Women’s Groups Demand End to GBV, Child Marriage, Others in Anambra

By Ikeugonna Eleke

A coalition of women’s groups in Anambra State under the aegis of Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN), has called for an end to female genital mutilation, child marriage and others.

The group called for constitutional review to accommodate the rights of women in Nigeria and end all discriminatory practices.

GECORN made the call during a peaceful awareness walk, along the Enugu/Onitsha Expressway in Awka, and other strategic locations. Members of the group displayed placards with different inscriptions, calling for full implementation of various Acts and Laws that ruled out discrimination against women in Anambra State and other parts of the country.

The Chairperson of the coalition, Professor Ogugua Ikpeze, who addressed members of the public, said their advocacy campaign supported by Ford Foundation, was apt, given that the language of the 1999 Constitution was masculine, discriminatory against women, as well as disregarded the existence of women.

‘Sections 22, 42, 146 and others in the constitution should be amended for gender balance, women friendly and explicitly define the rights of women for easy interpretation and implementations.

‘This road walk is an advocacy campaign to sensitise the public, especially the constitutional reviewers, on the need for rights of women to be properly accommodated in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The constitution is Supreme. Therefore, it should be amended in a way that any culture, custom and practices repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience should be removed,’ she noted.

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. She further identified harmful widowhood practices, child marriage, rape and inheritance problems, as among the discriminations against women in Anambra and other South Eastern states.