INEC seeks strict law on violence against women
THE Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Amina Zakari, has stressed the need to put in place strict legislation on gender and violence against women in the country.
Speaking at the launch of “Stop Violence Against Women In Elections” yesterday in Abuja, Zakari, who condemned the high level of violence meted on women during elections, called for a remarkable change on the violence against women in the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
She stated that the existing legislations on violence against women should be tracked to see why they have not been effective and what needs to be done to criminalise the act against women.
Stressing that women should not just be used as voters as they have what it takes to participate in politics and governance, Zakari urged political parties and the men folk to change their mindset and create a level-playing field to enable women participate actively in politics.
Represented by Mrs. Toyin Babalola, Zakari also called on government to strengthen the capacity of women through education and economic empowerment, saying Nigerian women have what it takes to participate in politics and governance.
The INEC chair stressed the need to operationalise affirmative action, noting that most women who held positions in the past did not use their positions to promote course of women.
Also speaking, factional Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Peter Ameh, said that the Council would work with the National Assembly to ensure that the 35 per cent affirmative action is included in the registration process for all political parties to encourage more women participation in politics and decision-making process.
He said: “Women must be included in huge number to be part of the National Working Committee so that they can take effective decisions that can improve the lots of women during parties’ national conventions.
The National Working Committee is where the decisions are taken; therefore women should occupy vintage positions within the party structure.
It should be part of the requirements that must be met by all political parties before they get registered by the INEC. Women are the major drivers of the economy; they should be encouraged because so many women have proven that Nigerian women can make a difference.”
Ameh noted that religious, cultural, economic and social barriers had impeded active participation of women in the political process over the years, adding that all these artificial barriers must be removed to enable women play their roles in nation-building.