By Romanus Okoye
A rights group, Women Aid Collective (WACOL) has called for stronger legislative advocacy to improve the capacity of women and critical stakeholders to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
At a two-day workshop in Lagos, the founding director, WACOL/Tamar SARC, Prof. Joy Ezeilo said understanding legislative advocacy would help in proper implementation of existing laws to protect rights, advance gender equality and empower all women and girls in Nigeria.
Prof. Ezeilo who is also former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, said, “An aspect of the training will enhance the capacities of women’s rights’ defenders to advocate for, and participate in the domestication process of international treaties, shadow reporting in the area of women’s rights and implementation of laws and policies.”
She said appreciation of provisions of relevant state laws like “the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act/Laws of the federal and state governments, the Child’s Right Act/Law, relevant constitutional matter, treaty ratified by Nigerian Government is of significance to women and girls and the status of their implementation” is vital.
In his comment, a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Dr Uchechukwu Nwoke, said understanding legislative advocacy became necessary because culture and traditions overshadow existing laws and male chauvinism is very domineering.
He said women are very few in activity and other strata of life and there are no specific law protecting women’s right
He emphasised that women have been asking for affirmative action particularly since 1995 Beijing Conference. According to him, this means setting out a percentage of positions available in government for women occupation. “They have been asking for at least 30 percent representation in elective and appointive positions,” he stated.
He said other laws being canvassed include; law on inheritance rights by women, law on equal education opportunity for the girl-child, law against widowhood practices and law granting women reproductive health rights.”