Wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Olayemi Oyebanji, has rallied the people of the state to join hands with the state government to put an end to rape epidemic in the state.

Dr. Oyebanji said the state government is determined to apprehend perpetrators of rape, child molestation, defilement and other forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and bring them to justice to serve as deterrent to others.

Speaking during a street procession in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, on Monday to mark the end of 16 Days of Activism Against GBV, Dr. Oyebanji stressed that the offence of rape now carries life sentence for any convicted offender in the state.

The First Lady was joined during the street procession by the Deputy Governor, Chief Monisade Afuye; the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Bolaji Olagbaju and other female Assembly members; the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Habibat Adubiaro and other members of the State Executive Council.

The procession which started at the Funmilayo Olayinka Women Centre, Fajuyi, took the First Lady and other participants who carried various placards to Ereguru, Post Office Roundabout, Bisi Market, Okeyinmi, Ojumose, Okesa Market and terminated at the starting point.

Some of the placards read “Stop Rape,” “Rape Is A Crime,” “Teach Men To Respect “Women,” “No To Domestic Violence,” “Stop Gender-Based Violence,” “Stand Up For Women’s Rights,” “We Must Join Hands To End Sexual Assault,” “Say No To Female Genital Mutilation,” among others.

Addressing market women, their customers, motorists, motorcyclists, passersby and other members of the public, the Governor’s wife warned that failure to report crime or any attempt to cover up the crime is also punishable under the law, noting that the rally was also aimed at enlightening the people to avoid running foul of the law.

The First Lady warned men and boys to discipline themselves and refrain from engaging in sexual violence and avoid spending the rest of their lives in jail over sexual offences, as the law must take its course on anyone caught committing the crime.

She also decried the increasing rate of domestic violence warning husbands against beating their wives and wives beating their husbands noting that such could lead to loss of lives within the four walls of marriage.

While advising parents to utilize the opportunity of free education from primary to secondary school in the state, the First Lady charged them to send their wards to school and not to use them for hawking which exposes the female ones to sexual abuse.

Apart from free education in public primary and secondary schools, Dr. Oyebanji said the state government also pays West African Examinations Council (WAEC) fees for School Certificate candidates and also sponsors Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to relieve parents of the burden of paying for their children.

She enjoined parents to be interested in the education of their children including the female ones noting that education has the capacity to set them on the path of greatness, also securing the future of the parents in their old age.

Apparently concerned about the increasing rate of sexual offences, especially rape in the state which has assumed an epidemic level, Dr. Oyebanji declared that there is no hiding place for the offenders again in the state vowing that they would be arrested and be made to face the law, no matter how long it takes.

She said: “The rate of rape, child defilement and molestation is very alarming in Ekiti State. Many of the rapists among us are people who are familiar with the victims and these include some family members living under our roof, stepfathers raping stepdaughters their wives brought in from previous marriage.

A recent report detailed the rape of a 16-year-old girl who struggled to free herself from the assailant. Shockingly, the rapist resorted to stabbing her in the chest and belly to subdue her resistance.The girl landed in the hospital as a result of the brutal attack.

” The perpetrator is still at large, but we are committed to pursuing and apprehending him to ensure justice is served.
There is no refuge for rapists and sexual offenders among us; the law will reach them, and they will face the consequences for their crimes.

The First Lady also spoke against the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) describing the practice as harmful to the girl child and no longer acceptable in our society.

While warning parents against the practice, Dr. Oyebanji said it is only the circumcision of the male children that is acceptable in the society and not that of the female children which she said exposes them to infections and other risks.

The First Lady appreciated the people of the state for their unflinching support for the Oyebanji Administration saying the government is always interested in their welfare and wellbeing and would not relent in making their lives better.

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