Alex Enumah in Abuja
As Nigeria joined the world to celebrate the 2016 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the West African Women Association (WAWA) has called on the National Assembly to support the crusade at eradicating all forms of violence against women by passing the Gender Equality Bill.
The group while identifying gender based inequalities as a major cause of violence against women stated that, pointed out that legislators would do well if they ensure the which has already scaled second reading on the bill’s passage on the floor of the senate.
They spoke in Abuja at an event organized to commemorate the 2016 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The celebration which has as theme: Gender Equality as a Tool for Eliminating Domestic Violence in West Africa’’ was put together by WAWA in conjunction with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Nigerian Senate.
Focal Person, WAWA Nigeria Chapter, Mrs Beatrice Abel-Ubeku, stated that inequalities give rise to enslavement and violence wherever it is perpetuated. She revealed that violence which most time is not an on the spot action but a systematic process of dehumanization has led to the death of some of its victims.
She called on the legislators, governmental agencies and religious bodies to put machineries in place that would help ameliorate the suffering of victims of violence as well as a re-orientation of those who commits such crimes. “We need to go to areas where these young ones can be educated to know the reasons, levels, effects and extent of domestic violence. We need to go into schools and set up clubs on elimination of domestic and other violence against women and children’’.
Similarly, Secretary, WAWA Nigeria Chapter, Hauwa Sodeinde, in a welcome address called for a behavioral change in the way women are treated in the society. She lamented the way the girl child and women are relegated to the background when issues relating to the opposite sex arises.
She disclosed that the association has been in the forefront of championing the cause of women in the region through the creation of awareness programme as well as providing economic empowerment to women.
While noting that a lot of women suffer domestic violence more when their husbands losses their jobs, Sodeinde observed that the situation would be different if they were economically empowered and contribute meaningfully to the upkeep of their homes.
Responding, Senate President, Bukola Saraki observed that it would require an all-inclusive approach and concerted efforts from all Nigerians to eliminate all forms of Violence against Women. Represented by Senator Abiodun Olujimi, the Senate President revealed that violence against women has continued to occur for so long because the country has allowed other forms of discrimination to flourish.
While assuring them of NASS determination to eliminate violence against women, he disclosed that one of the priorities of the 8th Senate is to examine and reform the nation’s legal and regulatory system in such a way that women can avail themselves of a full range of financial services.
“Our commitments are to improving women’s access to capital and markets, to building women’s capacities and skills, and to support the rise of women leaders in both the public and private sectors. And for that to happen, we need to scrutinize gender based violence and where that fits in the overall challenge of parity for women in development and accessing available economic opportunities”, he said.
He commended the efforts of the West African Women Association (WAWA) and other organizations for their valuable contributions and their commitment to end gender based violence in the country.