By Olawale Ibrahim , Lokoja
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kogi chapter, on Tuesday, urged the House of Assembly to expedite action on passage of the Violence against Person Prohibition Bill.
The Chairperson of FIDA in the state, Lilian Okolo, stated this at the inauguration of a maternity ward by the organisation at Kogi Specialist Hospital, Lokoja, as part of activities marking the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD).
According to her, the bill is currently at committee stage in the Assembly, stressing that the lawmakers should treat it as a matter of urgency.
This, she said, had become imperative owing to the numerous challenges facing the womenfolk in the society, especially the indigent and the vulnerable.
Okolo, while stating that the importance of IWD could not be over-emphasised, added that in spite of the potentials of women in the society, they had continued to face series of challenges, ranging from sexual harassment, violence, oppression and stigmatisation.
She noted that the inauguration of the maternity ward by FIDA was to commemorate this year women’s day and celebrate women and mothers.
According to her, the rehabilitation of the maternity ward is the brain-child of FIDA, with support from Mrs Titilayo Eboh, a philanthropist and FIDA Matron.
Okolo added that with Eboh’s assistance, the organisation was able to renovate the electrical fittings and donate chairs, other maternity essentials and consumables to the ward.
“It was Hillary Clinton, a former US Secretary of State and first woman to be nominated for US President by a major political party, who said ‘We need to understand that there is no formula for how women should lead their lives.
”That is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family. Every woman also deserves the chance to realise her God-given potential”.
”It is against this backdrop that the 2021 international women day, according to many Nigerians, is apt in view of the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world,” she said.
Okolo, therefore, urged women in the country to challenge all forms of inequality and discrimination.
Also speaking, Abdullahi Zakari, Director-General Office of Public Defender and Citizen’s Rights Commission (PDCRC), Kogi, urged women to stand out and fight for their rights.
Zakari noted that women had, over the years, suffered series of deprivations, stressing that the 35 per cent affirmation was far from being achieved by successive governments in the country.