The Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP), responsible for managing the Ireti Resource Centre, has urgently called for financial assistance to sustain their vital efforts in the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and the empowerment of vulnerable individuals in Lagos State. This passionate appeal was made during a breakfast meeting held in Lagos State under the theme “Rebuilding Lives, Restoring Hope.”
The keynote speaker at this impactful event was Professor Ayodele Atsenuwa, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services) of the University of Lagos and an expert in the field of Public Law. She made a compelling case for GBV survivors, emphasizing the importance of believing their stories, as they are more likely to be true than not. She stressed the need to eliminate stigmatization, establish supportive networks to help survivors cope with trauma and simplify the reporting process.
Professor Atsenuwa also called upon various institutions to streamline their procedures for handling GBV cases and emphasized the importance of enhancing the capabilities of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and NGOs. These organizations play a crucial role in providing psycho-social support for GBV survivors.
Furthermore, the professor advocated for the creation of safe spaces, including shelters, where survivors can share their experiences and receive encouragement. She urged the development of community education programs to break the culture of silence and stigmatization surrounding GBV, along with providing economic support for survivors.
Bose Ironsi, the Executive Director of WRAHP, spoke passionately about the prevalence of violence and harmful practices against women and girls in Nigeria. She highlighted that these violations are grave human rights issues with far-reaching negative impacts.
“Globally, statistics indicate that one in three women experiences either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Nigeria is no exception, with 30% of girls and women aged between 15 and 49 reported to have experienced sexual abuse,” she said.
Ironsi underscored the urgent need to address the increasing trend of violence against women and girls, which is deeply rooted in harmful patriarchal, socio-cultural, and gender norms. She emphasized WRAHP’s commitment to tackling this challenge through various intervention programs.
The Ireti Resource Centre, an initiative of WRAHP, was established to provide free integrated legal and psychosocial support services in a safe space for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and other vulnerable individuals across communities in Nigeria, especially Lagos State. Since its inception in March 2020 and its official launch in September 2020, the center has consistently provided unwavering assistance, all free of charge, and has supported 823 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and 138 abused children to date.
In her closing remarks, Mrs. Ironsi stated, “The objective of this meeting is to seek financial support for Ireti Resource Centre to continue offering comprehensive counseling and support to vulnerable individuals in the community. We believe that fostering a culture of empowerment and support will not only combat violence against women but also enable women to thrive and maximize their potential.”
This event was implemented by the Women’s Rights and Health Project with funding support from Global Affairs Canada through ActionAid Nigeria.
Among other things, the group is seeking landed property for a permanent site, and over N250 million to execute its five-year GBV fight and empowerment programmes for vulnerable persons in society.
Notable figures in attendance included the Oba of Orisunmibare, Oba Akeeb Rauf Adebowale, the Alaye of Orisunmibare land, and CDC chairmen from various LCDA’s in Alimosho Local Government Area, where Ireti Resource Centre is located.
Speaking to the media at the event, the Alaye of Orisunmibare land, and the CDC Chairman of Egbe/Idimu LCDA, Rabiu Kazeem, who spoke on behalf of other LCDA chairmen in Alimosho Federal Constituency, pledged their unwavering support to ensure that Ireti Resource Centre continues its invaluable work in Alimosho and throughout Lagos State.
The Oba assured to meet with other Awori Obas in Alimosho on WRAHP’s appeal for a permanent site.