Bayelsa Guber: Stakeholders meet to curb violence against women in politics
As part of efforts to garner the commitment of key stakeholders in elections to collaborate and synergize efforts to support increased participation of women in the upcoming gubernatorial election, the Nigeria Democratic Institute (NDI) and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) yesterday launched the Violence Against Women in Politics (VAWIP) campaign in Bayelsa State.
The campaign, according to the organisers, which include the Girl Child Empowerment and Reproductive Health Initiative (GREP), an NGO based in Bayelsa, also seeks to eradicate violence against women in the state’s governorship elections.
Emeka Duru, NDI Program Officer, said the multi-stakeholders meeting and launch of VAWIP campaign was a strategic meeting on curbing VAWIP and increasing women’s political participation in the state.
He said: “The objective of the meeting was to garner the commitments of key stakeholders in elections to collaborate and synergize efforts to support increased participation of women in the election and to mitigate violence against women in the Bayelsa governorship elections.
Duru highlighted various indicators for measuring VAWIP and shared how the survivors’ service centre reached out to about 90 per cent of incidents of VAWIP during the Osun 2018 Governorship polls and during the Rivers 2019 polls, calling on stakeholders to support efforts geared towards mitigating violence in the state.
Mrs Christy Ebili, the Special Adviser on Women Mobilization to the State Governor, Seriake Dickson, while unveiling the hotline on behalf of the First Lady, said the state will continue to promote the campaign with all spaces available.
She said she would continue to support the sensitisation of women across 105 wards in the state and called on citizens to utilize the hotline in reporting any cases of VAWIP against women.
HRM, King Bubaraye Dakolo, -AGADA IV. Ebedaowei of Ekpetiema, in his remark, called on security agencies to prosecute perpetrators of violence during elections.
He said: “This effort is laudable and it is breaking the silence of violence and I will support all efforts to promote the campaign across communities.”
Also speaking, Mrs. Diete Spiff, stated that violence against women is a big issue in the nation and the world all over and offered her support to mobilise wives of traditional rulers to promote the campaign in their various communities.
Former Chairman of the western zone of Ijaw Youth Council IYC) and a member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Tari Porri, stated that the house will present the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill for second reading.
Porri, who represented the Speaker of the house, said the house hopes to pass the bill into law before the conduct of the 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Other commitments made at the meeting included the inclusion of VAWIP messages in local sensitisation conducted by INEC and providing space for GREP to feature in its media sensitisation programs.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) stated that it would embark on sensitisation across the LGAs to enlighten citizens on vote- buying and women on their rights to participate in elections.
While the Ministry of Women Affairs stated that it will hold sensitisation programmes in the state to mitigate VAWIP, FIDA stated that it will support litigation and policy that will protect women’s participation in elections and politics.