Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
As campaigns for the 2019 general elections hots up, security and law enforcement agencies in the country have been urged to provide adequate protection to female candidates before, during and after the 2019 elections.
The Women Aid Collective (WACOL), made the call, in Awka, Anambra State capital.
The group also made case against political violence especially during electioneering campaigns.
Founder of the organisation, Prof. Joy Ezeilo, lamented that female contestants had suffered untold intimidation in the hands of their male counterparts and security agencies.
Blaming this on their low participation, Ezeilo, however, called for improved awareness of human rights to eliminate violence against women and young people.
She attributed incessant cases of violence against women and young people to ignorance on the part of the victims.
Prof. Ezeilo, whose group provides free legal aid services for women, young boys and girls, regretted prevalent cases of women and girls rights violation despite Nigeria’s ratification to several international human rights treaties.
She maintained that all human beings were entitled to all the rights and freedoms irrespective of race, colour, sex, language, political or religious denomination.
She said, “Discrimination and gender inequalities persists de jure and de facto. Women and girls continue to suffer systematic discrimination because of their sex and gender and this have reached to impunity level.
“Sexual and gender-based violence such as rape; sexual abuse; sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions; trafficking in women for forced prostitution and domestic labour; spousal battery and acid attack is pervasive.
“Although Anambra State have since enacted Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law, in 2017, generality of inhabitants of the state, including victims and perpetrators are unaware of its provision.”
Ezeilo also called on companies to do more to aid their employees who endure domestic violence, just as she urged business owners to protect their employees and improvement infrastructures.
According to her, she further sensitisation and advocacy towards effective implementation of extant laws that prevent and combat all forms of sexual and gender-based violence would protect women, girls, men and boys from all forms of violence.