By Gabriel Ewepu
AHEAD of the inauguration of the 9th Assembly in June, women groups have tasked lawmakers to support and pass bills into laws to protect the interest of women, children and youth.
Some of the groups advocating and urging the incoming lawmakers include Virtuous Women and Youth Empowerment Initiative, VWYEI, and Voice for Less Privileged Organisation, VOLPO.
National Coordinator, VWEYI, Esther Akwo, described the plight of women in the country as pathetic, therefore the 9th Assembly should be proactive to ensure laws that improve their living standard are given the desired attention following their strength in voting the lawmakers to represent them.
“We in Virtuous Women and Youth Empowerment Initiative, VWYEI, are really bothered about what women and young people are going through today in this country. Most of them are now lured into heinous crimes in and outside the country due to lack of welfare that covers them in the country.
“The 9th Assembly should be in the vanguard of ensuring these women and youth are given a sense of belonging by supporting bills and making laws that would drastically reduce the mass exodus of women and youth from the country.
“Jailing and execution of Nigerians who have engaged in illegal businesses for survival and wealth creation in Asia, Europe, North Africa, Middle East and America is no longer news.
“Some of them have been trafficked, engaged in drug business, cyber crimes, while others are into kidnapping, terrorism, ritual killings, prostitution including those who are dehumanised and subjected to slavery because of their condition and how they entered those countries by crossing the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea for greener pasture; some lost their lives in the process,” she said.
Also speaking, Founder of VOLPO, Dr Ego-Queen Ezuma, said the 9th Assembly should strengthen existing laws that concern the welfare of women and also come up with new laws that would positively impact and make life meaningful for women, children and young people in the country.
“There are millions of women, children and youth who are now vulnerable species of Nigerians, virtually excluded to an extent because they don’t have access to basic social amenities that are provided for citizens to enjoy.
“Considering all these factors and challenges our country is facing, there should be laws the 9th Assembly should enact immediately to ensure the trend is reversed. This, they can do in collaboration with the executive arm of government to stem the tide.
“Also bills that would ensure access to quality health care for women and children by collaborating with State Houses of Assembly, State and Local Government Councils across the 36 states and 774 LGAs including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to resuscitate dead health care facilities and employ enough health officers with good welfare packages for their motivation to get to the hinterland.
“And also on oversight function, lawmakers should ensure these primary health care facilities are adequately equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment. This would go a long way to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates across the country,” Ezuma stated.