13 February 2013

Nigeria: Ekweremadu Seeks Equal Opportunities for Women

The Deputy Senate President and Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has called for the removal of all cultural and corporate bottlenecks in the path of Nigerian women to allow them attain their potential.

He made this call Tuesday at a meeting to brief the diplomatic corps on the upcoming High Level Meeting of GlobalPower Women Network at the Foreign Ministry in Abuja.

Ekweremadu, however, noted that unnecessary advantages should not be created for women, rather all obstacles to gender equality should be removed.

"Our women have shown that given the right environment, they would compete favourably with the men. Already they are excelling in all sectors: education, health and the rest, " he added.

The Minister of State 1 for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, disclosed that the meeting which is scheduled for May in Abuja, is expected to review the level of implementation of international protocols and treaties that border on women issues.

She lamented that few African countries had domesticated international protocols which have led to a lack of adequate legal instruments to protect the rights of women.

"We plan to mobilise support from government and private sector to campaign for the domestication of these treaties," she said.

The Director General of National Action Committee on Aids (NACA), Prof. John Idoko, in his address disclosed that 60 percent of the three million Nigerians infected with HIV are women.

He noted that NACA is working with relevant stakeholders to reduce the rate of mother to child transmission of the virus as part of efforts to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates.

The GlobalPower Women Network Africa, a UNAIDS initiative is a network of African women who are elected and appointed representatives that are part of decision making. The network seeks to advance gender equality and women's empowerment. It also seeks to promote discussions of accelerated action for women development, empowerment, HIV/AIDS, violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa, focusing on the vulnerability of girls and young women.

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