Nigerian women are currently demanding from relevant authorities accountability and protection of female politicians as forthcoming elections in 2023 draw closer.
This demand was made at the just concluded 3rd Annual Women Conference in Abuja, which was put together by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), an international organization fighting for social justice in collaboration with Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigerian Society (CWEENS) – a partner of the WVL-N project in collaboration with Faida Community Development Initiative a SLOC-VAWG.
The Annual National Women’s Conference, according to Ene Obi, Country Director, AAN, is a yearly event and a key component of the WVL project design that seeks to bring together Nigerian women and girls together to strategize on advancing their rights in the country.
“This year’s conference provides a platform for Nigerian women across geopolitical zone to discuss issues around 2023 general elections, increase support for women who have won primaries and indicated interest in political participations as well as mitigate violence against women during election” she said.
At the two-day event which had women from various walks of life in attendance, Ene Obi emphasised the need to demand protection and accountability for Women politicians come 2023 general election and beyond.
She citied several instances in the past elections where female politicians had been subjected to physical attacks, intimidation, assassination, threats, sexual assault as well as psychological trauma simply because they dared to break into the male dominated political terrain.
Citing recent murder of Labour Party Women Leader who was attacked and killed in Kaduna while her family members sustained various degrees of gun-inflicted wounds as typical example of what women in politics face in Nigeria.
In her words, “we want to use this medium to condemn in strong terms the murder of the Labour Party woman leader; Victoria Chintex in Kaura, Kaduna State who was reported to be shot dead at by unknown gun men at her residence on Monday Night (28th November 2022), while her husband sustained gunshot injuries on the leg. Nigerian Women demand that the killers be apprehended and brought to justice as soon as possible and that clear and active measures be taken by the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies to make sure that such acts are not repeated”
Nevertheless, Obi and the collective Nigerian women at the event further government at all levels to take priority in the protection of female politicians come 2023 general election Nigerian Women and recommended the following:
- We recommend that the National Orientation Agency sensitize the public on what violence against women in politics entails both at the grassroots and urban levels. This will create more awareness of the crime as well as penalties attached to it.
- There should also be a nationwide sensitization on the provisions of the VAPP laws, so women know their rights and know adequate authorities in cases where they have suffered some form of violence, including political violence
- There should be partnership with the media to not only project these issues but also sustain them so they will be properly addressed.
- Violence against women in politics begins before primaries, to this extent, security agencies and INEC are to map out an accountability plan to hold political parties to ransom.