Women Call for Greater Representation in Govt
29 Feb 2012: Ebum Sessou
The Nigerian government has been called upon to tackle issues of gender inequality in the country with a view to giving a greater voice to women and enhance their contribution to good governance.
The call was made at the just concluded 1st National Retreat on Women Development and National Transformation which took place in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital.
Tagged Akwa Ibom 2012, the convener, Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, described women as agents of transformation as she said that they should also be seen as peace advocates.
She called on women not to relent in their capacity to bringing peace to the society, adding that it will bring positive changes. Advising women to pay greater attention to suspicious movements in their neighbourhoods, the First Lady said the knowledge and ideas acquired during the retreat as well as the time and resources deployed would be wasted if not put into practice because where there is no peace, there will be no development.
In her presentation on building on the momentum, the wife of the Vice President, Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo, charged participants to go home determined to convert their thoughts and insights into action.
In a communiqué read by the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, women demanded that machinery be put in place to ensure the domestication of relevant international and regional conventions and protocols that would uphold the rights of women in Nigeria, even as they called on elected female Senators and Representatives to take pro-active steps to pass gender responsive bills in the National Assembly.
The women said the call became necessary since the federal government ratified the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of DiscriminationAgainst Women and Protocol on Women's Rights on the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, though there are no legal instruments to back them up.
She said: "Government at all levels must ensure that the 35 per cent affirmative action is implemented through conscientious and committed appointment and election of women in positions of authority.
The communiqué which was signed by Wife of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mrs. Ekaette Akpabio, former Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Ismail and six others also made cases for infrastructural development, service delivery and for women's self development and determination.