In celebrating the International women’s month, WIPF in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung organized a discussion on violence against women in elections. The discussion strategically took place in Awka, Anambra State on March 3rd because of the forthcoming governorship election in November,2021.
In her opening remarks, Ebere Ifendu, President of Women in Politics Forum said that it is important that all forms of violence against women especially violence against women in election is stopped. She said that it is totally unacceptable and must be jointly condemned.
She enjoined all stakeholders to join forces to eradicate it as it’s negative impact on women’s political participation cannot be taken for granted. She used the opportunity to demand for sanctions against perpetrators of violence and asked the Inspector General of Police to ensure that the killers of Mrs Salome Abuh in kogi state receive maximum punishment as it will serve as a deterrent to others.
Also Ms Juliana Anosike Program Officer FES in making her opening remarks said that violence makes women vulnerable and discourages them from actively participating in democratic process. She encouraged women to speak out to seek for help.
The discussion took cognizance of women contesting the election and the need for adequate protection against violence to avoid the incident that took place in kogi. Mrs Salome Abuh was brutally burnt alive in her home in kogi for supporting her party during election, this must not be allowed to continue.
It was agreed at the discussion that violence against women in elections is a major challenge to women’s participation in politics and that there is an urgent need to curb it.
At the discussion were different stakeholders including security agencies,traditional and religious leaders, women groups, politicians , National orientation agency, CSO’s, persons living with disabilities, Academia, media and other interest groups.
The discussion had three facilitators who helped to define and understand different forms of violence against women in elections.
Mr Austin Aigbe, a senior programs officer with CDD discussed on online violence against women in elections, while Ms Ene Ede of Equity advocates looked at the physical violence against women in elections. Prof Joy Onyesoh, convener women situation room shared experiences on violence against women as recorded before , on Election Day and post election.
In his remarks HRH Igwe Ora Chiri opined that for Anambra State to achieve peace and development women must be encouraged to participate in politics and all barriers hindering them including Violence must be eradicated. Speaking at the discussion, Iyom Josephine Anenih, former Minister of women affairs decried the increase in the number of recorded violence against women and challenged security agencies to give women more protection and asked for quick dispensation of Justice to all reported cases.
The discussion agreed that we need more consultative meeting with stakeholders, the constitution should be reviewed and massive sensitization of news and media reportage should be embarked upon. The discussion identified the following as constraints in the fight against violence against women:
- Failure of security agencies in adequately addressing reported cases.
- Fear of Stigmatization
- Lack of synergy between relevant stakeholders
- Society and Family pressure on consequences of speaking up
- Lack of financial capacity.
Security agencies press pledged to guarantee adequate protection of women against all forms of violence.
Participants jointly agreed to #ChooseToChallenge ViolenceAgainstWomen