A Lagos-based anti-rape campaigner and founder of Mirabel Centre, Itoro Eze-Anaba, has been recognised for her work by Queen Elizabeth II of England.
The Queen on Tuesday honoured Ms. Eze-Anaba with the Fourth Commonwealth Point of Light award for her role in helping victims of sexual assault, according to a statement signed by Joe Abuku, a spokesperson for the U.K. High Commission in Abuja.
The honour is part of various activities marking the build-up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London. The meeting is slated for 19-20 April in London and Windsor.
With the theme of ‘Towards a Common Future’, Commonwealth leaders plan to create a more prosperous and fair future for the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion citizens, especially its youth.
The Queen — as Head of the Commonwealth — is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 52 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond.
“I am delighted that a Point of Light has been awarded to highlight the importance of tackling rape and sexual assault,” Ms. Anaba was quoted as saying in a statement to the U.K. High Commission. “Rape is evil, degrading and dehumanising.”
“I am sure that this award marks the beginning of a joint effort to uproot this evil that relentlessly battles for our future,” she added.
She dedicated the award to a “tireless and resolute team that is determined to give voice to the voiceless, strength to the weak and hope to the hopeless,”
In 2013, Ms. Eze-Anaba founded Nigeria’s first reform centre for victims of sexual violence in Lagos, a facility that has helped over 3,100 victims. The centre has received funding from the U.K. Department for International Development.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, presented the activist with the award during an event at the British High Commissioner’s Residence in Abuja Tuesday evening, Mr. Abuku said.
Mr. Arkwright hailed Ms. Eze-Anaba for showing “impressive dedication to supporting victims of sexual assault and rape.”
The Point of Light frequently recognises outstanding volunteers, individuals whose service is making a difference in their communities and whose story can inspire others to create innovative solutions to social challenges in their own communities and beyond.
The awards began in the United States in the early 1990s under President George Bush, recognising more than 6,000 outstanding persons in that country alone since then.
Since 2014, the UK Prime Minister has been holding a regular Point of Light awards event for people in the UK, with almost 900 now recognised.
The Commonwealth Points of Light is an offshoot of the similar honours in America and Britain.
As the leader of the Commonwealth, the British monarch hopes the award would inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges in modern times.