Following the realization of the fact that violence against women stops girls from reaching their potentials, Eleme Local Government Council has decided to put an end to gender-based violence.
This was demonstrated in a programme it organised in collaboration with the Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs, in order to join the international communities that are working hard to transform attitudes towards perpetrating violence against women and girls.
As part of ways to increase more awareness on the rise in gender-based violence in Nigeria and to put an end to it, the local government Chairman, Hon Philip Okparaji, took campaign to his locality so as to put an end to the dreaded scourge.
Speaking during the programme titled: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV) with the theme, “OrangeThe World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape”, last Tuesday, at Eleme LGA, the Chairman of the occasion and wife of the Eleme LGA Chairman, Hon Elera Phillip Okparaji, decried the patriarchal culture of the country which she said has become a global issue of discourse among the Eleme people as its negative activities are predominantly carried out on girls and women.
Mrs Okparaji listed some obnoxious practices carried out on girls and women as follows: Female Genital Mutilation, and forcing widows to drink water used in bathing their late husbands, shaving their heads as well as forcing them to get married to their late husbands’ brothers among others.
She appealed to all those still engaged in these obnoxious activities to stop, adding that such practices increase the victims’ chances of being vulnerable to diseases as well as making the young girls more promiscuous.
Mrs Okparaji stated that violence against women robs them of their self esteem. She expressed hope that the marking of the 16 Days of Activism Against violence and rape on women and girls in Eleme would finally put an end to it in the LGA, state, and country at large.
Also speakaing on the topic:” Gender-Based Violence Against Women And Girls, the Role of The Media”, The Treasurer, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Rivers State, Mrs Serekara-Nwikhana Susan, explained that the the media have numerous roles to play beginning with creating awareness on the negative implications of GBV and rape on girls and women so as to put an end to them.
Nwikhana stated that guardians to victims and victims themselves must ensure they break the silence by speaking out, adding that when you speak out the evil will be reduced, but refusing to speak out spreads the evil the more as perpetrators go Scot free.
Also speaking on the negative effect of Rape On women and Girls, Chief Dorathy Casca Ogosu one of the resource persons, stated that rape is condemnable crime, which culprit should be made to face 14 years imprisonment as a result of trauma and stigmatisation caused the victim.
Ogosu listed the negative effects of rape as Physical, mental and psychological, adding that the remedy to rape cases is early report to the police for immediate action.
Another resource person from National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs Charity Godchild, singled out homes as one major place where girls and young women often experience Gender-Based Violence which ranges from physical punishment to sexual, emotional and psychological harm.
She noted that acceptance of violence as a private affair often prevents others from intervening and prohibits girls and young women from reporting, she reiterated the need to break the silence and speak out against this dreaded scourge.
Charity also mentioned the school as a place where girls experience violence from sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation, adding that this violation of Girls’ Rights, especially when committed by those in position of care or authority, can impact on girls’ ability to continue and complete their education.
The NOA representative added that GBV occurs in all parts of the world, but the risk is higher where violence is normalized and where rigid concepts agenda exist, remarking that in many cultures, violence towards girls and young women is accepted as a social norm, but when it happens to the men it becomes political.
She maintained that this must be challenged as a matter of urgency especially in this part of the world where it is seen as a patriarchal issue, adding that the blame game, shame and stigma faced by victims must be eliminated as soon as possible.
Another speaker on Rape from the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Rivers State, Barr Dada Dibiah stressed that girls must never be held responsible for the violence against them as it a sole responsibility of the perpetuator, who must be held accountable according to National or International Legislation.
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
Rape, Assault Allegation: NAWOJ Wants Unbiased Investigation
The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has called on the Kogi State Government to ensure accelerated and unbiased investigation of the alleged act of assault and rape committed by the state’s Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr Abdumumuni Danga.
