The Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. [ Dr.] Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa , has said that issues of domestic and sexual violence are antithetical to the sanctity of human life.
He said it was unfortunate that domestic and sexual violence were on the rise in Nigeria.
The Speaker made this known in his keynote address at the public hearing of a bill for the creation of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency held on Wednesday, December 9.
Titled: ‘A Bill for a law to provide for the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, the Establishment of Sex Offenders Register and Connected Purposes’, its aim is to ensure peaceful and harmonious living among residents in the state.
The Speaker who was represented by his Deputy, Hon Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, said he pictures the issues of domestic and sexual violence beyond the act, but on the general long-term effect of the experience on the victims.
“When we hear of incidents of sexual abuse and domestic violence, our immediate and default concern is about the pains, sorrow, and agony inflicted on the victims by the perpetrators.
“But also important in the longer term are the psychological and similar ripple effects of pains and agonies on those victims. How has the experiences affected their personal and thoughts processes? How has the effects and experiences affected their world-view?
“Furthermore, we can only care for those victims we know and duly empathise with, but more dangerous are those who never had the opportunities to voice their pains, thereby painfully bottling up their sorrows,” he said.
In his overview of the bill, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon Sanai Agunbiade, said its purpose was to restore sanity in various homes.
He added that Section 3 of the bill had to do with the establishment of an agency that would ensure that the objectives of the law are realised.
According to him, Section 17 of the bill deals with establishment of sex offenders register in Lagos State.The register, the section stipulates, shall bear the record of all sex convicts in Lagos State and shall be maintained by the Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency.
In her welcome address, the House Committee Chairman on Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Hon Mojisola Alli-Macaulay, said the essence of the bill was “to protect victims of sexual and gender-based violence from discrimination and stigmatisation; ensure that victims of domestic and sexual violence have access to medical, legal and counselling assistance.
She added: “It is believed that this is indeed the best time to consolidate on our gains and create institutions to appropriately prevent and respond.”
In the proposed law, there shall be a response team with legal backing.
Among the dignitaries and stakeholders that graced the public hearing include the wife of the Speaker who was ably represented by Hon Tijani; Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, Lagos State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General; Mrs. Cecilia Dada, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation who also stood in for the First Lady, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; Justice Sherifat Sholabo, who stood in for the State Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba; Deputy Commissioner of Police, Yetunde Kuye, who stood in for the Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu.