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Feminist forum condemns hate speech that targets, denigrates women


The Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) has decried the resurgence in hate speech and negative narratives against women within Nigeria’s public space and social media.

The latest of such onslaught, the NFF said is the attack on the new Deputy Governor of Kaduna State Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarebe on the basis of her gender. The forum disclosed that a social media user on May 29, 2019 took to his handle to react to the swearing in of the female elected leader with the following written words.

“Today a woman becomes deputy governor of Kaduna state, I’m not going to tell you the danger that comes with having a woman as a leader, but if she’s going to be our governor come 2023, then I’m afraid there’s no hope for Kaduna state. Only downhill from there. If there is going to be a woman leading a state please let it be in the southern part of this country. Keep it far away from the north.

A statement by the NFF Secretariat signed by Chinwendu Esther yesterday said the vitriol targets women, promotes discrimination against their political participation in leadership capacity and denies their right to dignity and equality before the law.

In addition, its divisive nature incites public sentiments against certain ethnic groups through its employment of hate speech. More importantly, it constitutes violence against women and denigrates their citizenship.

The NFF noted that the citizens of the state exercised their democratic choice by electing a female Deputy Governor in March 2019 insisting that Nigeria as a country has committed to promoting women’s participation in political leadership, through the quota system promoted by its National Gender Policy (NGP 2006) that stipulates 35% representation of women in all political leadership positions across the country.

The forum said it strongly condemns the act of denigrating women through online and offline hate speech that will only incite negative narratives and perpetrate violence against women, saying uch hate speech if not immediately redressed, will further incubate negative sentiments and may be the tipping point which may implode gender based violence and discrimination in Nigeria.

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