Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Mrs. Courage Anyekojonwa, daughter of slain Women Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mrs. Salome Abuh yesterday asked women not to be deterred in participating in politics.
Anyekojonwa, however, said if women would be treated the way her mother was burnt to death, then politics was not worth their efforts to participate.
She spoke in Abuja on the sideline of protest embarked upon by women group under the aegis of Womanisfesto, saying the way her mother died was uncalled for.
She, therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure justice was done over her death.
The protesters, led by Founding Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi sought to draw attention of the federal government to violence against women in Nigeria.
The protesters, also, appealed to the federal government to declare a declaration of state of emergency on violence against women in the country.
She recounted in tears that her mother’s body was only recovered in ashes, saying the way she lived and related with people, such treatment would not have been given to her.
“If women will be burnt like this, I will not say they should venture into politics. But every woman must stand. I still encourage women to go into politics but they shouldn’t be treated like my mother.”
Thanking the women who had come out in their number to register their displeasure over the gruesome killing of her mother, Anyekojonwa said: “Indeed, she is my mum and she deserves this. The way she died was uncalled for and I pray justice be given to this women for the sake of late Abuh.
“I really sincerely from the depth of our heart appreciate what the women are doing here. A lot of them have not met her physically but I see the passion from the way they are all out here crying out for justice for Salome.
“My mum was very full of life, very agile. She could be physically a woman but she was ten men in a woman. She was a very hospitable woman and very lively. She was a mobiliser, she was a woman leader for PDP and she had stood for PDP all the while,” she said.
She explained that the deceased did not just stand for the PDP, but for every one that came her way for help.
According to her, she was a very good mobiliser, she was a help to widows, a help to the fatherless even people she had not known. Everybody was her brother and sister irrespective of where you came from.
Speaking before the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, Akiyode-Afolabi explained that their mission was to present the recommendations that arose from the group’s three-day’s deliberations on women issues in the country and seek justice for the recent gruesome killing of the Kogi PDP Women Leader.
Akiyode-Afolabi, a foremost civil rights activist, she said: “We have gathered together at the National Centre for women Development to deliberate on the issue of women.
“For those three days, women from all works of life looked at five issues; violence against women, women political participation, women peace and security, sexual and reproductive right as well as women and poverty.
“We are here now to give the conclusions and key recommendations and the demands arising from the meeting. For almost two years now, we have been talking together as women in Nigeria.
“We have come together also with women who are in the diaspora who are concerned with the group we are working with under the Womanisfesto.
“It is a charter demand of the Nigerian women, it is still work in progress. We have come up with a draft of the charter. The first demand we are making is that there is the need for government to increase the budget of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs to be able to work effectively.
“Secondly, is that there is the need to declare state of emergency on violence against women in Nigeria. We are also concerned about the situation of the IDPs, so we want the minister to strengthen her efforts. We know she is doing a lot but we still need to do more so that the women can have their lives back. We want you to concentrate most on the women in the IDPs.
“On women political participation, there is a need for us to move further. It is a pain in our hearts that this will be happening at this point in time.”
Addressing the protesting women, Tallen said the President was worried over the violence that trailed the Kogi governorship poll, leading to the death of Abuh.
While thanking them for not only holding the three-day meeting to discuss issues affecting women in the country, the minister assured that was committed to addressing the five issues raised in the group’s recommendations.
She said: “I thank you for the three days’ extensive meeting to come up with this manifesto. I want to state clearly that Mr President is commitment to see that the five issues are addressed.
“The issue of our sister, Salome that was killed brutally in Kogi State some few days back, Mr President responded condemning it.
“Mr President is very worried and committed to this matter and he has made a statement and is fully committed to seeing that justice is done to this issue and similar issues.
“The five demands presented me in this Womanisfesto, I want to assure you that I will address it and follow it judiciously.
“The President, the Vice President, the wife of the president, are fully committed to this issue and we all condemn violence against women in its totality.
“These five demands, I want to assure you that my ministry will address it squarely. Already, I have gotten the nod of the president and all the issues here are being addressed and we will make everything possible to make sure that we stem the tide.”