(Participants At Stop Violence Against Women In Politics’ Campaign Ahead 2019 Election. Championed By LANW With Support From NDI)
AS 2019 elections draw near, a Kaduna-based non – governmental organisation, Legal Awareness for Nigeria Women (LANW) with support from National Democratic Institute (NDI) in collaboration with critical stakeholders in election met in Kaduna over the weekend to brainstorm over violence against women in politics.
This meeting was coming up barely one week after political parties and their candidates met at popular Arewa House, Kaduna, where they signed peace pact in the presence of Kaduna State Peace Commission and other interests.
These efforts were meant to see what can be done to improve participation of women in politics in Kaduna state.
As at now, there is no single woman representative in the Kaduna State House of Assembly which is a concern to participants in this campaign.
Addressing the participants at a hotel in Kaduna, Executive Director (ED) of LANW, Barrister Rebecca Sako-John expressed concern over violence directed at women based on societal perception about gender by way of cultural upbringing which saw male dominance over female as a way of life.
Though physical violence, psychological, social violence and economic violence affect all groups of persons, the ED noted that, women are more vulnerable, hence the need for critical stakeholders like Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and political parties to make commitment to reduce all forms of electoral violence in Kaduna state.
According to her, every citizen irrespective of gender has the right to participate in election as captured in electoral acts and policies where total implementation has remain a serious headache for women and other vulnerable members of the society.
“We have seen several violence in different forms before, during and after the previous election in Kaduna state where women were the major victims and survivors. During election for example, we have situation where those touts would be touching women anyhow and even rape some because they think they can do whatever they like.
“Here in Kaduna, we don’t want a repeat in the next elections and that is why we have the critical stakeholders who we believe can help in reducing all kinds of violence against women in politics. We have the police, the civil defence, INEC and political parties. All of them are well represented here.
“So, my organisation with support from NDI has just one message for every citizen of Nigeria or even foreigners living in Kaduna, stop violence against women in politics. People should stop harassing women during election under whatever guise. We need to know that women have the right to vote who they want and not anyone coarsing them to support just anybody even when they are not convinced to vote such a fellow.
“The good thing about this campaign is that, we are moving round the state engaging everyone the need to see women as part and parcel I’d the society just like the men. What women rather need is support and protection and not violence”, she added.
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