ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Dr Gloria Diri, wife of Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, and other women groups have intensified their advocacy against gender-based violence and sexual abuse in the state.
To this extent, they have launched a frantic sensitisation campaign against sexual and gender-based violence in schools and churches in the state.
They called on the girl-child to be aware and protect themselves against sexual predators.
The campaigns, powered by the State Gender Response Initiative (GRIT) under the directive of Mrs Diri in collaboration with gender-based advocacy groups, have toured many public and private schools and churches in the first batch of its sensitisation.
The other groups working in concert with the Governor’s wife are Standup for Women Society (SWS), Nigerian Association of Female Engineers of Nigeria (Bayelsa chapter), the Starrz Safety Initiative, the Carenepere Initiative and the Albinos Foundation
The Chairman of GRIT, Mrs Dise Sheila Ogbise, while speaking at the end of the first phase of the campaign held at St. Judes Secondary School, Amarata, Yenagoa, commended the Bayelsa First Lady for giving members of the team a platform to work.
Ogbise stated that the partnership with other organisations had helped to pass on the message across the state capital, describing her symbolic participation to wrap up the first phase of the sensitisation campaign as laudable.
Ogbise, a renowned lawyer, said: “This sensitisation is so symbolic because, for the first time, we had the presence of a Governor’s wife in a school sensitisation.
“The sensitisation that has been ongoing for over three weeks has yielded positive results as more awareness has been created on preventive and protective strategies to curb issues of sexual and gender-based violence.
“We also appreciate Mrs Diri for the lead as this move has further strengthened GRIT’s relationship with other civil society organisations.”
In her speech, Mrs Gloria Diri called on the girl-child to be conscious of the happenings in their surroundings and not allow sexual predators to jeopardise their future.
She said: ”Protect yourselves and don’t allow any man to jeopardies your future. You should always be conscious of your surroundings and everybody around you. Everyone is a suspect including some parents, guardians and teachers.”
At the Bishop Dimiari Grammar School, Yenagoa, which is a school for boys, the First Lady challenged the boys to always learn to love and protect their sisters by ensuring that they are safe from any form of violence.
She noted that boys should not partake in rape, cultism, drug abuse among others, advising them to know that they are the future leaders of tomorrow.
She said that BDGS had produced great men in the state and they must maintain that standard and do the needful to secure their future.