NEWSDAILYNIGERIA: Former chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers, (FIDA) Kaduna State branch, Barrister Bukola Ajao, has said one in three women falls victim to one form of Gender-Based Violence or the other.

Ajao, who is a consummate gbv actor in Kaduna, said gbv should be seen as a public problem rather than private, and there must be strong political will to enforce human rights – provision of essential services.

She asserted this during an awareness seminar on the “WeForThem” (WFT) project for 80 members of National Union of Road Transport Workers, (NURTW), Kaduna branch organized by Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative, (EWEI) on Thursday in Kaduna.

The former FIDA chairperson averred that violence against women is deeply rooted in discrimination and inequality between men and women; saying ending it requires investments in women’s empowerment and gender equality, particularly in education, reproductive health and rights, among others.

Addressing participants on the status of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law and Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill of Kaduna state, Barr Ajao, noted that there are laws like the Penal Code, VAPP Law, Child Welfare Protection Law, and Administration of Criminal Justice, she however said when the issue of sexual and gbv is mentioned, the focus is more on Penal Code and the VAPP Law.

She noted that NURTW constitution in its Article 42 talks about disciplinary measures on erring members, which means if the union member is found wanting, he/she could be punished within the Union apart from the court.

She then urged the union to collaborate and harmonize it laws, and let it members know that this is what is applicable in those other policies in the state and the fact that they have it in their own laws too.

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Corroborating Barr Ajao, the State Council Scribe on Special Duties of NURTW, Comrade Hassan Ibrahim, said it is embedded in the form signed by an intending member that any act that is inimical to the interest of the union or would bring the Union into disrepute would not be entertained.

“It is in our constitution, a member can be expel, suspended or fined. In fact, 90 per cent of the NURTW members has the constitution. And at the state level, we organize workshops, seminars such as this for them.

“There is also monthly briefings and if there is anything new apart from what they had, it would be related to them of which they will be directed to step down to the grassroots. So based on the constitutional provisions no member is allowed to engage in any act that will bring the name of the Union into disrepute,” Comrade Ibrahim reiterated.

The state Scribe however, commended EWEI saying the Union has been dealing with so many NGOs in the state but EWEI’s exceptional as its activities touches the mind of the union; saying “We look forward to more collaborations with EWEI.”

In her presentation on how to identify advocacy by participants, a resource person, Jelilat Abidoye,
said there were some popular tools and strategies used in advocacy which includes; mobilization/ coalition, rallies, petitions, social media campaigns, lobbying, movies/storytelling, and traditional media.

Earlier, the Secondary Focal Person for the WeForThem, (WFT) project, Mendie Jeremiah, said participants were drawn from seven garages in the targeted area – Kantin Kwari (Bus), BTS Tudun Wada (Bus), Karji Trimcos, 740 Garage (near Makarfi Plaza), Ungwan Mai-Gero (Katricosa), Refinery Junction, NURTW Tudun Wada, and the state NURTW executives.

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Jeremiah who is also the Gender Programme Officer of EWEI, said the day’s session will look at advocacy tolls, the existing policies on gbv, sexual harassment, and also the level of knowledge of participants about the law in the state.

He said why taking time to study the existing laws on gbv and the Union is key so that at the end they will harness this laws together. “We’re going to study these provisions together with members of the union relating them side-by-side with the available laws in the state, then harmonize them and come up with a sort of bye-law for the members and persons using the parks,” he said.

The WFT project aimed and focus to decrease the rates of sexual harassment and abuses in public spaces in Kaduna and is being implemented by EWEI, with support from the African Women Development Fund, (AWDF).


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