Queen Elizabeth II has recognised Itoro Eze-Anaba, wife of Vanguard Editor, Eze-Anaba as the 4th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour .
Mrs Eze-Anaba’s recognition is coming in view of her support for more than 3000 victims of rape and sexual assault in Nigeria.
The UK High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, presented the Commonwealth Award Certificate on behalf of the Queen to Eze-Anaba at a dinner on Tuesday in Abuja.
The High Commissioner said the award was coming ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London on 19-20 April.
He commended her for her contributions toward tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.
Arkwright said that Eze-Anaba founded Nigeria’s first sexual assault referral centre, known as Mirabel Centre in 2013, and since then had helped more than 3,100 victims of rape.
“The Mirabel Centre has established itself as a key service provider for victims of sexual assault in Lagos State, with an increasing number of clients accessing the centre.
“This indicated a growing awareness among members of the public of the existence of the centre and the crucial services it provides,’’ he said.
Arkwright said she had shown impressive dedication to supporting victims and provided safe haven for more than 2,800 survivors.
“Itoro has shown impressive dedication to supporting victims of sexual assault and rape.
“She has provided a safe haven for over 2800 survivors of this heinous crime and has encouraged thousands to break the silence on rape and seek prosecution of perpetrators,’’ he said.
The Commonwealth, according to him is a diverse community of 52 nations working together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace.
Eze-Anaba, in her remarks expressed delight that a Point of Light had been awarded to highlight the importance of tackling rape and sexual assault.
According to her, the Mirabel Centre is a project of Partnership for Justice where rape and victims of sexual assault can access free forensic medical and counseling services.
She said the centre had helped more than 70 boys raped victims and about 3000 girls that were raped since its inception.
Eze-Anaba said that the centre had given hope to the hopeless by making clients/victims walk with their heads high after counseling.
She stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to end what she described as a heinous crime
“Rape is evil, degrading and dehumanising.
“On behalf of the dedicated, tireless and resolute team that is determined to give voice to the voiceless, strength to the weak and hope to the hopeless, I am sure that this award marks the beginning of a joint effort to uproot this evil that relentlessly battles for our future.
“This award is a reiteration of our message of `NO TO RAPE.’’