………..The need for the Traditional Institution to enact punitive legislation and engage in grassroots sensitization to eradicate violence against women and girls that is on the rise has been brought to fore.

The wife of the State Governor and founder of Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Path-initiative (FEYReP), Dr. Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel stated this on Thursday, when she led a high-powered advocacy delegation to the palace of Oku Ibom Ibibio, His Eminence Nteyin Solomon Etuk.

Dr. Emmanuel, who was at the palace to seek collaborative efforts with the revered monarch, informed him that robust interventions by all stakeholders were urgently needed to end the scourge currently ravaging the state.

She said cases such as rape, defilement; incest and domestic violence were on the increase despite her modest efforts through her pet project, hence the need for the traditional institution to intervene.

“The urgency to end all forms of violence against women and girls has overtime gained currency and we have been working assiduously to ensure culprits are brought to book. I am here today with this delegation to seek the intervention of our royal fathers in curbing this ugly tide,” said Emmanuel.

Pressing further, the First Lady said if the war against gender-based violence must be won, the royal fathers should leverage on FEYReP’s programs especially in areas of education for the girl child, robust prosecution of offenders by publicly shaming at the community level.

“We have come to a point where perpetrators of these crimes must be shown to the whole world. We can’t continue to hide them from the media, now when they are caught and found guilty, we publish them for all to see; I humbly solicit your assistance in this regard,” the governor’s wife remarked.

Responding, the Oku Ibom Ibibio, His Eminence, Nteyin Solomon Etuk who was in company of other traditional fathers, bemoaned the spike in the crime saying “it’s pathetic to have this high rate of gender-based crimes in the state.”

The monarch said synergy must be created between FEYReP, law enforcement agencies and the traditional institution in the area of prosecuting offenders, stating that as traditional fathers they are not empowered by the law to prosecute.

“I ask that your office establish a liaison officer to work with us and the relevant security agencies to ensure offenders are prosecuted. If we are able to get the police to work with us, I have no doubt that the war would have been half way won,” said the revered Ibibio monarch.

The traditional father however warned perpetrators of the dastardly acts to henceforth desist from the crimes or face the consequences that will follow thereof.

On the governor’s wife team was the wife of the Speaker of the State Assembly, Mrs. Itohowo Bassey, the deputy Speaker, Mrs. Felicia Bassey, members of the International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), members of the Nigeria Medical Women Association, the Coordinator of FEYReP, Mrs. Ime Inyang and other staff members.

(C) Koko Udonquak
14th November, 2019.

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