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Boosting Women’s Participation In Politics

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A recent national
forum on mainstreaming gender in governance, organised in Abuja by National Orientation Agency (NOA) and National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), provided another platform for women to canvass adequate participation in politics.
Nigerian women have, on many occasions, been agitating for the rectification of what they describe as lopsidedness in the public office appointments which, they say, are not in their favour.
The women observe that since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, they have been struggling for inclusion in the affairs of the country in spite of their numerical strength and waxing influence.
Citing the country’s general election in 2011 as an instance, they claim that female candidates fared poorly, with only 32 women elected into the National Assembly.
The women point at current records, which indicate that only nine women are among the 109 senators in the Senate, while 27 women are in the 360-member House of Representatives.
However, the women’s advocacy has received the attention of the United Nations Development Programme (NDP) which, via its Democratic Governance for Development project, developed a pilot scheme recently to boost women’s participation in politics.
The scheme particularly aims at supporting the involvement of more female candidates in elections, especially at the local level; as it represents the springboard to the other levels of government.
The programme has trained more than 1,300 female politicians and voters in two pilot states — Plateau and Ekiti — while at the national level; more than 2,000 female politicians have received training in various electoral processes.
Stressing the need for increased women’s participation in politics at the forum, Ms Onyeka Onwenu, the Director-General of NCWD, said that Nigerian women did not have to beg for positions.
She emphasised that the Nigerian women should go beyond the 35 percent affirmative action, set in the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and demand for 45 percent representation as their right.
She said that no nation could develop without the input of women, adding that tangible efforts should be made to jettison attitudes which denigrated women.
However, the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, gave the assurance that women would always be recognised in the country’s scheme of things.
According to her, this is because no country can achieve any meaningful development without the active participation of women.
In a message to the forum, Dame Jonathan pledged that  she would advocate a level beyond the 35 percent affirmative action, as part of efforts to boost women’s participation in governance to a level that was akin to that of men.
“We are no longer comfortable with the 35 per-cent affirmative action; what we now want is 50-50 with our male counterparts.
“Women are responsible for nurturing the future generation of the country; they should be considered for greater roles in governance,’’ she added.
Mrs Jonathan, however, called on the National Assembly to include the 35 percent affirmative action for women in the constitution, stressing that women would not relent in efforts to pursue their legitimate demands.
“We must continue the campaign on gender mainstreaming in governance, which I have been promoting with other women.
“The campaign has led to the establishment of the Women for Change Initiative as a platform for promoting women participation in politics,’’ she said.
Mrs Funmi Adeyemi, a civil servant, who spoke on women’s participation in politics, said that women should have more roles to play in politics, insisting that women were agents of change in any society.
Mrs Dorcas Jonah, a journalist, said: “Although nature has made it that men should dominate, women should, nonetheless, make themselves relevant in the scheme of things’’.
All the same, Mr Mike Omeri, the Director-General of NOA, said that “the current administration is bent on gender mainstreaming and it will build on the past efforts aimed at giving women and youths the chance to exhibit their talents.
“The agency is poised to take the campaign on gender mainstreaming to every part of the country, especially as it concerns the girl-child who must be educated.’’
The Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, said that women ought to be fully involved in the affairs of their country.
He said that President Goodluck Jonathan had pledged to give the needed support to women in their desire to have more representatives in governance.
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Institute, a non-governmental organisation that aids democratic institutions across the world, has said that the equitable participation of women in politics is essential for building and sustaining any democracy.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the institute’s Chairman, said: “Every country deserves to have the best possible leader; that means women ought to be given a chance to compete.
“If they’re never allowed to compete in the electoral process; then, the countries are really robbing themselves of a great deal of talents.’’

Ogunshola writes for News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

 

 Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr Habibu Lawal (left),  with the Minister, Hajiya Zainab Maina, at the National Stakeholders' Consultative Preparatory Meeting on the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in Abuja,  recently. Photo: NAN

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr Habibu Lawal (left), with the Minister, Hajiya Zainab Maina, at the National Stakeholders’ Consultative Preparatory Meeting on the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in Abuja, recently.
Photo: NAN

Femi Ogunshola

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60 -Year – Old Man Commits Suicide After Assaulting Daughter

