Abigail Van Buren said: “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

The year 2021 dawned with the alleged Sexual Harassment and attempted rape of one Miss Barakat, a 16 year old teenager by the Ogun Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Abudu Balogun.

Ado-Odo/Ota Civil Society Gender Based Violence Advocacy Group is worried with the fact that this is not a random faceless person but a public office holder who ordinarily is expected to uphold the law. We are however optimistic that the Police under the Area Command Ogbere which is handling the case will be thorough in their investigation and make their findings public.

The fact that Ogun State just passed into law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law and a Commissioner in this present government may be tried under this law if the allegations are found to be true and non malicious will send a strong signal to intending perpetrators of similar act.

We therefore call on the Ogun State Government to ensure that the affected Commissioner is suspended pending the conclusion of investigation to show the world that it is truly committed to the eradication of sexual and gender based violence.

That family members are also involved as accomplices in this alleged crime shows that sexual and gender based violence is not only inflicted by random strangers. This calls for an increased sensitization on the subject matter through all available platforms.

We commend the courage of the survivor for speaking out as much as we hope that she is not being used by the Political Opponents of the Commissioner as claimed by him in his press statement.

Toyin Ndidi Taiwo-Ojo
Co-ordinator, Ado-Odo/Ota Civil Society Gender Based Violence Advocacy Group

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