By Ruth Oketunde
The Women’s Situation Room Nigeria (WSRN), a women civil society-led initiative, on Wednesday in Abuja, inaugurated observatory room in preparation for the 2023 general elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event has the support of the UN Women and the Canadian Embassy.
The National Coordinator of WSRN, Prof. Joy Onyesoh, said that the aim of the situation room was to observe the election processes from a gender perspective and track cases of violence in 10 states, including the FCT.
She said that the group would be getting feedback from those on the field, as it would also be responding to its strategic partners.
Onyesoh, who stressed the need for free and credible elections, added that violence against women before, during and after the elections must be discouraged at all cost.
She said “we are going to be looking at the impacts of the election process for accountability, transparency with a focus on women inclusive participation.
“We are open and ready to contribute our quota to the stability of Nigeria.”
According to her, Nigerians can also provide the group with on-the-spot assessment of elections in their various communities using the toll free number — 08003425776.
Ms Beatrice Eyong, the UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said “violence against women during election is a human right abuse which must be discouraged.
“Women’s political representation in Nigeria has witnessed a downward trend, with only 3.8 per cent of women in elective offices at both the national and state level following the 2019 elections and only 10.2 per cent of women candidates in the 2023 elections.
“Violence against women in politics is a human rights abuse that hinders the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 16 and 25.
The Police Commissioner in the FCT, Sadiq Abubakar, represented by the Officer In-Charge, Gender, Funmi Kolawole, assured police readiness to participate in the elections.
She said “the Nigeria Police Force is fully ready for the elections; we do not want anyone to entertain any fear.
“Go out and cast your votes and remain law-abiding.”
NAN reports that the event had in attendance representatives from the Ministry of Women Affairs, National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), INEC, NOA, Women in Politics Forum, FOMWAN, as well as various civil society organisations.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu