Minister, CSOs urge end to violence against women
Mourn Slain LP Woman Leader
The MINISTER of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, while mourning the Labour Party Woman leader, late Victoria Chintex in Kaura Local Council of Kaduna, has called for an end to intimidation and violence against women. She asked that the killers be brought to book.
Speaking in Abuja, yesterday, Tallen said that just as Nigerian women began the annual 16 Days activism campaign, they were confronted with the sad news of Chinex’s gruesome murder, in which her husband was also shot but survived.
Condemning the murder, which she said reeks of cowardice, she said it is an attempt to further intimidate other women lending their voices to amplify the differences in the nation’s democracy and violence against one is violence against all Nigerian Women, irrespective of political affiliation, creed, tribe or status.
Urging security agencies to fish out the perpetrators and bring them to judgement, she sympathised with her family, calling for an end to violence against women.
Also, joint civil groups including the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF); ElectHER; DAI; Yiaga Africa; The Albino Foundation (TAF); International Press Center (IPC); The Kukah Center; IMS; Civil Society Legislative Advocacy (CISLAC); CAPPA; JDPMC and SOS Children Village joined the minister to lament the safety of women as critical stakeholders in strengthening and preserving the integrity of the electoral process.
They said that while women have made significant gains in politics in recent years, their involvement has spurred attacks, intimidation, backlash, and harassment both online and offline in many parts of the country.
“We have seen an increase in serious human rights violations, a worrisome surge and aggravated wave of discrimination and political violence weaponized against women during election periods. INEC has documented over 52 politically motivated attacks in 21 states since the election campaign began on September 28, 2022, making the gruesome murder of Victoria Chintex, Nigeria’s 53rd politically induced violence ahead of the elections.
“Violence Against Women in Politics (VAWP) continues to create additional impediments and in situations such as this, deadly obstacles to women’s active and meaningful participation in leadership and politics.
“Today, we come together to denounce the persecution, prosecution, sexism, harassment and all other forms of discrimination and violence against female politicians and their supporters in Nigeria, and emphasize the critical need for stricter security measures to be put in place ahead of the 2023 general election, to prevent and proactively respond to incidents of violence against women before, during, and after the elections.”
They called on the Police to carry out necessary investigations and bring all perpetrators to book without further delay and all political parties to live by the principles of the peace accord they signed at the commencement of political campaigns.
They urged the president to declare a national state of emergency on political violence, sending a strong message of zero tolerance against any form of violence and clearly communicating actions that will be taken against perpetrators. They also proposed a joint task force committee on the safety of women as candidates and electorates, comprised of relevant security agencies be set up in the next two weeks, with a commitment to release a publicly accessible comprehensive prevention and emergency response action plan on all forms of violence against women in the 2023 elections.
“While we commend the current provisions in the 2022 Electoral Act, which condemns violence in elections and states penalties for infractions at 12 months jail term or a maximum term of N500, 000, we recommend stricter sanctions with more severe implications as a demotivating factor to discourage the indulgence of political violence as well as an immediate ratification of the Violence Against Person’s Prohibition (VAPP) Act in states where the law has not been domesticated in Nigeria and also call the attention of the states who have domesticated the law, to effectively implement same, as this law covers all forms of violence.”