By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Action aid Nigeria says the clamour and agitations by individuals and geo-cultural groups for the restructuring of Nigeria have excluded women, especially women in the grassroots level.
To this end, the organisation says it is collaborating with grassroots women from six different communities within the Federal Capital Territories (FCT) including Dakwa, Jiwa, Tunga-nasara, Kayache, Paspa and Pai to raise their consciousness on the role of women in restructuring the country.
Nkechi Ilochi-Omekedo, Women’s Rights Manager, Actionaid Nigeria, while addressing scores of women at the #WomenRisingNG17 rally held at Unity Fountain, Abuja with the theme; “Women rising from the state of the nation”, noted that it was time women are structured in the restructuring debate.
She stated: “what will do is conscientiousness, getting people to be aware of what is going on. Like what we are having today is women rising, where we know that the debate and restructuring of Nigeria has been going on and voices of women have not been included in that conversation and we said no,
“There is a need for us to look at women, especially women from the grassroots level to pick their voices, to be able to pick up their issues , we collaborate with women at community level, raising their consciousness on these issues to be able to speak their mind in their in their own language and that’s what we do.”
She added that over the years, Action Aid as an organisation have been engaging in pilot projects where it showcases that with little amount of money, specific services could be provided for people in hard to reach communities.
Ilochi-Omekedo noted; ”we have worked in over 200 communities and some of this communities we select them, we work with them in providing health centre, schools, water, we have communities that we have provided income generating machines like rice mill, cassava processing machine. As long as it is a community need and community identify such issues, we provide those services for them.”
Speaking at the rally, Hajara Abubakar, the leader of the women from Dakwa community, said the community is being faced with many challenges like lack of good road, portable water and light.
She stressed that, “The community as a whole now rely on stream water. We have no secondary school in our community. Our children have been knocked down several times by vehicles while crossing express way to school. We want government to provide electricity, road and a secondary school for us.”
Also, Adamu-Hamamatu, the leader of Tunga-nasara women also complained that her community lacks good road, portable water, adding that the members of the community always have to trek to Zuba before they can sell their farm produce.
She said that though the community has a solar powered borehole but the solar panel was stolen and the people had to rely on stream water for domestic use and drinking.
The women had several inscriptions written on their shirts like; “Gender equality is not a woman issue, it’s a human issue;” “Educating girls is the base of developed economies; the time is now,” “Restructuring women into the structure; gender equality and equal opportunities Bill will uphold women and girls reproductive rights,” “citizenship rights and ensures protection against harassment in education, employment and political domains.”