From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Ms Ene Obi, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria
ActionAid Nigeria, a human rights non-governmental organization working to combat poverty and all forms of injustice in Nigeria has called on all Nigerian women and the federal government to rise up to the task of accelerating gender equality in Nigeria as we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally.
The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi says “The year 2020 commemoration of the International Women’s Day marks 25 years since the Fourth World Conference for Women and the Beijing Platform for Action.
Ene Obi in a statement to mark the celebration which was made available to journalists in Lokoja said “Although some progress has been made, real change has been agonizingly slow for most women and girls in Nigeria as we still face several obstacles in law and culture which predisposes us to multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces. We suffer the burden of unpaid care and domestic work and remain the face of poverty in Nigeria.
“We urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to fast-track the reduction of women’s labour by working towards the provision of Gender Responsive Public Services in recognition of women’s contribution to economy and national development. We also implore all Nigerian Women to take action individually and collectively because our individual and collective actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Together, we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. Gender Equality is the responsibility of every Nigerian woman, and the earlier we all take up this challenge, the faster our progress as a nation will be.
“As we commemorate today, we call on all women groups to start to raise a new generation of young women advocates who will remain torchbearers for the struggle and we implore all Nigerian women never to stay quiet in the face of oppression and discrimination as experienced recently in Cross River state where Akon Ikpeme was denied the rightful position of Substantive Chief Judge based on her state of Origin”
According to the statement, the constructive reaction of Nigerian women groups over the case is commendable and should be emulated. We also urge government at all levels to regulate, subsidize or provide public transport; promote laws and public campaigns to eliminate discrimination and violence against women and girls; we welcome Government’s commitments to gender equality, but we need to see this translated into investment in public services that account for everybody’s needs. Governments should ensure that women participate equally and meaningfully in all processes around designing, legislating and budgeting, not just for their safety but for national development.