By Osahon Osahon
Determined to ensure justice for victims of sexual violence and adequate punishment for perpetrators, Edo State Government has proposed establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) in the 18 local government areas of the State.
This was disclosed on Tuesday in Benin by wife of the State Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, at the premises the Evboriaria Magistrate Court, Sapele Road, in Benin, after the resumed hearing of the case of 55-year-old Michael Ogboke, who is standing trial for allegedly defiling a seven-year-old girl.
She explained that the proposed referral centers in the local government areas would be set up like the Vivian SARC Centre that is located in Oredo LGA, Benin City.
The Edo First Lady who was flanked by the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu and his wife Maryann Shaibu, said no human being has a right to oppress another human being.
She pledged the commitment of the State towards ensuring justice for victims assuring them that she will personally follow up every case.
“Today’s case has been adjourned till the 10th of August and I’m going to make time to come here again until we see the end of this case, to serve as a deterrent to people out there.
“We will keep following every case like this as long as we get to know about them and so we are calling on people to come out and don’t let anybody intimidate you,” she said.
She assured that the law will take its full course on the perpetrators, no matter the status of the person involved, while victims will be rehabilitated.
Mrs. Obaseki who is the Chairperson of the Edo State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, urged residents of the State who have been abused or are being abused, to speak up and bring such cases to the attention of the government through agencies near them.
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She urged the victims to speak up, saying “whether you are a child, a woman, a man or a boy, as long as another human being has abused you sexually or in any other forms, the Government is calling you to speak up.”
Mrs. Obaseki urged the victims to lay their complaints at the Ministry of Social Development and Gender located at the State Secretariat or to the Vivian Centre opposite the Golf Course in GRA, Benin City.
She added that they could write to the Office of the Governor, Office of the Deputy Governor or to the office of the First Lady at Government House where their complaints will receive prompt attention.