The Programmes Officer, OXFAM Abuja, Chioma Ukwuagu has attributed the imminent success of the Violence Against Persons Bill to advocacy for women’s right.
Speaking about the essence of the International Women’s Day celebration on our breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily; Ukwuagu said “It is an opportunity to advocate for change… We use the International Women’s Day as a platform to advocate to government and organisations to give ladies space to realise their potentials.”
She further stated that the International Women’s Day also serves as a day to empower and encourage women to take up responsibility in the society and contribute to the development of the country.
Asked if all efforts made towards women empowerment have been effective, Ms. Ukwagu affirmed that there has been improvement.
“We have gone beyond many obstacles” she said.
She cited an example of the Act on Violence Against Persons (VAP) bill, that recently passed second hearing and approved by the House of Representatives to be passed into law, which she states was achieved by advocacy.
However advocacy “is never ending,” she said. “We will continue to sensitise the populace and engage citizens on the rights of women.”
A Promise Is A Promise
The Executive Director, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, Adaobi Egboka speaking about the theme of this year’s IWD celebration, A Promise Is A Promise, states that it is time to call the different tiers of government to action and remind them of promises made concerning women.
Mrs. Egoka explained that the government needs to attend to all bills concerning women as legal backing will encourage the women folk to claim rights that are already in existence.
She admits that many advocacy groups have a hard time achieving their goals in the face of delayed justice.
She faults the Nigerian Legal System which hardly metes out adequate justice to offenders; one of the reasons many women choose to keep quiet as victims of domestic violence and discrimination.
She decried the average Nigerian woman’s mentality which sees marriage as a ‘gift’ to be embraced and endured irrespective of the treatment meted on the woman by the man.
She explained that the average Nigerian woman has been conditioned to bear domestic violence as a ‘cross’ which comes with marriage, hence they do not want to speak out.
“Those who are speaking out, you see that when they speak out nothing is done. A girl is raped and there is judgment of option of N50,000 or a year imprisonment which is after 3 or 4 years.
So in whose interest is the justice system, ” she asked.
She further stated that domestic violence and rape are two prevalent issues concerning women in the country and she blamed domestic violence on improper negotiation.