We Must Create Safe Haven Against Sexual And Gender-based Violence

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Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU) has called on individuals and organizations to create a haven from sexual harassment and gender-based violence for women and girls.

She argued that the gesture would enable them to achieve their full potential, stating that the potential of the female gender are stifled in the face of threat to their wellbeing.

She asserted on Tuesday while delivering the keynote address at the national programme for working women organized by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos Chapter, held at the Providence Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

Speaking on the theme: “Amplifying Voices, Eliminating Violence, and Fostering Inclusivity”, the professor of Physiology averred that there is a nexus between women’s subordinate positions in the workplace and the incidences of sexual and gender-based violence, hence the need to protect them by putting mechanisms in place for their safety.

Citing the creation of the LASU Centre for Response and Prevention of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in LASU as an example, she said, “When I became VC, we recognized the issues of sexual and gender-based violence as major obstacles capable of preventing our girls from achieving success in their educational pursuit.

“So, to address it, we established the Centre for Response and Prevention of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence headed by one of our brilliant female educationists to put machinery in place that would ensure that sexual and gender-based violence are brought to the minimum in the University.

She said the Centre is the “Only stand-alone Centre on issues of SGBV in any Nigerian University today empowered to provide the physical safe space where students and staff can freely report all forms of violence and be shielded from further attacks; investigate reported cases of sexual violence and take appropriate measures in line with its mandate.”

She called on women in privileged positions to provide more opportunities for education and training, provide clear anti-harassment policies, establish clear reporting mechanisms and support systems for victims, and collaborate with external agencies to protect the voices and rights of women.

The Vice-Chancellor was accompanied to the programme by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Adenike Boyo; the Bursar, Mr. Said Babatunde Olayinka; Director, Directorate of ICT, Prof. Toyin Enikuomehin; Acting Director, Directorate of Special Interventions, Dr. Taiwo Afisi, as well as aides to the Vice Chancellor. The team was received by the Chairman NLC Lagos chapter, Comrade (Chief) Agnes Funmi Sesi.

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