Ayodeji Ake

A non governmental organisation, Women At Risk International Foundation (WARIF), has condemned the high incidence of sexual assault, rape and human trafficking amongst young girls and women across Nigeria, disclosing that the country records 10,000 of the menace daily.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative ‘The Gate Keeper’s Project’ in Lagos recently, the Founder, WARIF, Dr. Kemi Da-Silver Ibru, who partnered with Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation on the project, said cases of sexual assaults in the country have been alarming, consequently, destroying the future of young girls.

“In Nigeria today, the statistics tells us that one in four girls by the time she reaches 18 would have experienced at least one form of sexual assault. We are over 160 million and half of the population are women, and half of the women are under the age of 24, that’s 10,000 girls everyday that are survivors of this horrific crime. Many of them have attended multiple events and they are not aware that this problem can be addressed,” she said.

She noted that the event will be attempting to train over 550 Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) across all local government areas in Lagos State, to inform and educate them on sexual assaults.

“The gate keepers in different communities are regarded as trusted members and these are the people women go to in times of need. The TBAs serve the purpose of being gate keepers. As a foundation, we have tried to reach all community members and address the issue of gender violence. Today, we are training 550 TBAs from different local governments. The idea is to impact the knowledge and issue of gender violence and also inform them of our provisions as a foundation to empower and educate them to address these issues with community members,” she said.

Ibru lauded the Lagos State Government’s effort in ensuring offenders of sexual assaults and rape are prosecuted, urging the public to adopt the whistle blowing mechanism by reporting to the nearest authority.

Pledging her support, ACT Foundation through it Programme Officer, Mr. Ayodeji Ojo, said the foundation has been active in the affairs for pregnant women and ensuring as their infants grow, they are free of sexual assault.

The National President Association of Traditional Midwives of Nigeria, Prince Olusesi Mare, commended the effort of WARIF for its campaign and advocacy against sexual assault and rape, also pledged the TBAs association will play its role as a gate keeper.

He said, “all TBAs in Lagos State are here today for a proper training on how to identify sexual abuse and how these cases can be reported. We TBAs here are over 500 and we have concluded on partnering with WARIF by going to our various community fight sexual abuse. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed because of the stigma attached to it.”