The Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Prof. Joseph Albasu Kunini has advocated a fair deal for women, asserting that it is unfair to relegate them to the background, amidst the daunting challenges and discrimination they often face.
However, the Speaker equally advised women that rather than bewail their ordeal, they should take up the gauntlet by competing with their male counterparts in all fields of human endeavours, including politics, in order to break the age-long barrier and excel.
The Speaker said he had always been a strong advocate for gender equality and an opponent of discrimination against women in the society, stressing that such conviction prompted him to personally sponsor the domestication of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 tagged, the Taraba State Violence and Discrimination Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill, 2020.
Kunini made the assertions on Tuesday, while commenting on this year’s International Women’s Day with the theme, “Gender equality today for sustainable tomorrow for women, by women.”
He said, ‘there’s no gainsaying the fact that women who constitute more than half of the world’s population bear the brunt of gender inequality, bloody conflicts and discrimination because they are branded as weaker sex.
‘Thus, without their inclusion in the scheme of things, it is unlikely that solutions for sustainable planet and a gender equal world will be realised. In other words, without gender equality today, a sustainable and equal future will remain a mirage’.
He recalled that after the 1995 Beijing’s Conference, the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA) as a global agenda for ensuring the improvement of human rights for women and girls.
According to the Speaker, the BPFA set strategic objectives for the achievements of gender equality in critical areas of concern such as poverty, education and training, armed conflict and economy.
He then said: ‘It was against this background that I personally sponsored the domestication of the VAPP Act, 2015 tagged, the Taraba State Violence and Discrimination Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill, 2020 which has since been passed into law by the State House of Assembly and assented to by the Governor, Arch Darius Dickson Ishaku’.
The law seeks to prohibit all forms of violence and discrimination against persons, specifically women in the state.
‘I believe the major objective of the International Women’s Day is to help forge a gender equal world without bias, stereotypes and eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in the world.
‘Therefore, as the various women’s groups and civil society organisations come together to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, concerted efforts should be made to create awareness about the importance of gender equality and common action for level playing field for men and women; because it is all about dignity, equality, fairness and justice for the womenfolk’,
Meanwhile, officials of the National Council of Women’s Societies, Nigeria (NCWS), Taraba State Branch, have written to the Speaker seeking his approval to stage a protest to the State House of Assembly to register their displeasure against the recent rejection of the five women-related bills by the National Assembly.