FGM is gruesome, criminal violation of women’s rights- Senator Ireti

FGM is gruesome, criminal violation of women’s rights- Senator Ireti

The Chairman Senate committee on Women Affairs, Senator Ireti Kingibe has described female genital mutilation, FGM as a gruesome act and a criminal violation of women’s rights and that of the girl child.

Kingibe gave the charge on Monday in Abuja, while speaking at the 2024  International Women’s Day  tagged: ‘Together ensure inclusivity, loud her voice’, organized by Female Journalist Network in collaboration with Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, FCT Chapter.

While calling on journalists and the federal government to fight the menace, she said that women and young girls deserve the right to be free from cruelty, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and they most certainly deserve the right to life. 

She added that sadly, there have unfortunate instances where the heinous procedure has resulted in needless death. The practice of FGM is unjustifiable and every one of us has a crucial role to prevent and end it as the health and safety of women and girls must be of paramount importance to us all.

“As a woman myself, a Senator and Chairperson of the Senate committee on Women Affairs (SCOWAS), I have and abiding interest in ensuring that women the lot of women and girl children in Nigeria, is significantly improved and all forms of discrimination against, and unfair practices towards them, eliminated.

“At the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, we have keyed into the theme of the International Women’s Day, which the United Nations (UN) has termed, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, with the launch of a groundbreaking initiative, NCLUDEHer Nigeria. 

“This represents SCOWAS stride into gender mainstreaming. SCOWAS is championing the theme, “Mobilizing Partnerships for Gender Mainstreaming in Nigeria’s Sustainable Development Agenda”. This is aimed at uniting various societal sectors towards achieving gender equity and women empowerment across Nigeria.

“As the Chairperson of SCOWAS I have been at the fore of articulating the framework within which our aspirations and actions must align, emphasizing that achieving an equitable and sustainable democracy in Nigeria demands conscientious responsibility to the tenets of good governance where citizens, businesses, and government take the conversation beyond rhetoric to take practical steps in initiating programmes that promote multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral, and intergenerational consensus. 

As I have noted elsewhere, the vision is not just about generating dialogue but more importantly, about fashioning a modus operandi for proactive approach to socio-political and economic equity for women in Nigeria.

Speaking also at the event, the Vice Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT correspondent Chapel,  Comrade Grace Ike called for intensive lobby of members of the National Assembly in the bid to ensure the passage of gender-sensitive laws which seek to protect and promote the rights of women in all spheres of Nigerian Society.

Comrade Grace Ike who is also the Chairman of the House of Representatives Press Corps in her address tagged: ‘Together we can do more: Together we will do more. This year we shall do everything together as Women’, Comrade Ike  applauded the resilience of Female Journalists and other women folks for breaking barriers and making their voices heard in the traditionally male-dominated spaces the country.

According to her, “this year is special as we are gathered to give a united amplification to our collective yearnings and desires. Particularly the secret pain and muffled ambitions of women. This year we shall speak truth to power. We shall speak to each other as we speak for each other. This journey is a collective one and we shall move as one united and unbreakable vanguard.

“Dear sisters, it is an honor to address you all on this great occasion of the 2024 International Women’s Day celebration, organized by the Female Journalist Network. As we gather under the theme ‘Together: Ensure inclusivity, loud her voice,’ we are reminded of the indispensable role women play in shaping our societies and charting the course towards a more inclusive and equitable world. This year, our words would become action and a force that will pull us all to the promise land. There is just one bend before we get to the end of the tunnel and I see light already.

“As the Chairman of the House of Representatives Press Corps in Nigeria, and the Vice chairman of the Correspondents’ chapel of the FCT, I stand before you as a testament to the progress women have made in breaking barriers and making their voices heard in traditionally male-dominated spaces. I have also worked with female lawmakers, wives of top politicians and great women who have excelled as professionals.”

While pursuing gender equality, Comrade Ike tasked womenfolk not to “waver in our commitment to challenge injustice, discrimination, and inequality at every turn. Inclusivity is not a fleeting notion but a cornerstone upon which our movement thrives. By embracing diverse voices and perspectives, we sow the seeds of a future where every woman flourishes.

According to her,”Let us also pay homage to the indispensable role of female journalists in shaping narratives and amplifying our voices. Their unwavering dedication to illuminating our struggles merits our unswerving support and appreciation.

“To empower our Female Journalists, we must equip them with the tools and opportunities needed to excel. Comprehensive training and mentorship programs are essential in nurturing their talents and ensuring their voices reverberate far and wide. Let us redouble our efforts to advocate for gender parity in media representation, fostering a more inclusive and representative discourse.

“In closing, I commend each woman for her resilience, for every scar borne is a testament to our collective strength, and every tear shed a tribute to our shared journey. The dawn of victory draws near, beckoning us to celebrate the triumphs of women everywhere.

“Let us pledge to march forward hand in hand, amplifying her voice and forging a future where every woman thrives. Together, we possess the power to realize our dreams and shape a brighter tomorrow for generations to come,” Comrade Ike urged.

–  Vanguard

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