By Usman Shuaibu with agency report
The Delegation of European Union (EU) to Nigeria and ECOWAS has advocated for equal opportunities for all persons so as to bridge the gender inequality gap in Nigeria.
The Ambassador of European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, made the call in Abuja last week after watching a stage play, August Meeting, as part of activities marking the 2020 International Women’s Day.
Mr Karlsen said August Meeting sends a strong message to the women of Nigeria and across the world on the importance of fighting for the rights of the women which aligns with the theme of this year’s celebration, “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights is aligned with UN Women’s new multigenerational campaign, Generation Equality,
Mr Karlsen said the objective of the theatre play was to strengthen the engagement in a manner that position them to overcome significant challenges that hinder women from actively participating in politics as well as reducing the incidence of gender based violence.
According to him, the EU was proud to see the display of August Meeting which is not only an amazing example of the creativity and the excellent art of Nigeria but also a strong message to the women of Nigeria and everywhere and the importance of fighting for the rights of women which fundamentally is human rights and which the Union has been involved in for many years.
“Today we are telling a story of what happened in 1929 and unfortunately now almost 100years these challenges are exactly present still. So making sure that we continue to fight for women everywhere, which aligns with this year’s theme “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights,” he said.
He stressed that the EU was working with all Institutions to see improvements. He said the EU has supported the opening of a national register against sexual offenders as well as sexual assault referral centres throughout the country.
In her remarks, UN Women Nigeria Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, said August Meeting was a confirmation of the resilience and strength of women of Nigeria.
She said the stage play provided the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the progress made towards full attainment of women’s rights, as well as to build momentum and support for further action.
“I think if there is any message that this play showed to us, it is the confirmation of the resilience and strength of women of Nigeria. We saw a situation where more than ninety years ago when women came together and challenged the system; and actually made some sacrifice. They made some loses but in the end they came out victorious,” Ms Lamptey said.
Produced by Raconteur Production, August Meeting is the powerful tale of the story of a group of women who sought social, economic and political redress and demanded political representation in 1929 South East Nigeria. Themes such as feminism, gender equality, women participation in politics are explored incorporating some of the traditional dances.
August Meeting tells the intriguing story of the colonial era Nigeria, when in 1929, a group of women, fearing that a head count of lives and property in the Eastern region by British administrators would lead to direct taxation, came together to put up a protest that was unprecedented in scope and remarkable in the success recorded.
The revolt, recorded in history as the Aba women’s riot, attracted women from at least six ethnic groups stretching along the Owerri and Calabar provinces as they marched to the town of Oloko, in present-day Abia to seek social, economic and political redress.
The production stars well-regarded actresses such as Gloria Anozie-Young who plays Nwanyereuwa, Bella Rose Okojie, Ijeoma Aniebo, Inna Erizia, Odera Orji and Deola Gimbiya.