The Mothers and Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre) commemorates the International Day to End Violence against Women, while calling for more stringent and holistic policy actions to address recurring violence and abuses against women in both public and private spheres.
We are seriously bothered by the intensity of women subjected to rape, undignified torture, mental and physical abuses on daily basis in all ramifications including armed forces with deliberate silence or pretentious intervention by relevant authority.
We are not unaware of the overbearing disproportionate responses by Nigerian security forces personnel towards civil cases involving women are among the ruthless in the world for their intentional use of excessive force and extra-judicial killing, verbal attacks and psychological intimidation reportedly mounted on women at both formal and informal sectors.
We recall the recent cases of ill-treatment and abuses against over 100 innocent women who were arrested, assaulted and sexually harassed in Abuja during an unlawfully raid carried out at night clubs and hotels in Abuja metropolis by operatives of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Joint Task Team, which is comprised of the Department of Development Control, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and the Social Development Secretariat (SDS).
While women and girls account for 70 percent of global human trafficking victims, according to a United Nations report, most victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation, abuses, dehumanization, and are grossly stripped of their dignity.
Marriage constitutes an enabling harbouring platform for continued and unchecked domestic abuse, violence and other social stigma levelled against voiceless women.
We find it worrisome that nearly one third of all of Nigerian women have experienced silent physical violence, which encompasses battery, marital rape and murder, at the hands of their intimate partners; with normalised believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife for a number of reasons. This includes women isolated in private homes as domestic workers, who suffer psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.
We therefore, call for full implementation of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act with sincere political will to punish offenders, while urging more independent judiciary to constructively interpret cases and impose sanctions without fear, intimidation or favour.
We also call for more proactive policy actions for women empowerment to encourage self-reliance and socio-economic self-sustainability of women with holistically instituted reporting system/mechanism to ease and encourage complaints process and efficiently address reported cases of violence against women at all levels.
Barrister Ola E. Onyegbula
Executive Director, MAMA Centre