A state-of-the-art Sexual Assault Referral Center for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District has been commissioned for use at the Ikot Ekpene General Hospital.
The center christened “Restoration Clinic” which will carter for all victims of sexual assault in the senatorial district was inaugurated on Friday by the Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.
Speaking during the event, Mr. Ekpo noted that “statistics show that one in every four girls and one in every ten boys in Nigeria had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18”, saying with the unveiling of the center, both physiological and psychological trauma experienced by victims of violence would be attended to.
The State Deputy Governor speaking further added that the society was facing dangerous circumstances where families are daily confronted with the specter of despicable and atrocious activities perpetrated by debased men, and commended the governor’s wife for rising to the occasion by continually fighting the monstrous elements in the state.
Similarly, the wife of Akwa Ibom Governor, Dr. Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel who is the Chairperson of the State Gender Based Management Committee, in her remarks at the event said the well-furnished center would take care of victims of sexual and gender based assaults in the senatorial district.
The First Lady while noting that the Center was the first government owned facility, added that it would definitely complement Agape Center at Immanuel Hospital in Eket Senatorial district which has been in operation for a while, and Heartland Alliance Center in Uyo senatorial district.
The FEYReP boss while thanking the Commissioner for Health and the management of the Hospital for donating the Center, said patients at the center would be treated “free of charge.”
“All victims of sexual assaults and domestic violence in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district would be treated free of charge at this center, no money is required for treatment in this facility,” Dr. Emmanuel said.
In their separate goodwill remarks, the Hon. Commissioner for Health, Professor Augustine Umoh, her Women Affairs counterpart, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, that of Labour and Manpower, Mr. Aniefiok Nkom, and the Chief Medical Director of Ikot Ekpene General Hospital, Dr. Nene Andem, all averred that sexual and gender based violence was not just crime against humanity but against God.
They added that the advantage of having a sexual assault referral center in the hospital was to aid treatment of victims of sexual assaults, and as well thanked the Governor for massively renovating the medical facility.
Others who spoke at the event were the executive chairman of Ikot Ekpene local government area, Hon. Unyime Etim, the Paramount Ruler of Ikot Ekpene, HRM Obong Okon Ukut, and a representative of RISE project, Mr. Daniel Akpere.
Sexual assault referral center is a necessity in every civilised society. In Akwa Ibom State which is one of the developing states in Nigeria, it is a commended effort on the part of Akwa Ibom Goverment, to deem it fit to institutional Sexual Assault Referral Center.
This new development shall not only curb sexual assaults in the State, but also give sense of security and hope to sexual assaults victims in the State.
It is believed that when this initiative is positioned across the three Senatorial Districts of the State, in Uyo, Eket and Ekpene, it shall go a long way to compliment the existing gender base violence desk present in every local government areas of the State.
It is commendable that Akwa Ibom State government is committed to providing a safe haven for it citizenry and other residents through the provision of necessary Agencies and bodies to curb crime as well as providing succour to unsuspected victims.
With the presence of Sexual assaults Referral center in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, the masses are hopeful, other Senatorial Districts shall take their turns in no time and vulnerable shall regain their sense of safety and a safe environment for inhabitation.