By Aniekan Bassey
The Cross River State government has called for action on five gender bills before the national assembly.
The State Commissioner for Women Affairs Edema Irom made the call in Calabar in her keynote address during the kick-off of this year’s 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence, GBV.
The five bills which seek to significantly bridge the gender disparity in the country were rejected by the national assembly during last year’s constitutional amendment.
The bills include creating additional seats for women to increase their participation in the national assembly, a bill to enable Nigerian women to transfer citizenship to foreign husbands and a bill to ensure at least 35% in political party administration and appointive positions.
Others are a bill to provide a minimum of 20% ministerial or commissioner nominees across federal and state levels and a bill to allow a woman to become an indigene of her husband’s state after five years of marriage.
“We are calling for support for the passage of the 5 gender bills at the national assembly by our national legislators, the provision and
release of funds at the state level for the implementation of the VAPP, the CRL, Disability rights laws and other laws that prohibit VAWG in the state”, she said.
She added that though some modest achievements have been made over the years, women are still suffering various deprivations.
“There are still more freedoms we long for, looking at the gender inequality gaps, the discrimination suffered by women and girls with disabilities, the stigma and rejection suffered by women and girls living with HIV and AIDS.
“Women and girls who are displaced, the constant increase in cases of sexual violence and harmful traditional practices still ongoing such as child marriage, female genital mutilation etc.
“More than 1 in 3 women experiences gender-based violence in their lifetime. More than 5 women or girls are killed every hour by someone in their family.
“Less than 40% of Women who
experience GBV seek help of any sort. Violence against Women and Girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation around the world.
“Its prevalence is now being further
increased by the crisis of climate change, global conflict and economic instability”, she said.
She however commended the State government headed by Senator Bassey Otu for ensuring that certain legal provisions such as the violence against persons, prohibition (VAPP) law and the disability rights law are in place.
She equally commended the state judiciary for having designated an additional family court for hearing cases, saying it’s a good start and women are very grateful.
In her goodwill message, the wife of the Cross River State governor Rev. Eyoanwan Otu said every action or attitude that promotes GBV is what she stands against.
Rev. Otu who spoke through her Special Adviser on NGOs Jeffrey Ademadi pledged to support all policies against GBV in the state.
This year’s 16 days of activism has a theme: UNITE! Invest To end violence against women and girls.
It is a yearly event which begins on the 25th of November and ends on the 10th of December.