21 November 2019
Today, we are here to bring a more focused attention to the incidents of Gender based violence in the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections. We are concerned about the high level of violence before, during and after the elections. An attack on one woman is an attack on all Nigerian women.
Prior to the 2019 General Elections, the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Women in Politics Forum (WiPF), Women Radio 91.7 FM (WFM) and other women focused organizations led targeted sensitization programs and issued public statements and actions to provide better public understanding, aimed to address electoral violence which creates barrier to women’s participation.
As a result of intensive advocacy and intervention by CSOs, media, EMBs, development partners, there has been an increase in the number of women who have been convinced and are actively engaged in the electoral process. However, inspite of the increase in women’s participation in the electoral process, many women around the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria continue to experience significant violence around election time. Both female voters and politicians have experienced increased harassment, arson, violence and psychological abuse without any national action to bring it to a halt.
All election observer groups on ground during the two elections including, the Civil Society Situation Room convened by PLAC, Centre for Democracy and Development, (CDD), YIAGA Africa, the Transition Monitoring Group have all also condemned this level of violence. This has also been closely xtrayed by the media.
These kinds of incidents are not only a threat to the stability of the electoral process but also affect women’s participation in the discourse of development. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and choice, and as equal citizens of the Nation, women’s choices should not be a premise for the violations of their rights.
We hereby join the rising demand for justice by calling on the Inspector General of Police to conduct an immediate investigation into all these cases of gender based violence and in particular the attack on particular women, the most recent being the burning to death of Ms. Acheju Salome Abuh in Kogi State. This is a threat to inclusive democracy in Nigeria. We call on all relevant authorities to take action to bring all perpetrators to book immediately. An injury to one woman is an injury to all women.
NWTF, WiPF &WFM 91.7FM
For Women Groups in Nigeria