By Mary Nnah
The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a non-profit organisation leading the charge against gender based violence in Nigeria, held an advocacy march to raise awareness against Gender-based Violence in Nigeria. This was in commemoration of the UN 16 Days of Activism for Gender Based Violence.
The march, tagged the “No Tolerance” was organised, following the on-going success of the “No Tolerance” advocacy campaign launched earlier in the year.
The campaign saw celebrities like RMD, Rita Dominic, Kate Henshaw, Funke Akindele and many more joined WARIF to say No Tolerance to sexual abuse and violence by posting short videos and pictures on their social media platforms.
The march held on December 7, took off from Lekki Phase 1 across the Lekki/Ikoyi link bridge. It was kicked off by the United States Consular General to Lagos, Madam Claire Pierangelo who stated that “Gender-based violence is not a women’s issue. It is a human rights issue that needs both men and women to contribute to its end.
“For this problem to end men must play a significant role and we are pleased to see that men are increasingly recognising their responsibility to help end this scourge.”
The First Lady of Lagos State was also ably represented by the Wife of the Attorney General of Lagos, Mrs. Olabisi Onigbanjo who commended WARIF for their efforts and reiterated the need for more awareness on rape and sexual violence.
The Founder of the organisation, Dr. Kemi DaSilva noted that “At WARIF, we believe that no single individual, organisation, foundation, or government can stop the epidemic of sexual violence; but by responding to the responsibility of tackling the problem as a collective, we each bring together our unique piece of the solution.
“We believe that participation in these collaborative efforts is critical in making our voices heard and to bringing an end to sexual violence in our society.
“Sexual violence affects all of our lives and the “No Tolerance” March is a chance for all men, women and children to say NO! to sexual violence in our communities.”
She also stated that proceeds from the march would benefit survivors of rape and sexual violence who are offered assistance at the WARIF Centre, the foundation’s rape crisis center which provides immediate medical care, psychosocial counselling, legal aid, access to shelters and vocational skills training totally free of charge.
Also in attendance were the First Lady of Ogun State, Her Excellency, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun; The SSG, Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Gaji; The Deputy British High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson; as well as Nigerian Celebrities including Dakore Akande Egbuson, TY Bello, Lala Akindoju, Ego Boyo and Michelle Dede who raised their voices against rape and sexual violence in our communities.