain from rape, saying that perpetrators of rape would be jailed and shamed by having their names written in sexual offender register.
In the same vein, the duo of Mrs. Joy Egedegbe and Mrs. Stella Odika, counseled the students to show more commitment to their education and desist from any act that would jeopardize their goals.