The women’s wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State branch, recently joined millions of people all over the world to speak against the pervasive violations of human rights, particularly against women and girls, in the society.
Speaking during the event, which took place in Lagos, the president of the group, Violet Uchenna Obiora, said that women were not only victims of gender inequality but other injustices such as victimisation, assault, rape, discrimination, segregation, marginalisation and oppression.
Other acts of violence against women, she said, include exploitation, abuse, violence, inhuman values, trafficking, sexual harassment, to mention but a few.
“We stand to give hope and raise fighters like us and together we stand to speak out, saying enough is enough. Enough to those wicked acts against girl children and women. Enough of sexual harassment and rape,” Obiora said.
She called for the creation of more awareness on rape, and advised Lagos State government to implement the law against rape. She also used the medium to call everybody for the support of all the women in this fight irrespective of their race, colour, location, and belief.
The International Day for the Girl-Child was created based on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations for the purposes of achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. It was also to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, and to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres.
This year, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Women decided to focus on issues of sexual violence and harassment and how the society should continue to expose these crimes on usually the most vulnerable members of the society.
The president described violence against women as the most pervasive form of human right abuse. This violence, according to her, includes domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, forced prostitution, female genital mutilation, and murder, which she said cuts across socio-economic lives.
Speaking at the event, the National Secretary, Worldwide Women Wing, and the former women leader, Ada Ofoegbu, decried the level of abuse meted out to women. “Women have been abused a lot in Nigeria. If we do the documentation, you will see the number of women abused so far,” she said.
She expressed gratitude to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), for establishing the day, and advised victims to speak out. “Don’t be ashamed, report. If police would ridicule you, look for a human rights establishment and make a report to take it up.”
Agubuzor Nkechi, a lawyer and member of the group, noted that the Lagos State government has set up a sexual offence court as part of the fight against rape and sexual abuse against woman and girl-child.
While making her contributions, the acting secretary of the group, Ogele Eucharia, also advised victims to be fearless and report any form of sexual molestation to their mothers.
She also warned against gender inequality and discrimination on the girl child.
Hope Ezeanioma, who is the vice president, Surulere branch, expressed happiness that women have risen up to fight this injustice. She also advised mothers to protect their girl-children.
In her contribution, women leader, Badagry Central, Catherine Ezemuokwe, advised mothers to be the eyes and ears of their girl-children. She urged mothers not to shut their girl-children up in order not to kill their confidence.