Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Government has directed its officers in all ministries, departments and agencies to join forces with all enforcement agencies in the state to ensure outright compliance with its Gender Based Violence (GBV) Prohibition Laws.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua made the disclosure on Friday at a workshop held in Ado Ekiti with focus on sexual exploitation and abuse on the third National Urban Water Sector Reform Projects (NUWSRP 3).
At the workshop, Olumilua said the state government adopted the policy to deepen implementation of the Gender Based Violence Prohibition Laws as well as tackle instances of sexual harassment, gender inequality and provide equal opportunities for all genders in MDAs.
Olumilua, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information Dr. Adekumbi Obaisi said the state government would not tolerate or sweep under the carpet, any issue relating to sexual abuse, gender inequality and maltreatments in Ekiti.
Olumilua said the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi had ordered the deployment of GBV enforcement officers to ministries, departments and agencies of government, to ensure compliance with the laws and safeguard the rights of all workers.
“To underscore how serious we are, there are designated officers in all ministries, departments and agencies to implement GBV and equal opportunities laws, 2020.
“People should expose defaulters. You could all attest to the fact that Fayemi’s government has been shaming sexual offenders. Defaulters now suffer life imprisonment in Ekiti. This shows that Ekiti has zero tolerance for gender violence.”
Also at the workshop which was organised by a civil society organisation, the Gender Relevance Promotion Initiative (GRIP) with the support of Ekiti State Water Corporation, GRIP’s Executive Director, Mrs Rita Ilevbare said time has come for all stakeholders to unite against sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, child trafficking, slavery, prostitution and other scourges affecting the country.
Ilevbare urged contractors handling projects in the state to rein in their labourers to guard against perpetrating any sexual related offences, threatening that anyone found indulging in such will face the law.
She said available statistics globally confirmed that there were high incidences of sexual harassments and exploitative tendencies in areas where projects are being undertaken.
The executive director noted that the trend called for a proactive action to avert such in Ekiti owing to a series of contracts being currently executed in the state.
Ilevbare added that the state government and World Bank’s huge investment in water provision in Ekiti could put pressure on both the services and the people living in the project area, thereby causing negative tendencies, which should be prevented from happening.
She said: “It is important therefore that in the effort to provide safe water to people in Ekiti State, risks that labour influx will induce, including the negative gender impacts, sexual exploitation and abuse are anticipated and measures to address these are incorporated into the project planning and implementation.
“An influx of workers to the water project sites can create new demand for various services, including sex workers, which can ultimately increase the prevalence of sexual exploitation, gender based violence (GBV), trafficking and disease transmission, especially HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases.”