Groups deplore violence against women at Kogi poll
The Kogi State VAWIE Joint Response Committee (JRC) after monitoring the Kogi State Gubernatorial Election has raised concern over violence targeted at women during the Kogi State Governorship election linking it to the reason why one of the two female governorship candidates withdrew from the race before accreditation commenced.
The Stop Violence Against Women in Elections, stop (VAWIE) campaign led by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in collaboration with the International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), and the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) monitored incidents of violence targeting women ahead of and on Election Day.
The chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers Falilat Y. Musa, who spoke to The Guardian yesterday in Lokoja said the candidate must have been stampeded into taking the option of withdrawing from the race because she is a woman.
According to Musa, “To ensure a real time response by the security agencies to all reported incidence of violence against women in the electoral process, the stop VAWIE initiative set up a toll free hotline (08002000200) which citizens used to report violence against women,
“The Stop VAWIE campaign strives to raise awareness of and develop strategies to mitigate the factors that prevent women from actively participating in electoral process.”
She indicated that they also got reports and witnessed women with their babies as well as aged women who were subject to the same rigours men are subject to adding that they were supposed to be given preferential treatment in voting and
Musa decried INEC’s lukewarm attitude towards engaging equal number of women in election administration offices as their male counterparts in view of possible violence against women.
According to her, ‘The team which consisted of five Joint Response Committee (JRC) members from Kogi State and the NDI Gender team received calls of VAWIE incidents and communicated back to the response team for follow up.
“The Response Team visited 29 polling units, the hotline recorded 60 calls and 50 were followed up with and 10 incidents escalated. Majority of the incidents reported to the hotline occurred during voting from between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.
She expressed concern over some female election workers who did not receive their allowances in time to purchase food and water hence were forced to stay in the polling station from morning till night.