Mathews -Njoku canvasses support to stop violence against women

From Everest Ezihe, Owerri

Last Thursday the environmental serenity for which Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO  is known for seems to be temporarily threatened  as hundreds of young girls, boys and women happily marched from the Senate building round the University with vociferous voices singing, dancing, fluting and drumming emotional solidarity songs.

The 5 kilometers road walk which terminated at the University's Institute for Women, Gender and Development Studies, IWoGDS was piloted by Prof. Ednah Mathews -Njoku, the workaholics but ageless Director of the Institute as part of the sensitization and awareness programmes marking, Orange The World:  The 2023 International Day For Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, with the theme: Unite ! Invest To Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls # No Excuse.

One historical  surprising fact  observed about the well organized road walk in which involved mainly young girls of secondary schools age was the total solidarity  with their age mate male counterparts and mother's  as both were happily singing and dancing emotionally ridden solidarity and gospel songs while displaying placards.

Most of the placards boldly said, Join The Crusade To Eliminate Gender Based Violence, Stop Sexual Harassment of Girls, Ladies and Women, Real Men Don't Hit Women and Respect Girl's, Women They Are Human Too among other crusading issues against women.

At the IWoGDS  conference hall were the over 500 participants from various walks of life seated, it was like a town hall interactive meeting where the participants included rural and market women, academia, professionals, students and representatives of human rights organizations, community based organizations etc were matters concerning women, especially their education, rights, empowerment, entrepreneurship and recognition were on front burners of unprecedented but practical education discussions.

Addressing the participants, Prof. Ednah Mathews -Njoku applauded Prof. Nnennaya Oti, the University Vice Chancellor who was inadvertently absent for being a role model to women.

Mathews -Njoku said the essence of the day is to fundamentally create awareness of importance of women in families and nation buildings describing women as special beings that deserves global respects.

She cautioned against treating women as second class citizens just as she described violence against women as inhuman and barbaric.

The Lecturer also lamented against some obnoxious cultural practices that are inimical to womanhood such as female genital mutilations, preference of male gender to female among others and canvassed for their eradication.

13 year old Miss Nmasinachi Ihugba of FUTO Demonstration Secondary School described the programme as an eye opener and enjoined the sponsors on the need of making it a regular event.

Highlights of the day was the series of lectures advocating the need for women protections especially the girl child, jettisoning of all kinds of violence against women and the resolved for women to unite in pursuit of their rights.

There was group photographs and the people were sumptuously entertained.

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