The association made the call in a statement signed by its National President, Mrs Ifeyinwa Omowole, in Abuja, and made available to The Tide, last Monday
It would be recalled that in a video, which had gone viral on social media recently, a beauty queen, Elizabeth Oyeniyi, alleged that Danga abducted, assaulted and forcefully had sex with her over a Facebook post.
According to the victim, she had earlier appealed to the commissioner to assist his family member, who is also a friend of the victim, on her Facebook wall in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Oyeniyi, however, explained that the commissioner got enraged with the post and ordered some boys to pick her and his sister from Okene to Lokoja where the commissioner personally flogged them and raped her.
She further alleged that her phone was smashed and the commissioner intimidated her to recant her Facebook claims through a make-believe video in which she apologised and spoke nicely of him.
Although, the state governor has reportedly suspended the commissioner and ordered an investigation into the matter, human rights organisations, civil society groups, including the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), have all called for justice.
However, NAWOJ in its statement, urged Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to ensure that objective and unbiased investigation is carried out promptly on the allegation and the accused adequately punished, if found guilty.
“While the media is awash with false information that the commissioner had been suspended, NAWOJ reliably learnt that the commissioner was yet to be suspended and no punishment had been meted out to him.
“Although a probe has been initiated by the state Governor, Yahaya Bello, NAWOJ wishes to urge the panel and the governor to fast-track the probe and not unduly delay it.
“It is worthy of note that many days after this allegation, the said commissioner is yet to deny the allegation against him, pointing to the fact that he may be guilty as alleged.
“NAWOJ also notes that although the victim has already indicated interest to seek legal redress, the onus still lies on the state government, if it is not complicit, to take a decisive action against the erring commissioner.
“Governor Yahaya Bello must take a clear stance to be against violence and assault on women by taking a decisive action against the commissioner, an action that would serve as a deterrent to others with similar traits,” the statement read in part.
The association, therefore, called on the state governor to ensure that the accused is made to step-down as a public office holder so that he does not intimidate the victim or her family.
It added that other women groups and lawyers would be rallied to ensure that Oyeniyi gets justice.
“We can no longer have people in authority who should be custodians of the law breaking same laws with impunity and yet attempting to hold onto supposedly honourable positions,” it stated.
Stories by Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
COVID-19: Women Journalists Urge Gender-Sensitive Approach
The Rivers State chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), has called for the implem-entation of a gender-sensitive approach in the management of the efforts to contain Coronavirus in the state.
A statement by the state Coordinator of NAWOJ, Mrs Lilian Okonkwo-Ogabu, in Port Harcourt, argued that such policy should make adequate provisions for women participation in the process, particularly because women play critical role in the affairs of society.
The statement reads, “During situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, women make essential contributions as leaders and frontline responders.
“But they are also hit harder by the health, economic and social impacts of the novel outbreak.
“At this time, there is no doubt that women are at increased risk of infection, domestic violence and loss of livelihoods, and have less access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services as healthcare systems become overstretched.
“As advocates for gender equality, the health and rights of girls and women, NAWOJ in Rivers State calls on multinationals, government at all levels, humanitarian organizations and well-meaning individuals to apply gender lens to all COVID-19 responses, having in mind that women are playing outsized role responding to COVID-19 as frontline healthcare workers, media workers, caregivers at home and as mobilizers in their communities, and as such, more vulnerable.
“While the pandemic lasts, NAWOJ Rivers State is of the view that if we truly want to deliver health, wellbeing and dignity for all, girls and women must be at the centre in the emergency responses or palliative delivery.
“Above all, let’s be safe by taking precautions, be smart by staying informed, and finally, be kind by supporting each other”, she added.
Stakeholders Reflect On Women’s Day Celebration
All over the world International Women’s Day celebrated on the 8th of March every year, as a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. The Executive Director of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative, Loretta Ahuokpeme, identifies this day as one dedicated to honoring the achievements of women across the globe in the social, economic, cultural, and political spheres throughout history.
For her, it is typically a day for women from different backgrounds and cultures to come together to fight for gender equal opportunity, access and women’s rights. “Gender parity is a statistical measure that looks at women and men through their income, education, and work hours, among other points.
