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A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), under the umbrella of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), has called on the Federal Government to ensure the removal of obstacles preventing women from participating in Nigerian politics
The Executive Director of PLAC, Clement Nwankwo, said globally, there is a campaign to end violence against women and that if the country must progress, more women must be carried along and violence against women in politics must be curtailed and violator of electoral rules must be brought to book.
He spoke at a stakeholders’ roundtable with policymakers organised by PLAC with the support of Ford Foundation titled: “Addressing Political Violence Against Women: The Legislative Approach” in Abuja.
Nwankwo noted that violence has been the major factor impeding on women’s participation in politics in the country.
“So every obstacle that stops women from being actively involved in governance, in politics and in all affairs of this country needs to be removed,” he said.
Although he acknowledged that there are religious and cultural practices that impaired women’s participation in politics, Nwankwo said culture, tradition and religion should be aimed to create equality and balance in the politics and governance of the country.
“And if there are cultural or religious practices that impaired women’s engagement and involvement in the running of a country, those practices need to be modified to reflect a balanced and equality among the different genders,” he said.
He said the essence of the programme was to identify the legislative role of ending violence against women in Nigeria politics, saying “Government should ensure there is policy in place to checkmate election violators as this will remove fear from the women and motivate them to engage fully in politics.”
A member representing Uhumwonde Constituency, Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Elizabeth Ative, stressed the need to establish an electoral task force to checkmate women intimidation during the election.
Also speaking Chairman Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, explained that Nigerian constitution has provision for women’s participation in politics and that the laws discouraged intimidation against their participation in politics, but the implementation of the laws has been the bane.
He said women population are over 50 percent, but unfortunately, only less than 5 percent of women participate in politics.
During a presentation, Professor, Uba Nnabue, College of Legal Studies, Imo State University, called for proper enlightenment by all the groups.
According to him, if everybody is aware that this is bad, we will begin finding ways to change the course.