By Olukayode Babalola
Lafia, July 21, 2020 Hajiya Silifat Sule, Wife of Nasarawa governor has called for concerted efforts by stakeholders to tackle gender based violence and violent extremism in the state and the country.
Sule made the call on Tuesday in Lafia at a one day women summit on preventing violent extremism in Nasarawa state.
The summit was organised by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), an NGO in collaboration with Global Peace Development and Beacon Youth Initiative.
She noted that there was urgent need for stakeholders to end gender based violence considering the importance of women and girl child to the wellbeing of society.
According to her, the nation grew on the sweat of mothers but instead of showing love and empowering them so as to tap their potentials, they rather face violence and neglect.
“Women continue to shape our history with the likes of the Aba women, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Margaret Ekpo, Ladi Kwali, Kofo Ademola, Adetowun Ogunsheye, Gambo Sawaba and queens Amina and Moremi.
” The most recent pride of women is the young late flying officer, Tolulope Arotile the first female Nigerian combat pilot who sadly passed away recently.
“So the woman’s place in the home and the society cannot be measured. We are indispensable, we matter to the world, “she said.
Sule then pledged to work assiduously with the government and other stakeholders to end gender based violence in the state.
In her address, Mrs Ene Obi, Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, said that the patriarchal nature of the Nigerian society over the years had posed challenges to the security and rights of citizens especially women.
Obi, represented by Mr David Habba, Manager, Humanitarian and Resilience unit of AAN, explained that the essence of the summit was to engage critical women stakeholders on how to protect and harness their potentials.
“ActionAid Nigeria believes that through inclusiveness this can be achieved. Marginalization and exclusion of women in decision making processes comes with great consequence both for women and society.
“With due recognition and representation of women and their tremendous contribution in homes, community and governance, the consequences of marginalisation and discrimination will be reduced to the minimum,” she said.
According to her, since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the state, women and girls have faced more danger.
“Records show that there is a worrying increase in sexual and gender based violence since the pandemic began and the lockdown came into effect.
“Women and girls have been abused and exposed to violence in the communities and even in their homes,”she said.
She explained that one extraordinary case of sexual violence recorded in the state during the period was the recent defilement of a three month baby by a 27-year-old man.
“This is never heard of in the history of this state or our nation Nigeria. ActionAid Nigeria calls on the government for speedy prosecution of the perpetrator.
” They should also severely punish others involved in similar crimes to serve as deterrent to others.
“We must all condemn these acts of violence against women, girls and society.
“The issues of women and girls’ security are important and must be given priority if we must move our state and country forward,” she added.
She added that adequate representation and prioritisation of women’s rights through economic empowerment and inclusion in government would go a long way in curbing issues facing women.
Mrs Justina Allu, a resource person at the summit, said the country’s policy of federal character should be reviewed to include gender equality in public establishments and political office positions.
“It should be updated to include every male governorship candidate to select a female as his deputy to contest with him and inclusion of women in all strata of government,”
Naija247news reports that the 2020 women summit, which is the second since 2019 has as its theme “I am generation equality: Realising women’s rights.