The Osun Government says it has started training women and children on martial arts as the first line of self-defence against attacks and to curb gender-based violence in the state.
Mrs Olubukola Olaboopo, the Commissioner for Women, Children and Social Affairs, made the disclosure in an interview with Our correspondent on Wednesday in Osogbo.
She said the state was doing everything possible to reduce and eradicate violence against women and children, adding that it was part of the reason the martial arts training was organised.
“We are training our women and children on martial arts, we want them to self-defend themselves before help comes.
“COVID-19 and the #EndSARS protests affected the training, if not so, we would have graduated 300 to 400 trained people.
“However, we are training about 100 people more right now and by January, they would have been perfect for them all to graduate,’’ Olaboopo said.
She said there were laws in the state that protects women against violence, adding that the ministry was working earnestly to ensure that women, children and the vulnerable were always protected and justified when abused.
Olaboopo said the ministry was centrally handling rape and violence against women cases in partnership with the Police and Ministry of Justice so that victims could get justice and offenders don’t go unpunished.
“We have a law that prohibits domestic violence and we are, as much as possible, ensuring that our women experience, if not zero level violence, at least to the barest minimum.
“During the COVID-19 lockdown, there was an upsurge in the incidences of gender-based violence and the state was highly responsive to all the incidences.
“We ensured that we gave prompt attention to distress calls, sometimes we pick up the victims by ourselves and we ensure free medical attention, free medical care for victims. That is why we have the women clinic.
“The women clinic is an innovation of the ministry and we have lawyers, social workers, guidance counselors, clinical psychologists who attend to victims, not just gender-based violence victims but any woman who feels that she is in need of care, assistance, counseling and others,” she said
Olaboopo said herself and other concerned women in the state, led by the wife of the governor, Alhaja Kafayat Oyetola, had gone to the state House of Assembly to push for a review of gender-based laws.
She said they had also met with the Chief Justice and other female judges, including the Police Commissioner to ensure that women and children were protected and get justice in cases of violation against them.