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A sixty-year-old man (name withheld) has committed suicide after he was caught having sex with his biological daughter of 17 years old.
The incident occurred at Amaigbo in Nwangele Local Government Area of Imo State recently.
Report reaching The Tide, said the man denied when the news was making the rounds that he was having affair with his daughter for some years.
The Tide learnt that after his denial, the community set a close watch on him and set a surveillance on.
The cat was let out of the bag, when after about one week of his denial, he was caught on top of his daughter, having carnal knowledge of her.
According to the report, the members of his community descended on him and gave him thorough beating and stripped him naked and he was taken to the palace of the traditional ruler of the community, where they performed certain rituals to appease the land.
Apparently worried about the stigma and scandal involved, he decided to commit suicide to avoid the embarrassment he might face from the community.
When the sad news reached the wife of the man who was already in the market, out of shame, she decided to abscond.
When contacted on phone, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abutu Yaro said that such report had not reached his table, adding that he would find out later. 

By: Joe Nwachukwu, Owerri

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Women Now Drink As Much As Men

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Research shows women suffer health consequences of alcohol liver disease, heart disease and cancer more quickly than men and even at lower levels of consumption. 
Researchers worry the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic could amplify the rise in alcohol and mental health concerns among young women.
For nearly a century, women have been closing the gender gap in alcohol consumption, binge-drinking and alcohol use disorder. What was previously a 3-1 ratio for risky drinking habits in men versus women is closer to 1-to-1 globally, a 2016 analysis of several studies suggested.
And the latest U.S. data from 2019 shows that women in their teens and early 20s reported drinking and getting drunk at higher rates than their male peers in some cases for the first time since researchers began measuring such behavior.
This trend parallels the rise in mental health concerns among young women, and researchers worry the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic could amplify both patterns.
“It’s not only that we’re seeing women drinking more, but that they’re really being affected by this physically and mental health-wise,” said Dawn Sugarman, a research psychologist at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts who has studied addiction in women.
Research shows women suffer health consequences of alcohol liver disease, heart disease and cancer more quickly than men and even at lower levels .
Perhaps most concerning is that the rising gender equality in alcohol use doesn’t extend to the recognition or treatment of alcohol disorders, Sugarman said. So even as some women drink more, they’re often less likely to get the help they need.
Although the gender gap in alcohol consumption is narrowing among all ages, the reasons differ. For people over 26, women are increasing their alcohol consumption faster than men. Among teens and young adults, however, there’s an overall decline in drinking. The decline is simply slower for women.
That may sound like progress, said Aaron White, a senior scientific adviser at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. But it may indicate larger underlying issues.
“We have a real concern that while there might be fewer people drinking, many of those who are drinking might be doing so specifically to try to cope,” White said. “And that is problematic.”
Research suggests that people who drink to cope as opposed to drinking for pleasure have a higher risk of developing alcohol-use disorder. And while every individual’s reasons for drinking are different, studies have found women are more likely to drink to cope than men.
From Kaiser Health.com.

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Woman Sells Two Daughters For N300,000 In Ogun

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A 35-year-old housewife, Blessing Agoro, has been arrested by men of Ogun State Police Command for allegedly selling her two daughters, Semilore Agoro (four), and Deborah Agoro (two).
The suspect was arrested, following a report lodged at Redeemed Camp Divisional Police Headquarters by her husband, Oluwaseyi Agoro.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi disclosed this in a statement, yesterday.
Oyeyemi said the husband reported that when he returned from travelling last Tuesday he couldn’t find his two daughters.
The PPRO said, “The man stated further that all efforts to make his wife tell him the whereabouts of the children proved abortive, hence his report.
“Upon the report, the DPO Redeemed Camp division, CSP Alabi Akinjide, detailed his detectives to apprehend the suspect, who had already been with the camp’s code of conduct department.
“On interrogation, the suspect explained to the police that her husband left home for the past two years, and while he was away, she found it difficult to cater for the two children with her other two children she had for another man.
“She stated further that while she was contemplating on what to do, one Kolawole Imoleayo introduced her to a couple in Port Harcourt who was in need of children. She sold the two daughters to the couple at the rate of N300,000.
“Her confession led to the arrest of the said intermediary, Kolawole Imoleayo. They are both assisting the police in their investigation.”
The Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, has ordered the transfer of the suspects to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCID) for discreet investigation.
Oyeyemi added that Ajogun directed that the children must be rescued and brought back to their parents as soon as possible.

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