Gender Based Violence (GBV) is criminal and abominable wherever it happens: at home, in private, at the work place or in public and most be condemned unequivocally.

The Nigerian women Trust Fund is appalled to hear that an elected female councilor, Rakiya Musa Tudu, was recently assaulted by her colleague, Musa Abdullahi Jarma, the chairman of Fakai Local Government, Kebbi during a council meeting for bringing to fore the plight of the people and the hardship faced by employees of the LG who had not been paid for 4 months’ salary. Not only has Mr. Jarma not apologized for this criminal act, he is boasting about that no one can hold him to account. Such an act by the leader of a Local Government Area is disgraceful.

Mr. Jarma should note that:

Section 264 of the Penal Code defines ASSAULT as “Whoever makes any gesture or any preparation intending or knowing it to be likely that such gesture or preparation will cause any person present to apprehend that he who makes that gesture or preparation is about to use criminal force to that person, is said to commit an assault.

Section 265 states the Punishment for ASSAULT thus “Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person otherwise than on grave and sudden provocation given by that person, shall be punished:

(a) with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both; and

(b) if grievous hurt is caused to any person by such assault or criminal force with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.

Nigeria has a high rate of GBV and shamefully low representation of women in governance with women confirming that the threat of violence keeps them away from active politics. That this is happening in the North-West, a region with the worst indices on women’s representation in politics, no female in the National Assembly and Kebbi State Assembly, is telling. It would be a grave injustice to let Mr. Jarma get away with his crime.

We recommend his immediate suspension from his role as local government chair immediately pending investigation and prosecution of the crime he has admitted to.

We are confident that HE the Governor of Kebbi State Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, the Kebbi Chapter of the All Progressive Congress and the Commissioner of Police will bring Musa Abdullahi Jarma to justice immediately and make it clear to all Nigerians that assaulting women is not acceptable under any circumstances, especially not in public and in the work place. As a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) the FG is under obligation to ensure that the rights of all Nigerian women and girls are protected. We further use this opportunity to renew the calls for a Gender and Equal Opportunity (GEO) Bill.

In a country where women bear the brunt of the myriad of social, political and economic injustices that plague us as a nation, the Nigerian Women Trust Fund and other women groups call upon our partners across civil society, the legislature and all well-meaning Nigerians at home and abroad to join in condemning the actions of Musa Abdullahi Jarma.

We have confidence in HE Governor Bagudu to take immediate action and see to it that impunity and criminalities like this are not allowed to fester unchecked in Kebbi State.

 

The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (Women’s Fund) was founded in 2011 by a public-private-CSO coalition to address the growing concerns about the gender imbalance in elective and appointive positions and drive strategies to increase the representation of women in Nigerian government at all levels.

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