Skip to content

Otu Says Cross River Has Zero Tolerance For Sexual Exploitation, Violence Against Women And Girls

The Governor of Cross River, Sen. Bassey Edet Otu, has stated that the state has zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and harassment against women and girls.

Otu stated this during the official closeout event and handing over of Sportlight Initiative programme to State Government held at Transcrop Hotels, Calabar.

The Governor represented by the Speaker, CRS House of Assembly, RT. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, said he was glad that the state is one of the 5 states in Nigeria that is considered for the Sportlight Initiative intervention under the coordination of the United Nations Resident Coordination Office, and acknowledged the contributions and commitment of UN Systems in Nigeria.

In his words, "regardless of the circumstances, women and girls have inherited rights to be safe, to live in peace and with dignity to enjoy freedom and equality. That gender-base violence including sexual violence are violations of human rights, therefore, it should never be condoned, excused or downplayed.

"This principle informed the enactment and passage of laws to promote, safeguard and protect the rights of women and girls in the state to include Violence Against Persons law no 10 in 2021, Disability Rights law in 2021, CRS Girls Rights law in 2009 and 2023, CRS Female Persons Inheritance of Property law 2007, the Girl Child Marriage and Female Circumcision law 2000, etc.

"That the Government not only make laws, but is committed to enforcing the said laws as exemplified through the support and abolition of money wife practice which perpetuate Early-forced Child Marriage in some communities in the state."

Despite achievements recorded, the Governor called on stakeholders to continue on awareness creation through community outreach programmes and the European Union, United Nations System not to relent their efforts and support to the State.

Speaking during the official handing over, the National Sportlight Initiative Coordinator, Mrs. Anu Varghese John, said it is exciting to witnessed the success of the programme in the state within the 5 years and expressed the believe that with the commitment demonstrated by the state government and stakeholders, the lrogramme will achieve it objectives to the people.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hon. Edema Erom, said Sportlight Initiative have not ended, that it is handling over to the CRS Government and the Programme has received N400 million Budgetary provision to sustain it programmes.

The event featured commissioning of the one-stop Fistula and Gender-base Violence Centre at the General Hospital, Calabar. Presentation of handing over and closeout documents to the State Government by the national coordinator, Sportlight Initiative Mrs. Anu Varghese John, guarded tour of facilities led by the commissioner of health and that of Women Affairs Ministry.

Stakeholders present include the Civil Society Organizations, the traditional rulers led by the Palace of the Obong of Calabar, the Nigerian Police Force, NAPTIP, Ministry of International Donor Coordination, State Planning Commission, National Human Rights Commission, the Judiciary, the media and school children.

By Ibaghe Eseh, The Beagle News