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S/Africa’s Provincial Speaker proposes strong legislation to combat rape in Africa



Stop the violence against women

Speaker of the South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Legislature, Hon. Boyce Nontembeko, has advised African Parliamentarians to legislate strong laws for successful prosecution of rape cases in the court of law and convict suspects.

Thus is even as he noted that current legislations in many African countries make it practically impossible to establish a case of rape or secure justice for the victims.

Nontembeko, while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Friday, said the scourge of rape and other gender based violence would be tamed, only with strong legislations.

Illustrating with the Hate Crimes Bill of the South African Parliament, she said that strong legislations against rape could truly deter perpetrators.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Woman Parliamentarian had delivered a paper titled ‘The Challenge of Implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) During the Pandemic’, at the ongoing 51st Conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Africa region.

Recalling snippets from her paper, she lamented that, the COVID-19 pandemic had serious effect on the implementation of the SDGs.

“We must unite and enact laws that will work for our own people, especially, on the issue of gender.

“Rape is amongst those effects of the COVID-19 that might be implicit because it affects gender. When I spoke about Gender Based Violence, we are also including rape.

“That is why in South Africa, we have put forth the Hate Crimes Bill. The Bill does not only speak about rape, it also speaks about murder.

“So I think that, countries in the Commonwealth need to put stronger or more efforts on understanding that, for as long as we leave the issues that relate to sexual violence, there is no real hope for the development of Africa

“The harmony of Africa and the peace in Africa will not be achieved by silencing guns only, for as long as women and children are subjugated by their stronger allies which are men, there will be no real peace.

“So, speaking about rape, it must be a priority of Commonwealth to end Gender Based Violence and rape, and we have to also, within our own criminal justice laws, be explicit in how we determine the sanctions and strong punishment for rape.

“This should also include the domestic violence that is perpetrated against women and children in own country and other members of the Commonwealth,” Nontembeko added.

She also harped on mental health of Africans, adding that the drift of attention to COVID-19 had distracted everyone from mental health, reproductive health, malaria and other communicable diseases.

KwaZulu Natal, one of the nine provinces in the South African Parliament, has the largest representatives as lawmakers from the country in the 2021 conference of CPA holding in Nigeria. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

Afreximbank’s Kanayo Awani makes Nigeria Women Annual’s “100 Leading Women” list



Mrs. Kanayo Awani - Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative Division

The Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative Division, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, has been named among the 100 outstanding women leaders in Nigeria, according to the list published in the 2022 edition of Nigeria Women Annual: 100 Leading Women.

Mrs. Awani’s listing acknowledges her distinguished career and contributions to the development of society.

As Managing Director, Mrs. Awani currently leads the Bank’s efforts in implementing its intra-African trade and industrialisation strategies.

A statement by the bank said she successfully led Afreximbank’s engagement in support of the establishment and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and was the arrowhead for the introduction and organization of the biennial Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), which has delivered trade and investment deals valued at over US$70 billion.

She previously led Afreximbank’s Trade Finance and Branches Department from 2009 to 2016, growing it into the Bank’s most profitable department which accounted for over 80 percent of its loan book.

Mrs. Awani is also the Chairperson of the Africa Chapter of Factors Chain International (FCI), a global factoring association.

“The Nigeria Women Annual: 100 Leading Women” is the premier qualitative profiling of phenomenal women who have contributed to the development of Nigeria and the world.

A gender-specific biographical compendium, it responds to existing gender gaps in Nigeria’s biographical documentation and leadership and, in 2022, focused on the most inspirational and influential women whose work contributed to shaping Nigeria’s collective history during the year.

This year’s list includes technology experts, politicians, teachers, activists, development practitioners, C-Suite corporate leaders, and other notable women.

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Gender Bills: Women should not lose hope on their demands – Senate President



Senate President Ahmad Lawan


The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has advised women not to lose hope on their demands for legislations on gender related matters.

Lawan spoke in Agasa in Kogi State on Thursday against the backdrop of some gender related bills that recently failed to scale through at the National Assembly in the ongoing review being carried out on the 1999 Constitution.

Senate President  made a strong case for education of the girl child shortly before he commissioned a 600 capacity JAMB CBT Centre which was facilitated by Senator Yakubu Oseni who is representing Kogi Central Senatorial District.

“I know somebody will say gender bills have failed in the National Assembly. That is democracy. Let’s continue to lobby.

“We should continue to lobby because nobody will like to undermine anybody. Let’s not lose hope.

“Every male member in the National Assembly is a “He for She” because I don’t think there is anybody who is not married in the National Assembly.

“We will continue to work together with gender based organisations especially those that genuinely want to engage with members of the National Assembly because if you are not able to get something, if there is a failure, we should make it a political capital that tomorrow, we say, you were not able to do it yesterday, can you do it today. That will help us in ensuring that we get some of these hurdles out of the way.

“Most of us have our daughters as well. So we know that everybody is one way or the other connected to this struggle but we should not lose hope,” Lawan said.

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Gender Bills: Nigerian Women Continue Protest At NASS For Fifth Day



Nigerian Women protesting at the entry point of National Assembly Complex Abuja


Women under various groups on Thursday continued their protest at the National Assembly gate.

For the fifth day, the women gathered early morning at the National Assembly demanding that lawmakers rescind their decision over rejection of five gender bills in the process of amendment of 1999 constitution.

The protest by the women drawn from various groups started on Wednesday, March 2, and members of the House of Representatives in reaction to their demands, on Tuesday, March 8, rescinded their decision on three of the gender bills.

The women, however, continued the protest demanding the members of the Senate join their House of Representatives in re-visiting the bills.

They also want approval for all the five gender bills.

Among other demands, the women want specific seats in the National Assembly, indigeneship of their husband’s state after five years of being together, and 35% affirmative action for women.

They insist that they will continue to picket the gate of the National Assembly till all their demands are met.

They also threatened to vote out the lawmakers who voted against women in the constitutional review.

They demand that the voting pattern for those bills be released to them so they can mobilse women at all levels of government to vote out the lawmakers who they say took a stand against Nigerian women at the constitutional review.

The groups gathered for the protest include the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), Federation of Muslim Women Association (FOMWA), Women Organisation for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), Association of Women in the Arts (AWITA), Women In Business (WIMBIZ), Action Aid, Yiaga Africa, the Islamic Youth League, among others.

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