Emerge Women, a civil society organisation, says the commendation of the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) is “endorsement of an illegality.”
The UN Women had commended the governor in a letter and demanded a visit to his office following the appointment of 21 female deputy chairpersons in the state.
However, Emerge Women, in a statement on Thursday described the commendation as “faulty, questionable and unfortunate”, while noting that the UN group did not condemn the killing of Salome Abuh, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) woman leader who was burnt alive at Ochadamu in the state during the 2019 elections.
The group queried why the UN Women was commending Bello when “there are many other human rights infringements on women in that state.”
It equally said “Under these curious circumstance, It will be difficult to see the UN Women in Nigeria as unbiased. To be clear, the Kogi Governor’s election took the life of a Woman- Mrs. Salome Acheju Abuh, a PDP Woman Leader who was burnt alive to death in her house after elections in Kogi State. Another woman in the person of Natasha Akpoti was viciously attacked and violated for seeking election as Governor of Kogi State,” it said.
“The Kogi Governor’s Commissioner raped a young woman in the presence of her 3- year-old son without the Governor reprimanding him. In fact he is still a commissioner in Kogi State! There are many other human rights infringements on women in that State which we cannot recount here. In all these, the UN Women office in Nigeria never issued a press release to condemn these sad events nor offered a statement seeking justice for the women.
“We believe the UN Women’s commendation is faulty, questionable and unfortunate given the atrocities committed against women under the watch of the incumbent Governor of Kogi State. So long as activists set the bar low, nothing substantive will be accomplished. We cannot say we stand for gender rights and then go out to praise those who brazenly and publicly violate the rights and lives of women.”
“This is one of the issues we have with the UN Women’s letter – we cannot be advocating for credible elections at the LG level and be simultaneously commending a governor who is stifling that process. For us, the act is illegal and therefore the UN Women’s letter is an endorsement of an illegality,” it said.