Women on the Move

Ndidi Chukwu
Ndidi Chukwu

Sullivan Chime, governor of Enugu State, says his government’s all-gender inclusion policy is very fertile

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Apr. 29, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

HUNDREDS of women in Enugu State gathered at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, to commemorate the 2013 International Women’s Day on April 16. Sullivan Chime, governor of the state, who was represented by Ndidi Chukwu, commissioner for gender affairs and social development, called on government at all levels to enact laws that would protect the rights of women and children in the country.

Ndidi Chukwu and Adaobi Odoh
Ndidi Chukwu and Adaobi Odoh

Chime said that government should join in fighting violence against women. According to Chime, the theme of this year’s celebration is what government should strive to achieve because of the multidimensional and all-encompassing roles women play in the society. “The theme of this year’s celebration is special because any society that tolerates violence against women or that does not see women as equal partners in every aspect of its development is headed for doom and will no doubt operate in half capacity. In Enugu State, the gender inclusion has never been fertile as it is today, be it political, economic or social. This government is aware that all human beings have equal rights irrespective of gender and that women’s rights are human rights. But women have a role to play to ensure that there is equity, ” he said.

Clara Chime, wife of the governor, who was represented by Adaobi Odoh, wife of the speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly, said the state government set the day aside to enable women in the rural areas to participate in this year’s celebration. According to Clara, the focus of the state government is to ensure the safety of women in the state and Nigeria in general, and to implement laws that would uplift their wellbeing.

She described violence against women as a hydra-headed problem which has continued to plague societies all over the world, especially in developing nations. She said negative and harmful cultural perceptions, traditions and norms have militated against the attainment of freedom for women in Africa.

Cross section of women at the event
Cross section of women at the event

Clara lamented that both physical violence in form of wife battering, psychological violence or emotional violence in form of verbal abuse, exclusion and seclusion for reasons of sex and sexual violence in form of rape had continued to thrive seriously in this part of the world due to poor implementation of the laws against them. “If we have a heart, if we have a soul, if we have a conscience, it is our duty to create a world that is free from discrimination, a world where equity and equality are the norms, rather than the exceptions,” she said.

Edith Okolo, special adviser to governor Chime on health matters, said that government should provide the necessary health care facilities to reduce maternal mortality, polio, HIV/AIDS and other health issues that affect women in the country. “Apart from government providing the necessary primary, secondary and tertiary health care facilities for its citizens, it is also important to emphasise the need for the women, especially those in the rural areas and the illiterate ones to be tutored in basic reproductive health education. The state has witnessed a lot of avoidable child and maternity deaths. Most of them stem from complications that could have been noticed during antenatal care if they had gone through the right channel,” Okolo said.

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