Over the years, women have been subject of harassment, intimidation, victimization and all sort of subjugation thereby making them as second class citizen in the society. This undoubtedly gave rise to the emergence of all manner of groups and organizations across the world with a singular mission to ‘salvage’ women from such quandary.
However, many of such groups who disguise under the concept of feminist ended up working for their personal aggrandizement at the expense of those whom they claim to have been fighting for their emancipation.
Gender imbalance can be found in any society and patriarchy may continue to subjugate and exclude women in the scheme of things. cases of raping, abandonment, domestic violence, prostitution, forced marriage, girls hawking and utter neglect of womenfolk, have been so pronounced in our society today.
Disturbed by this ugly development and in its avowed determination to ensure eradication or minimising cases of maltreatment against women and children as well as the desire to promote justice and equity among the populace, that the Women’s Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), a non-governmental organization established to champion the cause of women and other less privilege members of the society that it adopted a rare and unique strategy by way of embarking on a sensitization and advocacy mission to stakeholders through institutional consultations and visitation of various with a view to enthroning and restoring the dignity of women in our society.
This laudable initiative by WRAPA to say the least, is most commendable and worthy of emulation by all men of goodwill. Giving the quantum of the problem at hand, there is no better way of addressing these vices than to involve every member in the society.
There is no gain saying the fact that recurring incidences of dispute in child custody among divorcees, abandonment,, widowhood disinheritance, forced marriage, sexual harassment of women at both school and working place, intimidation, raping of minors, indiscriminate divorce, maltreatment, utter injustice and all sorts of uncivilized behaviours meted against women and children has been on the increase particularly in Northern Nigeria.
Therefore, irked by this ugly trend and in line with the dictate of its mission and vision, WRAPA, a non-governmental organization established by the wife of the former Military Head of State, Justice Fati Lami Abubakar nearly two decades ago, decided to come up with mechanism of public enlightenment with a view to involving all stakeholders on this all important project of attitudinal change.
Statistics indicates that from 2006 to 2017 WRAPA under its Islamic Family Project (IFL) has rendered legal and humanitarian assistance to over 720 people mostly women and children in 22 states across the country, this figure is alarming even as it is worrisome.
According to the Secretary General of WRAPA 60% of the cases it handled were personally reported by the victims and or their relatives, 21% were through referrals by either the police, hospital officials and or other relevant bodies such as Hisba boards and the remaining 19% WRAPA picked them either from media reports and other channels of communication such as social media.
In the year 2016, WRAPA, in collaboration with some renowned Islamic scholars from different part of the country compiled various sermon (Khutbah) which deals with woman rights and protection in the society, the many advantages of family cohesion, as well as on the benefits of good and harmonious family life between husband and wife among others.
Prior to the presentation of the khutbah it was firstly taken to the Fatwa Committee of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam which is the umbrella body of all the Islamic groups in the country for its input andauthorization, which it endorsed and consequently WRAPA gets the nod to distribute them to the selected mosques across the seven states of the north west region comprising of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto and Zamfara states for deliverance during Friday prayers intermittently since last year.
Therefore, overwhelmed by the success of the model Khutbah method, WRAPA moved further steps in order to make the project a huge success, through the adoption of advocacy visitation and consultation to different groups and individuals including government officials asanother effective means of sending its messages across.
This consultations and visitation to some stakeholders with a view to sensitizing and creating awareness on the dangers inherent withdenying women there rights and privileges as enshrined in the divine revelations and/or relegating them to the background.
The idea behind the visitation according to the Secretary General of WRAPA, Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi, was to sensitize members of the public on the need to realize that addressing societal problems is a collective responsibility of all and sundry.
Already, WRAPA Focal persons in the aforementioned states have gone far in the visitations which had taken them to the Government Houses, States Assemblies, Emir’s and other traditional rulers, members of the Ulama’s, various associations, trade unions, conventional and Islamiyya Schools, opinion and community leaders, market women and many other groups both formal and non formal artisans among others.
WRAPA by so doing is creating massive awareness and bringing to the fore the attention of all concern in the society on the need to bring to a halt the much discrimination meted out against women and children particularly as it affect family and institution of marriage.
Indeed, by embarking on institutional consultations, WRAPA had now reawakened the consciousness of the government, the ulamas, the parents and all stakeholders in the project of salvaging the society from the bondage.
It is an undisputable fact that, if members of the society live up to their responsibilities and the society treat women with justice and equity, our country will be at peace and there will be prosperity and development.
– Azare writes from Bayero University Kano.
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