BY BERNARD TOLANI DADA, Uyo
Wife of Akwa Ibom State governor, Dr. Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, has called for stronger legislation against gender-based violence in the country.
Mrs Emmanuel made the call yesterday at the grand finale celebration marking the 2021 International Women’s Day held at the Ibom Hall Grounds in Uyo.
She said that stiffer legislation will play an important role in the fight against gender based violence and the empowerment of women, noting that the domestication of Violence Against Persons Prohibition
(VAPP) law in the state has helped to reduce the spate of violence against women in the state.
Mrs. Emmanuel noted that Akwa Ibom State had made considerable progress in empowering women and girls through legislations such as the Child Rights Act which has reduced gender gap in school enrollment, Widows’ Protection Act, which criminalises obnoxious traditional practices against widows, adding that a lot more needs to be done to give women equality.
“I thank and commend my dear husband and leader, His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel for believing in women and for graciously giving women opportunities in his administration, but like Oliver Twist, we would keep asking for more opportunities,” she said.
While calling on women to shun divisive tendencies which are capable
of truncating the efforts so far gained, the wife of the governor said she would continue to amplify their voices.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, “Women in Leadership:
Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World,” the governor’s wife averred that international women’s day seeks to celebrate the tremendous efforts of women and girls around the world who are shaping
a more equal future.
“Today, there is more acceptance than ever before that women bring different experiences, perspectives and skills to the table, and make
irreplaceable contributions to decisions, policies and laws that work
better for all.
“This is why we must make good use of this year’s theme to advocate on the importance of advancing women’s leadership and participation in
decision-making,” Mrs Emmanuel added.
Also speaking, Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, who was represented by his chief of staff, said that women’s equality was not about women fighting men but it was about providing equal opportunities for both women and men in the society.
Wishing Akwa Ibom women a happy celebration, he added that while women have risen to positions of authority the world over, he was also glad to have given women opportunities to excel in his government.
The deputy governor of the state, Mr. Moses Ekpo, in his goodwill message, described women as the bastion of hope, stating that their contributions to humanity can never be downplayed.
In a keynote address, Prof. Dorathy Sam Umotan of the Law Department at the University of Uyo, while speaking on the 2021 theme, said women must change their mindset, embrace education to the fullest, support themselves and be creative if they have to achieve gender equality.