Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Fourteen women groups under the aegis of Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) monday described the comments made by President Muhammadu Buhari on his wife Aisha as demeaning, derogatory and subjugation of Nigerian women which it said has denied them a level playing ground to compete equally with their male counterparts both in public and personal spaces.
In a statement issued in Abuja by Ms. Geraldyn Ezeakile, stated that Nigerian women alongside the male counterparts have throughout the history of the development of this country resisted and would continue to resist every attempt made to diminish our contributions to the development of this nation.
The statement read in part: “ the NFF and its partners, totally reject and condemn in strong terms the comments made by Nigeria’s President Mohammad Buhari on October 14, 2016 in response to his wife’s interview on Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Aisha Buhari, during the said interview publicly expressed discontent with Mr. President for not living up to expectations.
“Mr. President’s comment connotes a nostalgic and repugnant invocation of historical patriarchal oppression and subjugation of Nigerian women, which has over the past alienated and denied Nigerian women access and a level playing ground to compete equally with their male counterparts both in public and personal spaces.
“Need we remind Mr. President about the role and contributions of women in our nation building vis-à-vis the socio-cultural, economic and political development of our beloved Nigeria? We Nigerian women alongside our male counterparts have throughout the history of the development of this country resisted and will continue to resist every attempt made to diminish our contributions to the development of this nation.
“We will continue to fights against the entrenchment of patriarchal, socio-cultural and religious misogynistic structures that oppress and demean the status of women in our society. This demeaning statement violates right to dignity of every woman, recognised in section 34 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.
“We Nigerian women hereby categorically state that we are no less important than our male citizens. We matter equally. It is inexcusable and utterly condemnable to refer to the first lady of Nigeria and indeed any other woman as belonging to the ‘kitchen’
“The NFF and its partners are saddened and worried to note that the present political dispensation has the lowest representation of women in public office. Women make up roughly eight per cent of the overall membership of the legislature and only seven per cent of ministers currently serving in your cabinet are women. This is against the 31 per cent in the immediate past administration. We wonder if this dismal representation of women in decision making in your government has a direct link to your personal opinion of women and their role in the society.
“The dismal role of women in decision-making positions in this present administration is extremely discomforting. Nigerian women were even further assaulted by the rejection of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill (GEOP) by members of Nigeria’s Senate on March 15, 2016.
“We note that in other progressive democracies in Africa, in countries like Rwanda women make up 63.8% in the Lower house of Assembly and 38.5 per cent in the senate. In South Africa women represent 41.9 per cent and 35.2 per cent respectively. In Burundi women represent 36.4 per cent in the lower Assembly and 41.9 per cent representation in senate. Even Zimbabwe has 31.5 per cent and 37.5 per cent respectively. In the Nigerian parliament as presently constituted, women represent a dismal 5.6 per cent in the Lower Assembly and 6.5 per cent in the senate. Very far from the agitated 35 per cent, Affirmative Action provided for, in the National Gender Policy 2006,” it added.