Over 1000 women on Thursday marched against gender-based violence in Kogi State to commemorate this year’s African Women’s Day.
Some non-governmental organisations, such as Gender and Constitution Reform Network, International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), National Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ), Federation of Muslims Women Association in Nigeria (FONWAN), Women in Christian Association of Nigeria, National Council of Women Society, Market Women Association, including widows, took marched to the Kogi State Ministry of Women Affairs, Lokoja, the state capital, calling for an end to all forms of violence against women in the state.
Speaking on behalf of the women, the State Coordinator, Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN), Eunice Abimbola Agbogun, called on the government to support the campaign to put an end to all forms of violence against women and to ensure they are included in politics ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Agbogun called on the government and all people to stand up to challenge negative stereotypes and norms about Kogi and African women adding that they should become anti-gender-based violence champions in their communities.
“Women are at the center of all, ensuring that programming includes them, and they are not left out of any conversations. Women play a prominent role in society and with about 50°o of the world’s population being women, their contributions cannot be under-emphasized. There is a common. saying that, if you train a man you train an individual but if you train a woman, you train a community.
“It is important that we celebrate the role that women play in society beyond their role as child-bearers and primary caregivers. We have seen women achieve great heights in society in industry, law, politics, agriculture, and education.
“There is almost no level of human attainment that women have not been able to conquer. Astronauts, fighter pilots, scientists, mathematicians, Journalists, activists, SSG, Commissioner, you name it, there is a woman up there.
“This year’s Campaign is a global campaign on the elimination of violence against Women and Girls (VAWG), which aims at changing widely accepted harmful social norms that too often justify violence against women and girls, and work with communities and individuals to promote positive norms that promote “gender
equality and non-violence”.
Continuing, Agbogun said,
We are not satisfied that only one woman is a commissioner under this cabinet. In the State Assembly, we don’t have any women. We want this narrative to stop. Discrimination against women is unconstitutional. A widow should not be abused, this must stop now”.
She called on the State Government to ascent to the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, (VAPP), a bill that was passed into law by the State Assembly recently.
Also speaking, the Kogi State Chairperson, International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), Mrs. Lilian Okolo said almost all the states in the country have passed the VAPP bill, hence there is a need for Kogi State to follow the part of history. She explained that the bill is not only for women alone but for everyone.
Responding, the Kogi State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Fatima Kabir Buba, said the day is a period to acknowledge African women who played a vital role in building the African continent.
While charging Women in Kogi State to be actively involved in politics and should avoid fear of intimidation, Buba assured that more women will be appointed as Commissioners and elected into the House of Assembly in the next general election.
On the issue of the VAPP bill, Buba said Governor Yahaya Bello will soon follow the part of other States to pass the bill.