– We’ve lost the future in Ajegunle – Alhaji Adeniji
– There is no Rape case in Aiyetoro – Engr. Taiwo Adekoya, Bayefuwa CDA Chairman
– Yes there is; Aiyetoro has 3! – Pat Tekobo, S.A. WAPA
– Abusers are people that have gained our trust in the community and even in the family – Mr. Joseph, Director, Rhoda Havens
– Stakeholders at the Rhoda Havens maiden Town Hall meeting in AJIF LGA spoke strongly against child abuse, domestic violence, discrimination and stigmatization.
THE INAUGUARAL TOWN HALL MEETING of Rhoda Havens, a community based organization, which is working on a project that specializes on Orphans and vulnerable children, has revealed that over 4,000 adolescents are infected with the dreaded Human Immune Virus (HIV) in Ajegunle, Wednesday, May 30, 2018.
The NGO, whose project on orphans and vulnerable children will come to an end in 2019, being a 5 year project, is in partnership with Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area.
While delivering his opening speech, Mr. Joseph, Director of Rhoda Havens said it was important relevant stakeholders in the community partook in discussing some of the challenges faced by people in the community, and equally proffers solutions for these social anomalies.
“We are particularly gladdened by your presence, but we must put all hands on deck to discuss domestic issues and violence faced by children and other gender based challenges in the community,” he began with.
He assured the participants that the town hall meeting is expected to continue, considering the outcome of this inaugural discourse of the NGO with members of the community.
“Towards the end of this project in 2019, we shall have another town hall meeting to evaluate the project so far,” he added.
Topics for discussion were moderated by Mrs. Yemisi Olaitan, State Programme Adviser for ARFH (Lagos State), after she explained the purpose of the town hall meeting.
The case of child abuse heightened reactions of participants, after Chairman of Baiyefuwa Community Development Association (CDA) insisted that no rape case had been recorded in Aiyetoro. But his stance was disputed by Hon. Pat Tekobo, S.A on Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA).
“We have three cases of rape in Aiyetoro, and I have evidences to show,” she said. According to the bespectacled serial appointee in different administrations of AJIF LGA, she posited that the home constitute major bulk of child abuse. “We must find a way of disabusing the incidence of discrimination and stigmatization in Ajegunle,” she says.
Alhaji Yusuf Adeniji , former Supervisor for Health under Prince Rabiu Adio Oluwa, former Ajif Local Government Executive Chairman, was emotionally mystified by the data of children who are infected with HIV in Ajegunle. According to community leader whose one of his expertise is Forensic Accounting, expressed fear for the future of the younger generations. “We have lost hope in the future, and with the alarming figure of children with this infectious disease, what about others who refused to be accounted for?” he said emotionally.
In his words, “We may be packing dead bodies on the street in 10 years from now.”
Ba’ale Musibau Oluwa, Ba’ale of Alakoto settlement was of the view that African culture and fear of stigmatization have contributed to cases of rape and other domestic violence, not seeing the light of the day.
“We know what we are facing as Ba’ales, and once families of people that have been abused in the community began to plead before you and you prove otherwise, they see you as a common enemy.” He said.
Representative of the Executive Chairman, Hon. Fatai Adekunle Ayoola, Chief of Staff, Mr. Lucky Uduikhue, said the government have been supporting projects of Rhoda Havens, and that that Hon. Ayoola administration will do more in the area of training and re-training for victims and other youths that are part of Rhoda Havens project.
Among other topics discussed include: school attendance and retention, parenting skills, prevention of stigma and discrimination, community ownership and sustainability, gender norms, GBV/HIV prevention, including women and girls.