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Police Act that discriminates should be amended – Umeh

*Decries economic violence against female athletes

*Refuse to be oppressed in your country – Nwagu

By Olajide Fashikun

Three sections of the existing Police Act discriminates against women in Nigeria deserves to be changed because it contravenes the provisions of the 1999 Constitutions. Together we can fight the malaise in the system.

Barrister K. C. Umeh, a senior State Counsel at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja in a seminar organised by the Proactive Gender Initiatives, supported by the Ford Foundation, with a theme, “we guard civil rights jealously” held at the Chelsea Hotel in Abuja on Thursday.

“Most of the women sign up to the Police don’t know the existence of these rules before they joined the force. This does not make it right to keep quiet about the inappropriateness of the wrongs,” she advocated.

According to the legal practitioner, “women face abuses, rape, work related assault, domestic violence etc which are often tolerated by the society. Most of the time, women and youths hardly can pursue their rights especially in the law court given the cost and speed of justice.”

The three provisions she listed include section 55 of the penal code which allows a woman to be beaten but without bodily harm. This is an affront to women

A revolutionary, at the event, Ezenwa Nwagu said, “women problem is not a national problem. Poverty for instance, is not a national problem. It is a personal problem. People should learn to protect their own rights. Oppressors are not nice persons but always wants you to vote but not to be voted for. This is where women and other vulnerable groups took their agitations from. This is the case with women rights.”

Ezenwa Nwagu…delivering a new phase of knowledge

“Some years back, you must own properties to vote as a woman. Talent and capacity should be the only line to distinct any person. Rights as they are need to be determined by oppressors. For every freedom enjoyed, they must be fought for.

Professions are elitist and conservative. The teaching, practice and miens are taught and done by mores and laws. Going the other way makes you a radical. Did the women not fight the tax law in 1929 in Aba? Where were the men then?

In every society, there must be preparation which is knowledge based. You can’t be a Muslim without knowing the Qoran. Every citizen must know the Constitution about our relationships. We must know about the country, its cultures, its people. You must travel.”

“You cannot agitate as an individual. A bee can be killed with a broom but a swarm of bees will send a community away. This is about networking. Consult with people. Allow people to tinker with you vision. Build platforms that are conscientious, committed and principled.”

Peaceful protest and demonstration are rights unlike riots which is a violent protest by a people against a system. One yields results but the other does not. African National Congress (ANC) started with passive resistance. They founded the organization in 1912. They youth wing in 1945 led by Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki etc went violent with the armed struggle leading to the deployment of Mkhonto we Sizwe in the 1960s. It forced the world to the round table. Circumstances determine what reaction a society gets.

Mrs Kenechi Umeh, Barrister Esther Uzoma…at the event

Making the law fetish makes thing legal acceptable but may not be right. We must create capacity to challenge laws that reduces the human dignity and the human person. In some societies, women cannot drive. Challenge any that is not right in your own small space.

Alhaja Gambo Sawaba led protests to fight for women rights. Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti did. Is it illegal that women can’t be President of Nigeria. We must push. Men are intimidated by brilliance and capacity. The quality of your citizenship is your right and you must protect and hold it.”

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