As the International Women’s Day (IWD) is marked today, the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, has reminded member States that “misogyny is a common feature of violent extremism.”
According to him, IWD provides an opportunity to also reflect on how women and men can be differently impacted by terrorism.
In a statement by the National Project Officer, Outreach and Communications, UNODC Nigeria Country Office, Abuja, Sylvester Tunde Atere, the UN Secretary General was quoted as saying, “Between 2009 and 2017 the United Nations recorded some 7,000 incidents of sexual violence against women and girls committed by members of Boko Haram, and more cases have come to light each year since. It is a cruel and brutal weapon of war and terror that is emphatically repudiated by international law.”
Also, the UNODC Country Representative Oliver Stolpe said this year celebrates women’s contribution to peace and security and sets forth an ambitious agenda to promote gender equality and enhance the rights, participation and protection of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. He recognized the Nigerian authorities’ commitment to addressing gender concerns.
He added that “UNODC is greatly encouraged by the Government of Nigeria’s recognition of the core role of women and girls as actors in preventing and countering violent extremism through its National Action Plan to implement resolution 1325 and the Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, and its efforts to mainstream gender throughout the criminal justice system more broadly.”
In Lagos, the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre in collaboration with UNWOMEN, the Executive Director, Women Advocate Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said the issues of women’s rights and developmental concerns are still major challenges in Nigeria.
According to her, “Research shows that one in three Nigerian women are victims of sexual/gender based violence despite laws against widowhood practices and concerted efforts to ensure access to Sexual Reproductive Human Rights (SRHR) has so far not effective, the reality is that the challenges that women faces in Gender Based Violence, Harmful Practices and SRHR are enormous.”
She said “Our goal is that one year down the line, we will have a gigantic mass movement of CSOs, NGOs and Faith Based Organisation whose collective action will cause changes, reforms and solutions in the battle to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.”
This year’s theme “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s
Rights”, according to the UNWOMEN Representative Mbanuju Kenechukwu requires collective efforts if we want to end gender based violence.
On its part, the Association of Nigerian Business Women Network (ANWBN), a coalition of 32 notable Women’s Organisation is to hold a conference on Wednesday. According to the National Coordinator, Mrs Anita Nana Okuribido, the conference is to throw light on the first ever National Women’s Summit which would take place in Abuja on April 15.
She said “We are looking at five critical areas and they are: insecurity, poor road network, lack of access to finance, inadequate power and gender imbalance.”