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Women in PENGASSAN advocates for domestic violence-free society

By Gloria Nwafor
07 July 2022   |   3:41 am
The women wing of one of the labour unions in the oil and gas sector, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Women in PENGASSAN (WIP)

State Coordinator, Child Protection Network (left), Com Aderonke Oyelakin; FRSC Unit Commander, Lagos Island, Mrs Esther Uzoma; Director Domestic Violence Unit, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Olorunfemi Oluwatoyin; National Chairperson Women-In-PENGASSAN Worldwide, Com (Dr.) Faith Usoroh and Chairperson, Lagos Zone, Women-In-PENGASSAN, Com Nikki Duru during a walk to sensitise the public on dangers of domestic violence

The women wing of one of the labour unions in the oil and gas sector, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Women in PENGASSAN (WIP), has pushed for efforts to achieve a domestic violence-free society.

The group, had a peaceful walk from under the bridge at Ikeja, Lagos, down to the Government House, in Alausa.

At the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, created awareness and informed the public about the dangers of domestic violence.

Chairperson, WIP, Dr. Faith Usoroh, who lamented the rate at which the menace is increasing on a daily basis, said most Nigerians are already living in fear of the unknown

While calling for strict measures on offenders, she cited the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190, which says no to domestic violence and harassment at the workplace, saying: “God has given us women multiple tasks. When giving birth, we end up being beaten, battered and victims.

At the end of the day, the woman, because she wants to make a successful marriage, ends up dying. It is very unfair. We are also here for the men, as we will not tolerate your being violated. We want to be treated with mutual understanding and the same love. If you treat your wife with passion, she will become your best friend and vice versa.

“Domestic violence is not just beating someone.  It is also when you harass me in my job space, you have violated me. When you disrespect me as your boss in the office, you touch me irresponsibly and you raise your hands on me, you have violated me. Talk to me with some respect, talk to me in the language I will understand with your voice. If you are beating me, you are beating me into depression. Do not violate your fellow human being

“WIP is here to say no to domestic violence, no to harassment and no to child abuse. We say no to everything that is not right for humanity. Women want to be honoured, loved and cared for. We want a domestic violence-free society.”

Speaking on behalf of the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Lagos State, Cecilia Dada, Director, Domestic Violence, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Olorunfemi Oluwatoyin, said issues of domestic and sexual violence were a serious business that cannot be overlooked.

She mentioned that the ministry in collaboration with the United Nations to empower women and girls in such situations to enable them and keep them busy.

The host of the event and Chairperson, WIP, Lagos Zone, Nikki Duru, said the initiative is done across all zones in the country to raise awareness of the evil of domestic violence in society.

She said the economic situation in the country was not encouraging, as people are hungry and angry.

“Looking at all these, we decided to take the awareness campaign to this ministry to partner with them and see how it can be eliminated. I encourage people to stand up and speak against the menace, let us change the narrative in this space,” she said.

Also lending their voices were some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), who joined in the walk to kick against domestic violence in society.

Founder, Mum 2 Mum Global Foundation, Chinenye Jerry-Amah, said while domestic violence is on the increase, emotional violence is more prevalent.

According to her, it is killing women the more and taking a toll on homes.

“It is a spousal thing. It is where you have silent treatment for months and financial abuse. It is also as grave as domestic violence. It is breaking homes. We must be intentional about it amid keeping our homes safe. We must ensure that our homes are safe for our children. When there is physical or emotional violence, the children are not safe,” she said.

Aderonke Oyelakin of the Child Protection Network, Lagos, urged parents to allow children to enjoy their childhood and be free from all forms of abuse; be it neglect, physical, sexual or emotional.

“Children should be allowed to be children. We have had cases of children abused right in their homes. We need to do more advocacy and sensitisation. A lot are not aware that we have the child rights law, reviewed once and currently undergoing review.

“If people do not know that we have a child protection policy in place in the state that children should be protected, we can take children away from their parents. We should do more sensitisation, especially at the grassroots. The prevention part is very important than the response and intervention. It is a collective responsibility to ensure that our children are protected from any form of abuse in Lagos State,” she said.

Representative of Voice 4 Sistahs, Abosede Onabanjo, spoke on how the group deals with the survivors, saying, “we take them, empower them and integrate them back into the society.”