Hundreds of women professionals under the Women’s Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) yesterday met in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, vowed to mobilise against corruption in all spheres of the country’s economy. The Executive Director, WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, who spoke during the interface between grassroots women and service providers, noted that women and children are the most impacted by the pervasive corruption in the country and urged Nigerian women to stand up against the menace. Attended by several women and children advocacy groups, Akiyode-Afolabi argued that corruption can be successfully reduced if women are effectively mobilised, explaining that part of the intervention in the fight against sleaze is to encourage change in public attitude and disapproving of corrupt activities no matter how small the scale.
“Corruption has played a great role in hindering women’s political participation, women’s access to justice , women’s peace and security, their economic empowerment, sexual and reproductive rights, women’s rights to education and their right to be free from all forms of violence. “Corruption impact is more magnified among the vulnerable group in the society of which women belong .
Therefore it is right to say that women suffer more than men do when corruption hinders development” she said. She added that the meeting will increase citizen participation in decision making while women will be able to negotiate in the development and implementation of strategies in areas which have been hindered by corrupt practices.
In her intervention, a member of the board of WARDC, Nihinoluwa Aluko-Olokun, urged participants to see corruption even in the grassroots as dangerous and capable of destroying the country. She maintained that a total change of attitude was needed at the grassroots to rid the country of corrupt practices that are often overlooked at the at lowest levels. She urged women to raise their families , especially children to know the dangers of involving in corrupt practices before they become incorrigible adults. “We cannot shy away from this. No matter how old a child is, mothers must continue to correct. Corrupt behaviour must be reported.
They must be cautioned. Corruption is doing the wrong thing. It’s a form of abuse. Things must be done properly. Don’t make it a habit of doing things the wrong way” she advised.
Representative of the Legal Aid Council, Stephanie Agbakoba, said that the women rights groups must be able to give a voice to voiceless Nigerians who are victims of corruption.
“Women are the most vulnerable victims of corruption.
We suffer the most. So, we need to come out because corruption is eating deep into our fabrics. The market women must stop using fake measurements. That is corruption at the grassroots.
“ When you go to the hospital , there are no drugs. But the doctors there will ask patients to go to private hospitals owned by them. That is corruption. We need to deal with these issues at the grassroots level,” she added.