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Female lawyers make case for women’s rights

By George Onah
Port Harcourt — Rivers State chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has raised an alarm over the increasing level of violence and discrimination against women and the girl-child in the country.

Particularly, FIDA said cases of rape, wife battery, genital mutilation and other harmful practices against the women folk have not abated in the rural and the larger society and called on the legislative and executive arms of government to urgently address the vices.

The group stated this in a one-day sensitisation train-ing programme for the media the women lawyers said the violation of women rights takes its roots from the home, school, to offices, community and the larger society.

Speaking on “Ending violence against women and the girl-child: Understanding the issues,” Mrs. Boma Kingston Enyinglwa, said the fight against the vice would be to “help bring perpetrators of the vices to account, as well as speak up anywhere you can be heard.

“Our husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers and mothers should stop the exploitation of your sisters, mothers, wives and daughters but support roles as women”.

She also called for support to “disseminate positive information about our campaigns and educate where necessary.”
Similarly, another resource person, Mrs. Helen Hardy, who spoke on “understanding the legal issues”, said the legislative arm of government was a male dominated arena, adding that “they work in a system where issues that concern women are not taken seriously.

“When there is a proposed bill that touches on the issue of women and girls, it is treated with levity but where for instance it deals on issues of politics or sports it is speedily passed into law”.

For law enforcement agencies, she frowned on the manner they treat wife battery to the effect that the “officers will always ask the victim to go home and settle with the husband as it is a family matter”.

Hardy then listed the various violations against women to include incest, sexual slavery, abuse, exploitation, harassment, domestic violence, rape and others.

She called on law enforcement agents to learn how and when to draw the line between civil and criminal matters.


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