Chris Steven, Abuja
Nigerian women must be engaged, empowered to contribute their quota to national development and live free from violence for the nation to make remarkable progress towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Head of OXFAM in Nigeria, Constant Tchona has said.
According to him, the situation of women and girls in Nigeria raises concerns about the nation’s ability to attain sustainable development.
He lamented that Nigerian women and girls have worse life chances than their contemporaries across the world noting that gender based violence has increased in the face of insurgency activities in the North East where women and girls are abducted, raped and subjected to forced marriage.
The Head of OXFAM stated these in Abuja on Wednesday at the opening of a workshop on Strategic Human Rights Litigation organised by OXFAM in collaboration with Lawyers Against Poverty.
“Violence against women have been recognized as a violation of women’s rights and fundamental freedom in several regional and international instruments, which Nigeria has ratified.
Violence against women takes several forms, ranging from domestic violence, rape, disinheritance, harmful traditional practices, early and forced marriage ” Tchona said.
OXFAM, according to him, is currently with partners in Kaduna and Plateau states towards the domestication of Violence Against Person Prohibition Act which he said has been passed at the National level.
The law, he explained is the most comprehensive law protecting the rights of of women from all forms gender based violence as guaranteed in the Protocol to the African Charter on Human rights on the rights of women.
He explained that the aim of the workshop was to build the capacity of women and human rights defenders and organizations in Nigeria towards ensuring that women have unhindered access to justice in the realization of their social, economic and political rights in international regional and national laws which Nigeria is a signatory to.