Sen. Binta Garba, the Chairman, Senate Committee Chairman on Women Affairs, on Thursday advocated for more political will to advance women issues in the country.
The chairman made the call at the opening ceremony of a two-day roundtable on women’s right, youth development and media advocacy organised by the Proactive Gender Initiatives, an NGO in Abuja.
Garba noted that out of the 109 senators representing their senatorial districts, only seven women were among them.
He therefore called for opportunities to be given to women to give expression to their voices in the scheme of things in the country. “Our leaders need the political will to do that,’’ he said.
Garba said that there must be an enforcement of all the laws regulating the rights of women and the girl-child education in line with the charters and protocol signed by Nigeria and the UN.
“This conversation about the role of women and youths can never be enough; this is because of the enormous potential this group of people have to shape the destiny and direction of not only our country but that of humanity.
“Nigerian woman and the youth are fully part of the Nigerian project and have the skills to contribute their quota the Nigerian state.
“But can they get a better deal, the answer to this question are not just in black and white given the complexity of issues such as religion, cultural, societal and constitutional.
“However, the possibility exist to give woman and youth a foothold in the Nigerian space such that they can become part of decision making,’’ she stressed.
Garba called on the women and girls to continue to have positive dreams about their futures and not to be put off by the numerous issues confronting them.
According to her, there is every reason for Nigerian women and girls to remain hopeful once they can continue to galvanise community actions and join voices together to press forward their demands.
On her part, the wife of the Senate President, Mrs Toyin Saraki, called on women and girls to continue to seek for education to become responsible in the society.
Represented by Mrs Irene Samuel, the Programme Development Officer, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, an Abuja based NGO, Saraki noted that community leaders must denounce the harmful traditional practices of mutilating girls and trading them like cattle. “For the girl child to rise and prosper in the society, education is paramount.
“Girls make 50 per cent of our country or more, why are so many of them out of school,’’ Saraki said.
Journalists report that the roundtable focused on women advancement at the centre-stage of decision making among various levels of government.
The roundtable was co-organised in partnership with Ford Foundation, an international NGO.