Mrs Asabe Bashir, the Director-General, National Council for Women Development (NCWD) on Saturday extolled the virtues of Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi as she turns 60 years.
She spoke at an event held in Abuja, which was organised by Obi’s colleagues and friends as well as gender activists.
In her goodwill message, Bashir described the celebrant as a defender of the rights of the less privileged who should be emulated by all.
While wishing her long life and prosperity, Bashir said “Nigerian women celebrate her because she has touched lives across Nigeria and even outside Nigeria”.
“This is a woman that the whole women of the world should celebrate.
“She is celebrated globally as a pillar to womenfolk and I am so proud of her.
” Speaking on the role of NCWD, the director-general said that the centre was a rallying point for Nigerian women.
“The centre is a rallying point for women and we are at the forefront of advocating efforts at tackling violence against women.
“We tell such women to always speak up, report cases of violence.
If they do not report, we will not know what is happening to them.
“We are there to help Nigerian women that have been violated and we urge them to always speak up and come to the centre,” she said.
Mr Otive Igbuzor, the Chief of Staff to Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege described Obi as a wonderful personality.
“She is a very compassionate person who gives a lot of support to people, especially the weak and the vulnerable and she is so commited to a better society.
“That is why she found a good home in ActionAid, an organisation dedicated to eradicating poverty and injustice.
“Her proficiency in fighting for justice, equity and for the poor is exemplary.
” Igbuzor, who is also a former Country Director of ActionAid and Executive Director African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development decried marginalisation of women in Nigeria.
“Historically, women have been marginalised not only in Nigeria but across the world.
“We will continue to struggle for a better society, for better condition for women and for better condition for the poor,” he said.
One of the friends of the celebrant, Mrs Moji Makanjuola, the Chief Executive of International Society of Media and Public Health, wished her many more years of active service.
She said, “Mrs Ene Obi resonates with the aspiration of women across board.
” “I wish her more strength, good health and more wisdom as she continues to navigate this space that we are yet to cover.
” On rising cases of violence against women, Makanjuola said, “it breaks my heart each time one gets to know that a woman is abused.
“Even these days, boys are being violated.
I think the media has a big role to play in this.
“Often times we focus on the victims, survivors, it is about time we focus on the perpetrators,” she said.
“If you find the perpetrator or you see something happening, say something.
“This is because it goes beyond the physical.
It often affects victims or survivors for life.
“So, we need to start speaking loudly to the perpetrators and thank God we have the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP).
” She called for the implementation of the VAPP Act so that perpetrators do not get away with any crime against women.
On the forthcoming 2023 general elections, Makanjuola said with the happening so far, it was obvious that women were undermined.
“Let’s support the man who will support us.
Support the party that supports women as an integral part of development.
“Support the presidential candidate that supports women as partners in progress.
“Until we do that deliberately, until we have rules and regulations things will not change because, the 35 per cent affirmative action for elective position is not being honoured.
” In her remarks, the celebrant, Mrs Ene Obi, expressed joy for the encomiums showered on her, saying she was challenged to do more.
She appealed to Nigerians to stand for the country, adding that with the right mindset, the country would take its pride of place.
She said, “this country is one of the greatest countries in the world and I believe it will be great again.
On the gender bills that were rejected by the National Assembly, Obi said that ActionAid was re-strategising.
“We want the politicians to look at the bills again and make it right.
“This is because women represent about 50 per cent of the population and they cannot be pushed aside as if they do not matter.
“It is so disturbing to know that there are some houses of assembly where there is no woman,” she said.
Obi further called for people with disability to be included in the helm in the country.
Mr Clement Agba, Minister of Budget and National Planning, has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to the promotion of women and girls’ rights.
Agba made the pledge on Tuesday at the official launch of the “Promote My Sister” campaign by UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Abuja.
The campaign is a call to action by the UNFPA aimed at protecting girls and women while supporting them to achieve their dreams and aspirations.
Agba said that Nigeria, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, would not relent in addressing the menace of Gender-Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation in the country.
Mr Mathias Schmale, UN Resident Coordinator, said that the UN was working to improve the lives of women and girls while aiming at empowering them.
Schmale called for commitment to a future where women and girls would be safe and live their lives to the fullest.
According to him, women need to occupy prime positions across the globe.
He commended Nigerian women whom he said were exceling around the world, citing the likes of Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
On her part, Ms Ulla Mueller, Country Representative, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), said that the essence of the campaign was for girls and women to protect each other.
Mueller, who expressed hope for brighter and better future for women and girls, said that women should be supported to make choices about their reproductive rights.
Meanwhile, Mrs Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, commended UNFPA for the launch, saying that it was apt and timely in view of the rising wave of Gender-based violence.
Tallen was represented by Dr Asabe Bashir, Director General National Centre for Women Development.
The minister called for an end to male preference in families and situations where girls were not encouraged to go to school.