Recently, Nigeria joined the global community to celebrate 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. And on the occasion, the Federal Government, through the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs), unveiled a 208-bed model transit facility in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
The event, held on Thursday, November 26, was attended by several dignitaries, including Governor Kayode Fayemi, his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, SSAP-SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope among other dignitaries
The facility is a transit home for victims of domestic violence and abuse. It is equipped to provide lifelong skills that women and girls who have suffered violence can use to meet the demands of everyday life.
The facility is an administrative block, a crèche, 250-seater conference hall, 200-room self-contained apartment and a skills acquisition centre for hairdressing, tailoring and photography among others.
At the event, Princess Orelope-Adefulire noted that the project was aimed at supporting women who have suffered abuse and violence to stand on their feet economically. She noted that the facility would aid the achievements of goals 3, 5, 10, She commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs for their commitment to improving issues involving women and the girl-child. Orelope Adefulire also commended the Ekiti State Government for its commitment to the 2030 Agenda.
Also speaking at the event, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq described the facility as another evidence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the achievement of global goals. She said the facility was commissioned at the right time given recent indications that the COVID19 pandemic had led to an increase in gender-based violence.
The minister assured that President Buhari’s administration would continue to implement policies and initiatives that would ensure more protection for girls and women with introduction of a broader social investment programme in support of vulnerable members of the Nigerian society.
“Women have a special place in President Buhari’s administration and more resources are invested to empower: women and enable them achieve their full potential; support their husbands and the educational development of their children. This will certainly reduce domestic violence at homes,” the minister said.
She urged all stakeholders to work together to promote the rights of women and girls everywhere in Nigeria for a more gender-inclusive society where no one would be left behind.
Also speaking during the event, Governor Fayemi said the facility is especially significant as it is coming on stream during the 16 day-activism against gender-based violence, adding that it would complement the state’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre popularly known as Moremi Clinic.
He said the transit home is a safe haven for women that would also not just ensure that victims of gender abuse get justice, but to also provide succour to them. Fayemi said his administration had already signified its commitment to the fight against gender-based violence with its naming and shaming policy as demonstrated by its sexual offenders register.
He added that violence against women is a serious violation of human rights with impacts ranging from physical, sexual and mental consequences to even permanent disabilities for the victims.
Mrs Fayemi, chairperson of the state’s Gender Based Committee commended Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, OSSAP-SDGs and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs for ensuring the completion of the project.
The minister flagged off the Rural Women’s Cash Grant in Ekiti State with the distribution of cash to vulnerable women. About 3, 00 women from 16 local councils benefitted from the one-off cash grant of N20, 000 each.
Besides the transit home, the state government and OSSAP-SDGs also commissioned about 65 other projects executed under the 2018 rounds of Conditional Grant Scheme in four local governments areas across the three senatorial districts.
Moba, Ijero, Oye and Ekiti South West LGAs were selected for the projects focused on addressing Goal 3 (good health and wellbeing), Goal 4 (quality education) and Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation) of the 2030 Agenda. Some of the projects include classrooms, boreholes, health centres, ambulances, VIP toilets, school furniture and staff quarters for medical staff, among others.
While commissioning a project at Ijurin Ekiti, Princess Orelope-Adefulire said the CGS, which was initiated under the MDGs framework, had helped to bring development to the grassroots across the country, adding that all states have benefitted She said: “In the education sector, 26 contracts (new construction and renovation of existing facilities) were awarded while 17 contracts (new contracts and upgrading of existing facilities) were awarded. Also, 22 procurements were made to complement the construction and renovation work carried out in the education and health facilities in the four local government areas.”
She told the benefitting communities: “Ladies and gentlemen, at this juncture, we solicit your continuous support and cooperation as we make use of these facilities for our benefit and that of our children. The meagre resources from all tiers of government to achieve these national policy objectives that will deliver on the change agenda for sustainable socio-economic development should be guarded jealously,” she said.
Chairman of the Implementation Committee of SDGs in the state and Chief of Staff to Governor Fayemi, Mr Biodun Omoleye, said all the 65 projects approved for Ekiti by OSSAP-SDGs had been fully delivered.
He urged the beneficiary local governments, relevant MDAs and town unions to come up with sustainability plan that will ensure functionality as well as enduring life span of the projects.
Margaret Fagboyo, Special Adviser Development Partnerships/SDGs to Ekiti State Government also assured that adequate plans were in place for the maintenance, security and sustainability of the projects.
Traditional rulers present at the commissioning commended OSSAP-SDGs and the presidential adviser for the delivery of the projects.