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Omo-Agege, Minister, NGOs call for action on gender injustice, poverty

Christian Aid Nigeria logo

Christian Aid Nigeria logo

By Angela Atabo

Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege and the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen have called for action to address gender injustice and poverty in Nigeria.

They made the call at the Annual Justice Conference, which was organised by the Christian Aid Nigeria, to discuss about its global poverty report in Abuja.

The conference had as theme “Transformative Gender Justice as a Paradigm for Sustainable Development.”

Omo-Agege represented by Ms Mabel Demokun , Special Adviser International and Inter-Parliamentary Affairs, said that the topic was apt as it would serve to draw attention to the challenges of gender justice and help provide the necessary responses.

According to him, connecting gender equality with sustainable development is important for several reasons because it is moral and ethically imperative.

“There is no doubt that unequal distribution of power and unfair abuses of power between men and women are at the heart of poverty.

“The most pervasive inequalities in the world is that between women and men. Gender justice is, therefore, very important.

“The determinations to achieve a just and sustainable future could not ignore the rights, dignity and capabilities of half the world’s population.

“It is  critical to redress the disproportionate impact of economic, social and environmental actions on women and girls, which undermine the enjoyment of their human rights and their vital roles in sustaining their families and communities.

“Most significantly, it is important to build up women’s capabilities to create better synergies between gender equality and sustainable development outcomes.”

Omo-Agege  said that the need for gender justice was at the heart of his legislative commitment as he had worked over the years to build opportunities and dialogue on gender equality perspectives.

He said that gender justice was indispensable for development, poverty reduction and was crucial to achieving human progress.

He urged stakeholders to join hands together to deal with the obstacles that stood in the way of women with a view to bringing them on a level-playing spot with their male counterparts.

Tallen, who was represented by  Mrs Julie Akharia, Principal Community Development Officer in the ministry, said that justice was one of the critical factors required for social-economic development of any nation.

The minister said that justice demanded that the weak which included the vulnerable social groups such as children, women and girls were protected against every exploitative tendency.

“One of the best ways to achieve this is to enshrine the rule of law at all times.

“The theme “Transformative Gender Justice as a Paradigm for Sustainable Development” cannot be more apt than now as the Nation is gearing up for the election of new leaders.’’

Tallen said that her ministry believed strongly that gender jjustice would not be achieved without gender equality where women, girls and other vulnerable groups were given their rightful place to contribute to the development of Nigeria.

According to her, all critical stakeholders must resolve to have a Nigeria where every person is treated equally.

For the Country Director, Christian Aid International Nigeria, Mr Temitope Fashola, poverty was an injustice and an outrage against humanity, saying  that her organisation was in a hussy to end it.

“As Identified in our 2022 Poverty Report which was recently launched globally and we are presenting today, the causes of poverty are complex and there is no single route to ending it.

“While we have witnessed phenomenal progress in the fight against poverty in the 75 years of Christian Aid’s existence alongside our partners, there is still a lot to be done.

“We have also learnt lessons and our experience has confirmed at least two things: firstly, lasting solutions to poverty must be built on action to tackle imbalances of power and on the agency of people living in poverty.

“Secondly, success in the fight against poverty hinges on broad movements for change.”

Fashola said that key part of tackling gender injustice was seeking inclusion of gender equality and social inclusion transformative in all programmes.

He said that gender injustice and  reluctant exclusion were among the most prevalent forms of social inequality and injustice in Nigeria.

He said that it was no longer news that women and girls suffered the least access to opportunities that could enable them fulfill their potentials.

He added that to compound this ,women and girls were poorly represented in decision making circles,  noting that  issues faced by them were not duly prioritise by the male dominated political class and duty bearers.

Foshola hinted that the practice was likely to continue as those vital circles of decision  making have not had the life  experiences of the discrimination and barriers that women had to face.

He said that gender discrimination was deep-rooted and pervasive in cultural, religious norms and practices leading to gender inequality in both formal and informal decision-making  structures.

He said that gender injustice also manifested itself in the perpetration of violence against women and girls,reduced access to decision making processes ,unequal access to quality education ,increased prevalence of early marriage among others.

He said that transformative approach was therefore the way because it looked beyond women empowerment and participation to recognising  that women and girls were often the most marginalised due to power imbalance.

He said that the ultimate objective  was power shift in favour of women, girls and marginalised groups.

“This is hinged on our analytical framework of poverty ,reaching the most in need, discriminations and exclusions are at the root of poverty ,power, addressing social and cultural norms that keep the poor marginalized away from structures.

“Lastly ,prophetic voice ,speaking truth to power and building local and collective action for gender justices.”

Fashola said that Christian Aid therefore, was seeking to build a more enabling environment for social dialogue, consultation, engagement and accountability at all levels among citizens, civil society organisations(CSOs), national and local  traditional authorities.

According to him, this is  for the realisation of human rights of those who are socially excluded in line with key international human rights standards.(NAN)(nannews.ng)