The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) Women In Politics Forum, Women Radio 91.7 FM (WFM) and other women focused organizations have demanded for justice, calling on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to immediately conduct investigation into all cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV), particularly the attack and burning to death of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) Women Leader in Kogi state Ms. Acheju Salome Abuh by political thugs on Monday.
Chief Executive Officer of the NWTF Mufiliat Fijabi made the demand in Abuja while briefing the media on the aftermath of the Kogi elections, describing the incident as a calculated attempt to intimidate and silence the voices of Nigeria women.
Recall that the female politician, Mrs. Abuh was attacked few hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Yahaya Bello as winner of last Saturday’s Kogi governorship election.
The thugs believed to be loyalists of the All Progressives Congress(APC) had invaded the abode of the victim Monday evening in Ochadamu, Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State and after barricading all exit route set the house on fire with the victim right inside.
Fijabi lamented that despite the increase in women’s participation in electoral process, women in all the 36 states in Nigeria have continued to experience intimidation, violence, arson, harrasement, without any intervention from the relevant authorities to put an end to this.
“These kinds of incidents are not only a threat to the stability of the electoral process and threat to inclusive democracy, but also affect women’s participation in the discourse of development ,” she said
She said everyone has the right to live, choice and as equal citizens of Nigeria, ‘women’s choices should not be a premises for violations of their rights.
“No amount of intimidation, harrasement, violence or abuse will scare Nigeria women away from politics, she called on all relevant authorities to immediately take actions to ensure justice for the victims.
“We hereby join the rising demand for justice by calling on the Inspector General of Police to conduct an immediate investigation into all these cases of gender based violence and in particular the attack on particular women, the most recent being the burning to death of Ms. Acheju Salome
Abuh in Kogi State.
“This is a threat to inclusive democracy in Nigeria. We call on all relevant authorities to take action to bring all perpetrators to book immediately. An injury to one woman is an injury to all women,” she decried.
Speaking also, the National President Women in Politics Forum (WIPF) Ebere Ifendu described the imcident as a “very sad experience”, questioning why this happened when the Police said 35,000 of its officers were deployed to kogi to ensure the election was peaceful.
Ifendu called on the IG to ensure the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of culprits within 48 hours or he should resign.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Women Radio, Mrs Toun Okewale-Sonaiya encouraged women to remain resolute despite the political intimidations they are facing.
Sonaiya who condemned all forms of Gender-Based violence, said any attempt to silence women will not be successful.
She appealed to journalists to continue to speak against all violence against women and criticize the authorities who ‘are not doing anything to address the issue.’