By Eunice Nnachi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has charged the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Nigeria to redouble their efforts at protecting and projecting the rights of women and children in the country.
Sen. Ewhrudjakpo gave the charge when the state chapter of FIDA led by its Chairperson, Barrister (Mrs) Deme Debrah Pamosoo, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
The Deputy Governor, in a statement issued by his media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, on Thursday, noted that though the activities of FIDA were laudable, the group still has a lot to do in protecting women’s rights at home, the workplace and society in general.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo said as female lawyers in the vanguard of justice for women and the girl-child, FIDA should do everything humanly possible to ensure that women get their rights in full in line with the principle of equity.
According to him, there are still a lot of repugnant cultural practices against women in society, which calls for sustained advocacy by all well-meaning organizations, including FIDA, to eliminate such demeaning practices.
The Deputy Governor pointed out that women suffer a lot of abuses ranging from sexual harassment, domestic violence to maternal assaults, which demand concerted efforts to stamp out from society..
He used the opportunity to also call on FIDA to counsel their junior colleagues to be patient in learning the ropes in the legal profession, noting that many young lawyers in contemporary times were too much in hurry to become expert professionals.
While commending FIDA for their achievements so far in the state, Senator Ewhrudjakpo assured the group that government would look into their requests within the remits of available resources.
His words: “You need to advocate for equity to enable women get the rights due them. The only way we get this is for us to rigorously advocate for women’s rights. Let them get their rights before we talk of ameliorating the pains they suffer.
“There are still a lot of repugnant cultural practices against women that entail a clear violation of rights of women. For example, in some communities here in our state, women are not allowed to be buried in the town, no matter how highly placed the deceased was in her life time.
“Another example, which amounts to maternal assault is a situation where some institutions do not allow nursing mothers to bring their little babies to work because they don’t want to hear the baby cry in the office.
“I also want you to really talk to our younger ones in the profession. Some of them are too much in a hurry to become professionals, but they are not ready to patiently learn under their more experienced senior colleagues in the legal profession.”
Speaking earlier, the Chairperson of FIDA, Bayelsa State, Barrister (Mrs.) Deme Debrah Pamosoo, said FIDA had been in the vanguard of championing the protection of the rights of women and the girl-child and handled several rape, defilement and abduction cases.
She appealed to the State Government to assist the FIDA with an official bus to enhance their operations, and logistics support to enable the body participate in the 2022 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Conference in Lagos.
Barrister Pamosoo also informed the Deputy Governor of FIDA’s intention to carry out an enlightenment campaign in some rural communities in the state later this year.