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NIGERIA: Workshop Urges Gov to Assent to Law Protecting Women

Enugu State Governor, Mr Sullivan I. Chime, has been urged to assent to the state Female Violation And Discrimination Prohibition Law 2005, passed by the state House of Assembly three years ago.

Making the call at the end of a one-day sensitisation workshop on ‘the role of legislation in the abolition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM),’ in Enugu State, the participants noted that the bill if assented to by Governor Chime, would abolish the tradition, custom and culture that support and encourages female circumcision, discrimination and other forms of oppression against women in the state.

They regretted that the uncivilized female genital mutilation practice was still obtainable in many parts of the state, adding that it has continued to cause a lot of harm to women especially young ladies.

The president of a non governmental organisation in the state, Nigerian Society for the Improvement of Rural People (NSIRP) and organisers of the workshop, Mrs. Obioma Faith Ugwu, while speaking at the occasion called on the media to join hands with other stake holders in the fight against the inhuman act of female genital mutilation, which according to her, has done a lot of harm to young women in the state.

Mrs. Ugwu, regretted that despite series of international laws put in place to check some of the obnoxious practices, which Nigeria was signatory to, such primitive cultures still exist in many communities of Enugu State.

She expressed total dismay that despite the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which came into force in 1981 among other laws, the rate of maltreatment against women was still very alarming.

While urging all and sundry to join hands with her organisation and other stake-holders in sensitising those who still indulged in such act especially in the rural communities, Mrs Ugwu stated that “one of the import of the workshop is to solicit support and cooperation of all of us particularly the media to popularise these legislative instruments and in this circumstance, the Enugu State proactive efforts to criminalise FGM and similar harmful traditional practices against women in line with Nigerian constitution and the 2005 law on the abolition of FMG in Enugu State”.

Delivering a paper, entitled “the key components of the Enugu State female violation and discrimination prohibition and abolition law 2005 of the Enugu State of Nigeria and the challenges for stake-holders”, deputy chief Registrar, Enugu State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. P. A. Obayi called on women to always report to the law court whenever their rights were being violated.

She dismissed the assertion that promiscuity among women are often caused by non circumcision, calling on non governmental organisations and the media to intensify their efforts at sensitising the public on the danger inherent in female genital mutilation.

“When the traditional rulers and religious leaders are adequately sensitised and re-socialised, there will be a better reception of the new law by the other members of the community”.

The workshop which is supported by (Rainbo), United Kingdom (UK) donor agency, was attended by Southeast Zonal Coordinator of National Agency for the Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), community peer educators of the NGO.

SOURCE: The Tide Online

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DATE: 28/10/2007

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