Daily Champion (Lagos)

24 July 2008

Nigeria: African Leaders Condemn Violence Against Women

Abuja — AFRICAN leaders have condemned in totality violence against women, saying it is unreligious and against the law of natural justice.

The leaders also concluded to form a network across national border that would tackle issues, beliefs and traditions that infringe on the rights of women not only in Nigeria , but Africa as a whole.

Speaking on behalf of the traditional and religious leaders at the sub-regional conference organised by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sokoto, the Emir of Shonga, Dr. Haliru Yahaya maintained that both Islam and Christianity do not encourage violence of any form, stating that the act is not in conformity with the teachings and practices of the two major religions.

Haliru said it was high time African leaders rubbed minds and make aggressive moves against institutions or groups that promote gender based violence even as he noted that the task of giving women their rightful place in the Society required men and women, and government of every country in Africa .

He assured that the leaders would make it as a point of duty to reach out to the people on the resolution of the sub-regional conference that drew participants from 21 countries of Africa, including Nigeria and ensure proper implementation.

Haliru who said the leaders would make advocacy to government on the protection of women and their rights, urged traditional leaders to use their positions as custodians of customs, traditions and beliefs in making sure that women are given equal rights and treatments in terms of education, politics and other necessary empowerments that would uplift their lives.

Earlier, in his separate address, the representative of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Peter Caleb Meftweng called for a change of attitude amongst the traditional and religious leaders on the issue of gender violence, noting that most of the gender violence are perpetrated by the leaders.

He called for equal rights of both sex, adding that "women's right is not about human right, but it's about creation right."

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