Imo NAWOJ Holds Town Hall Meeting, Brainstorm On Newly Passed Bill On Property Rights For Women, Girls

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Nneoma Ahukanna and Ezinne Ude

Over 30 women groups and Civil society organizations CSOs gathered in a town hall meeting organized by Imo chapter of Nigeria Association of women Journalists NAWOJ in collaboration with Imo state House of Assembly to brainstorm on the recent passed Bill on right of women to inherit property.

The event which was held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ Secretariat, was in view of the 2023 international women’s day celebration coming up on March 8.

Speaking, the Lawmaker representing Oru West Constituency in Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Dominic Ezerioha said that the sponsoring of Bill for the right of the women and girls to inherit the property of their late parents was part of the constitutional provisions of equal rights between man and woman, ensuring the rule of law, ending Intimidation of the woman and encouragement to the pride of the woman.
He however regretted that the disadvantageous part of the Bill will be that the men will start killing the women one after the other.
He went on to expantiate the intent of the Bill adding that since both female and male are classified as children under the Bill, what should be given to a man should also be given to a woman and described it as equality before the law.
Hon Ezerioha said where a woman commits a murder, as in section 238 that talks about manslaughter and section 239 of the constitution that talks about murder, the woman goes to the same jail,as a man that commits murder.
He wondered why a woman should be deprived of the thing that is supposed to come to her simply because she is a woman.

The Imo NAWOJ chairman , Dr. Mrs Dorothy Nnaji addressing the participants representing different organizations like Human Rights Commission , Caritas international, Catholic Women Organization of Holy cross and Assumpta Cathedral, Daawah Foundation and Orphanage, Anglican Women Guild, National Council of women society NCWS, Virgin Heart Foundation, Honourbirth foundation, Women in Labour (NLC), Nigerian Bar Association women forum, Association of Nigerian female students among others, noted that the recent development was a very welcome one for the female child.

Dr. Mrs Nnaji informed that the programme was organized as a town hall meeting of heads of different groups who would get the information across to the women and target audience, as she expressed satisfaction with the Violence Against Persons Prohibition VAPP law, and the right to females to inherit property which would enable parents with only female children to heave sigh of relief that their daughters will be taken care of after their demise.

In his remarks, the NIgeria Union of Journalists Imo state chapter Chairman, Comrade Ifeanyi Nwanguma applauded the state House of Assembly particularly the sponsor of the bill, Hon. Dominic Ezerioha , Oru west Lawmaker for enacting the new bill and urged that the women groups use to programme to reflect on political, economic and social equality among others issues.

Earlier the Clerk of Imo State House of Assembly Bar. Mrs Chinelo Emeghara , outlined the functions of the legislature noting that an avalanche of laws for protection of women and children had been enacted and listed some of them like the Widowhood protection law 2012, child rights law of 2016, Gender equal opportunity law 2007, Female genital mutilation Prohibition law number 6 of 2017. Others by the 9th House included Imo VAPP law 2021, Gunshot compulsory treatment law of 2022, and the recent law permitting girl child right to inherit which awaited the Governor’s assent.

Also , Lady Ijeoma Udensi, former NCWS Imo chapter , Chairman, and presently the National Coordinator research, NCWS, in her speech expounded the benefits of the VAPP law and the need for NAWOJ and other women groups to start advocating for budgetary allowance for the law, in addition to demand for more family courts , and lawyers trained in the VAPP law ,need for the Sexual Assault Referral Centre SARC, to become functional, and need for rapid response crack team to handle Sexual and gender violence cases.
Udensi harped on the importance of enlightening the public, women , children in the urban and rural areas especially on the provisions , benefits and penalties for offenders in the VAPP law.
She hammered on the need for NAWOJ to be the vehicle to popularize the VAPP law, educate the public on their gender rights, teach it through Civic education to school children, empower women and children to break the culture of silence on issues of sexual and gender based violence , particularly in the rural areas.
The town hall meeting featured interactive, question and answer session.

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