“ This sociological matrix helps researchers understand how society is progressing or retrogressing in specific areas. It’s also an important tool for policy makers striving towards equal opportunities and access.”
Of course, the global celebration of International Women’s Day is a time for reflection on how far women have come, advocacy for what is still needed, and action to continue breaking down barriers. With over a century of history, IWD is a growing movement centered on unity and strength.
And that strength can be drawn from Women supporting their kind in all facets of life. Be it in farm work, health related matters, technology, homes, religion, workplaces, business and above all, representations in communities, local government, states and national decision making levels. Women have always been known to stick together over the years. What changed along the line?
Women have very strong social ties and a mind to achieve anything they agree to do which is why we must work together to eliminate all forms of discrimination, marginalisation and segregation against us and exclusion of women in peace building.
Violence against women is real and women are the drivers of this violence by keeping quiet in the face of such acts or supporting and insisting that those activities be carried out to the latter. Men made these cultural and traditional laws and policies and women are the custodian and drivers of them. From harmful widowhood practices, early marriage, female genital mutilation, to rape, gender discrimination in homes
For us to achieve gender equal opportunities and access, we must stand together by believing in the same things and working towards the elimination of all cultural, religious and social harmful activities towards women. We must promote women representation in all fronts because it is only women that can present women issues better and press that our issues be given serious attention.
Women at the rural areas must be adequately engaged and advocated to for the desired effects and impact. Laws, conventions and policies must be broken down and translated into local dialects and explained to all for women to understand how our roles have to be improved and to men for them to understand the laws against those harmful practices.
Women Political aspirants must advocate to other women in position of authorities as well as women in business who can give financial backing to their aspirations and ambitions. We must also start thinking about crowdfunding and sourcing for our women political aspirants who are genuinely ready to serve. Women in Politics and positions of authority must also adopt women mentees so that at the end of their tenures or when they expire by way of natural end, there will be people walking into their shoes to take over and continue from where they stopped.
For the Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Rivers State Chapter, Mrs Lilian Ogabu-Okonkwo, this year’s international women’s day which marks 25 years of Beijing Declaration and action, is the most progressive roadmap for the empowerment of women and girls everywhere .
It also marks the 5 years milestone in the drive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 and the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution UNSCR1325 on Women Peace and Security adopted in 2000.
Reacting to this years theme; “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Right, she said there is need for everyone to galvanize efforts to mobilize nation and global action as to achieve gender equality and human rights of all women and girls.
Okonkwo pointed out that the celebration is used to reflect on progress made by women as well as to call for change and celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played extraordinary roles in life.
However, she regretted that despite all moves, achievement is yet to be recorded in the 12 critical areas of concern of the Beijing platform for action, adding that real change has been agonizingly slow for the majority of women and children.
In all, the Executive Director, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre , sees the “need for women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamics, reshape the conversation, and make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded to, not overlooked and ignored.”
Okonkwo believes that for positive change to be achieved, every woman ought to break barriers, smashe stereotypes, disrupts the system and speak up for equality, demands justice and fights for human rights, among others.
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
Features5 days ago
Imperative Of Overhauling Nigeria’s Security Agencies
News4 days ago
Proferssor’ Forum Rejects KWASU VC’s Appointment …Says Process Not Fair
Politics4 days ago
Covid-19: Obuah Slams Wike’s Critics Over Approach …
Sports5 days ago
‘Yekini Was Not In USA ‘94’
Business4 days ago
FG Committed To Implementation Of 2020 Budget -Akabueze
News4 days ago
Benue Govt To Probe Teachers Service Board
Featured4 days ago
Wike Blasts FG Over Fight Against Coronavirus …Inaugurates 24-Man Palliatives Implementation C’ttee, Today …As RSG Begins Move To Distribute Foodstuffs To Residents
Sports4 days ago
Arsenal’s Saka Excites NFF President