Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, First Lady of Lagos State, has urged members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to join the fight against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and become ambassadors of the advocacy to rid the society of the act
She said this at the State Headquarters of NURTW located in the Oko-Oba area of Agege on Thursday during a sensitisation visit organized by her office for over 1,000 transport union workers in line with the global 16 days of activism against GBV.
“We have been moving across the state with this advocacy. This time around we decided that we are coming to meet our brothers and sisters of the NURTW here. This is the first time I am coming here and I am happy to be with you. We are reminding everyone that we should not be involved in domestic violence and sexual violence.
“These are things that are wrong and we should not take them lightly. We must kick these crimes out of Lagos State. When a woman says no, her no should mean no and it must be respected. When you see something, you must say something and do something. You all must be our ambassadors against the menace,” she said.
According to the First Lady, like all professions, it is unlikely that transportation workers will have a couple of bad apples, adding that the rest of the union should expose and shame such members in order to prevent their actions from continuing to taint the collective image of the union.
She stated that the State Government enacted a law that supports the establishment of a Sex Offenders Register in an effort to name and shame those who commit sexual crimes, and she condemned the consumption of all kinds of sachet alcoholic beverages and mixtures which can trigger mental health problems and SGBV issues.
In addition to the previous unveiling of signs against SGBV in some LGAs, she said efforts would be made soon to declare parking lots and bus stops as Rape Free Zones, among other initiatives to uproot the menace.
Mrs Oluremi Hamzat, wife of the Deputy Governor, also called on parents to be vigilant in protecting their children from sexual predators, noting that abuse of minors has become rampant.
The State Chairman of NURTW, Alhaji Musiliu Ayinde Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, welcomed the First Lady and commended her for the advocacy against SGBV, saying members of the union were pleased to welcome her.
Hooliganism and selling alcohol in bus parks controlled by the NURTW have now been made history, he said, adding that the union will spare no effort to sustain peaceful conduct by its members.
“Personally, I have never tasted alcohol in my life. I have never smoked cigarettes as well. I will never be in a position to encourage drug abuse and sexual abuse by our members.
“It is also worthy to note that the issue of hooliganism especially during the change of leadership in the parks is now a thing of the past in our Union. We also have children who we are praying to God to be successful in life. Therefore, we will continue to speak out against acts of violence in any form,” Akinsanya said.
During the advocacy visit, a subject matter expert on gender-based violence and a retired director in the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs Ibudunni Alakija-Ladapo, gave a special lecture on SGBV, as well as information materials to members of the NURTW.