Presidential Polls: Respect Our Rights, Enough Of Attacks On Us – 300 Women Groups3 min read
A coalition of over 300 women organisations under the aegis of Womanifesto has raised concern over the attacks and violence unleashed on women during the February 25 presidential election.
The organization also call on political parties, candidates, and their supporters to respect the rights of women, the rule of law, and shun violence as they vote in the governorship elections re-scheduled for March 18 2023.
The women also mourned Victoria Chintex, the Women Leader of the Labour Party in Kaduna State who was murdered last year and the countless other women who have experienced one form of violence or the other during their participation on the presidential election, including Jennifer Bina Efidi who was stabbed in the face with a bottle by criminals who disrupted voting at her polling unit.
The Convener of Womanifesto and Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, raised the concern in a statement on behalf of other women groups, obtained by journalists in Abuja.
Apart from WARDC, other members of Womanifesto who endorsed the statement included 100 Women Lobby Group; Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF); Women In Politics Forum (WIPF) and ActionAid Nigeria (AAN).
Akiyode-Afolabi said, “Feminists and women’s rights groups in Nigeria under the auspices of Womanifesto have condemned the violence at several polling units and collation centres during the Presidential elections on Saturday, February 25 2023.
“Nigerian women are deeply concerned about the continued violence against women in their diversities during elections and the apparent lack of accountability from duty-bearers. Women’s participation in the democratic process is crucial, and we condemn the violence and harm women experienced during the elections in the strongest terms.
“Violence against women continues to be a prevalent issue in Nigeria during electioneering seasons. Women candidates, campaigners, electoral officers and voters face verbal, physical, and psychological violence, including sexual harassment and assault, without consequences for perpetrators.
“In this election cycle, Nigerian women still mourn Mrs Victoria Chintex, the Women Leader of the Labour Party who was murdered. We mourn the countless other women who have experienced one form of violence or the other during their participation, including Jennifer Bina Efidi, who was stabbed in the face with a bottle by criminals who disrupted voting at her polling unit.
“The violence perpetrated against women hinders many women from fully participating in elections, especially if the institutions meant to protect them or provide redress are weak or inaccessible. Civil society groups, particularly women’s rights organisations, provided an early warning of the security risks and threats women face during elections.
“Nigerian women call on all political parties, candidates, and their supporters to respect women’s rights, respect the rule of law, and shun violence as they vote. We demand accountability from law enforcement at all levels, swift investigations into the violence that has occurred, and assurances of their readiness to prevent further violence against women.
“We urge the media to report women responsibly and to document these violent incidents in ways that advance the democratic process and hold perpetrators to account. Finally, we implore citizens to eschew violence in all its forms and play their part in promoting an environment free from gender-based violence and intimidation.
“Womanifesto is committed to upholding women’s rights and democracy; we stand in solidarity with women during these elections and will continue to work towards the inclusion and safety of women in the democratic process.”