South-South Consultative Forum Pushes For More ‘Women Rights’

Nigerian Women Can Be Change Agents If Empowered- NGO FounderMembers of the South-South Consultative Forum, comprising Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta State, are pushing for more protection for women against alleged assault and battery. 

The forum also reviewed emerging issues on women, peace and security, as incorporated in the National Action Plan, which is in line with the discourse at the South South Zonal Consultation and Review Meeting on the National Action Plan, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 earlier held in Asaba last year.

In what was described as “absurdity”, the forum condemned as a “taboo” sexual assault and battery of women by men or their husbands in whichever circumstances, assuring that the forum would do everything to protect womanhood.

Participants at the forum, many of whom were women, deliberated intensively on women, peace and security issues affecting women nationwide, disclosing that over 16,000 cases of sexual harassment and alleged rape was recorded in 2016 across Nigeria.

Declaring the forum tagged “South South Consultation and Review Meetings on National Action UNSCR1325” open, the Delta State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Reverend Omatsola Williams, said that the National Action Plan Meeting was informed by the United Nations Resolution 1325.

“Is to prevent and protect women from all forms of violence, promoting their issues, improving their participation in different spheres of the society and end impunity wherever the rights of women are violated through legal prosecution.

“We must protect the dignity of women, the forum is out to do this. In the recent times, we have found increasing cases of violence on women, especially battery, rape and assault. We want to put an end to such acts,” Reverend Williams added.

Jonathan supports deployment of troops to Mali

President Goodluck Jonathan has called on the summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) holding in Abuja to come up with bold decisions that will help re- enforce peace and security not only in Guinea-Bissau and Mali but the entire West African sub region.

The President who was the first to address the summit’s opening session, stated that Nigeria fully supports the recommendations of the Chiefs of Defence Staff for an intervention force to be deployed immediately to Mali to help restore order and stability.

He said that “the decision is consistent with the United Nations Security Council resolution which supports the use of force to flush out the rebels and anarchist that have turned that country into a lawless zone.”

“This, we (ECOWAS) must do to avert costly consequences not only in Mali but the entire sub region and Africa in general.”

Since January 2012, several insurgent groups have been fighting a campaign against the Malian government for independence or greater autonomy for northern Mali-an area known as Azawad.

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), an organization fighting to make Azawad an independent homeland for the Tuareg people, had taken control of the region by April and declared independence.

The country has also witnessed a number of Coup d’état and attacks on the Presidential villa in the year.

Turning to Guinea Bissau, President Jonathan said that the situation there requires the injection of funds to stabilise the polity for the total restoration of constitutional order, to ensure that the interim administration in the country is stable.