Violence against women has compounded Nigeria human rights records ― Advocacy Group

• Says incidents in Kogi polls appalling

As the World celebrates the World Human Rights Day and the end of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence, yesterday, a group, the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), has declared that violence against women called for deeper reflections in Nigeria.

In a statement signed by Faith Nwadishi, the Executive Director Centre for Transparency Advocacy and made available to newsmen in Abuja, the group said recent incidents in Kogi state in the last governorship election have brought to the front burner gender based violence.

Nwadishi submitted that the trend has since metamorphosed from what she called systematic disenfranchisement of women to participate as voters or candidates, to physical attacks and outright murder.

She advanced that the frustration suffered by the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Natasha Akpoti in the course of her campaigns and date of actual balloting and the murder of Woman Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kogi state, Mrs Abuh, calls for concerns

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The statement reads in part: “From the primaries by political parties in Nigeria leading to the 2019 general elections, statistics show that most women who were privileged to vie for positions as candidates lost woefully to the men who cajoled, harassed and induced voters using money and violence. In the last general elections, for example, no woman was on the ballot for the 2019 general elections on the platform of most of the Political parties.

“The ‘unending cycle of violence against women’ before, during and after elections took a dangerous and disturbing dimension in Kogi state during the just concluded governorship election. Natasha Akpoti’s travails were another classical example where she was harassed and shoved even by security agents. Most heart-trembling was the gruesome murder of Mrs Abu, the PDP Woman leader in her house in Kogi state. The Team of CTA Election Observers led by the Executive Director who is a woman escaped death by whiskers.

“A similar experience was encountered by the team of Research for Common Grounds led by yet a woman whose vehicle was doused with petrol but miraculously, they escaped. These women were physically shoved and traumatically hurt by a system that ordinarily should not only protect them but encourage them.”

The CTA further noted that an inclusive process where women were not shut out would ultimately inspire confidence in the electoral process and make democracy truly representative.

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“As we join the world in marking the 71st Anniversary of the declaration of Human Rights and this year’s World Human Rights Day with the theme ‘Stand Up for Human Rights’,  CTA is strongly condemning all forms of electoral violence against women who are involved in politics, including INEC female staff, female observers, female National Youth Service Corps members, female politicians and female voters.

“Promoting and protecting the rights of women in politics and governance is the bedrock of democracy and governance. As such, women must not be targets of violence during the elections.

As a people, we must reflect and rise up to the ills of gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is not an issue for women alone, men too can bring about change by standing with their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, girlfriends to bring about change. Again as a people, we must reinforce gender equality and participation in governance in Nigeria by degrading violence of any kind targeted at women and girls as well as promoting organizations that support the interest of women devoid of abuses and discrimination.

Political Parties must begin to take women issues more seriously rather than the dormant roles of women leader, event organizer etc. to have more robust, well-articulated gender strategies that are implemented to the letter. The reforms in the Electoral Act must consider making provisions that protect women’s participation in the Electoral Value chain.”

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