A coalition of women groups in Anambra State under the auspices of Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN), on Monday, advocated constitutional review to accommodate the rights of women in Nigeria and end to discrimination.
GECORN, staged a walk along the Awka portions of the Enugu/Onitsha expressway before ending up at Alex Ekwueme square.
The Walk had as its theme, “A Thousand Women Walk To End All Forms Of Violence And Discrimination Against Women And girls”.
The women also carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘Child Abuse Is An Offence, Stop All Forms Of Abuse And Violence Against Children’, ‘Widows Deserve Love, Compassion And Kindness’, ‘Stop Abusing Widows’, ‘Stop Violence, Abuse Against Women And Girls’, among others.
The women further demanded full implementation of various Acts and laws that ruled out discrimination against women in Anambra state and other parts of the country.
Speaking to journalists, Chairperson of FIDA, Anambra State, Professor Ogugua Ikpeze, said the advocacy campaign supported by Ford Foundation, was apt given that the language of the 1999 constitution which addresses “she” as masculine, discriminatory against women as well as disregard existence of women.
Professor Ikpeze, who is a professor of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, stated that sections 22, 42, 146 and others in the constitution should be amended to be gender-balanced, women-friendly, and explicitly define the rights of women for easy interpretation and implementation.
“Our culture which is in section 22 of the constitution, bears the people’s culture forgetting some of them as obnoxious, so they should put away any constitution or custom that is inhumane. So the constitution should not be shrewd with ambiguity”
Also speaking a member of the coalition, Ms. Ogechi Ehiahurike, noted that the 1999 constitution mentioned masculine gender 235 times and females only two times, and further identified harmful widowhood practices, child marriage, rape, and inheritance problems as among discriminations against women in Anambra state and other South-Eastern states.
Adding her voice, the Chairperson of the coalition in Imo State, Dr. Rose Adiukwu, identified other programs they embarked upon to press home their demands to include advocacy visits to stakeholders, radio programs, and August meetings.
Contributing, Mrs. Amala Mojeke and Mrs. Eucharia Anaekwu called on Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State and his counterparts to expedite actions towards full implementations of VAPP laws and others so as to prevent all forms of discrimination against women.