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IWD: NHRC advocates for engagement of more women for national devt



By Emma Okereh & Daniel Tyokua

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for inclusion of more women at decision making levels to fast track development across the country.

The commission’s Executive Secretary Chief Tony Ojukwu said involvement of women is crucial considering the need for inclusive governance.

He stated this at the sideline of the 2022 International Women’s Day (IWD).

Ojukwu pointed out that, “women are the pillars of our future, given the enabling environment and opportunity; women have the potential to turn things around to make the world great and a better place for everyone to live in”.

He said this year’s theme “Gender equality today for sustainable tomorrow” is very apt considering the role that women play in nation-building.

According to a statement from the commission, the Secretary said the 21st-century women are more than housewives, they are major players and shareholders in policies and programmes affecting the society and they should be encouraged to do more.

“Therefore Parliamentarians should reconsider the issue of affirmative action on women participation in governance and elections. It will be unfortunate if the ongoing constitutional reforms did not address the issue of affirmative action for woman.

“The issue of increasing representation across board should be considered to allay the fears of men who fear they may be displaced by women in the various constituencies. New constituencies to meet up affirmative action can be created. NIgeria can bear the marginal cost in governance and balance this out by reducing the number of personal or special assistants, Technical Assistants and Advisers etc allowed for political office holders”

Ojukwu said that the Commission has been receiving very high number of complaints of human rights violations from the area of women and children.

He explained that the complaints are in different forms of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), female Genital Cutting, denial of inheritance, Domestic violence, non provision of necessaries and shelter for wife and children and a myriad of other gender based violations.

While commending the National Assembly for the landmark constitutional reforms, he used the opportunity of the International Women’s Day to call once more on the National Assembly to consider and pass the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill, saying it will reduce gender-based violations as well as give the women a legal backing to address the challenges of inequalities confronting them including other forms of heinous human rights violations suffered only by women.

He said the Commission will continue to strive for the cause of women’s rights in the country. “We have put different mechanisms in place to address the issues relating to violence against women”. “Today we have a department solely devoted to handling issues of women, considering the quantum of complaints we receive.

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