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From: AIDOGHIE PAULINUS, Abuja
The Nigeria office of the European Union (EU) has joined the international campaign to end violence against women and girls, particularly, in Nigeria.
The organisation has also maintained silence over the level of involvement of women in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In order to demonstrate the EU’s involvement in the campaign, a delegation of the EU to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), held a road show tagged ‘End Violence Against Women and Girls,’ in Abuja, to express its solidarity with the rest of the world.
The Head of the delegation of the EU to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, while speaking with Daily Sun, said it was not in his character as head of the EU delegation or as a diplomat to assess President Muhammadu Buhari on the level of involvement of women in his administration.
Asked if the EU was impressed with the level of involvement of women in the administration of President Buhari, the EU envoy said: “It is not for a member of the European Union or a diplomat to decide on the composition of the government.”
The EU, however, asked politicians and political office holders to make violence against women a priority in the country.
Karlsen said: “So, this is the message that we are sending today. All members of staff of the EU are dressed up in orange, together with member states . We are marching to show our solidarity with all the women and girls in Nigeria and across the world that suffer from violence and say this must come to and end; to say to politicians, to people holding public offices, please make this a priority, make sure that the justice chain is geared to end impunity in these cases, make sure that education is available for girls, and make sure that jobs and opportunities are available for all the women and girls that they serve a better future.”
Karlsen further said the call by the EU, like in other climes, was the importance of having an end to violence against women and girls as a key priority in all of the EU’s policies.
He added: “That this should guide our work across the board so that when we look at different sectors, we should be clear that there is a cross-cutting issue on women’s rights, that they are well taken care of.”
Karlsen also said the EU, together with the embassies of members of the EU, were by the road show saying clearly that the EU joined the campaign to end violence against women and girls.
Karlsen stated that the EU was by the demonstration, showing that the EU was stepping up to the challenge, looking towards within itself.
He added that the EU recognised that if it did not look inward, if the EU did not have the freedom to express the very important message within the EU families and work (the EU), it would not be able to efficiently promote the message outside.
Karlsen noted that like Europe, there were also challenges in the country, saying that neglecting that would be a foul play.
On it efforts in improving the lots of women and girls in Nigeria, Karlsen said it would take a huge task to reel out the examples.
He added that issues relating to women and girls were fundamentally part of every engagement by the EU in the country, most importantly, in the 512 million euros programmes the EU is executing across the country.
Karlsen said: “This is fundamentally part of everything that we do. In our promotion of fundamental human rights of course, in our support to the key institutions, in the support for girls’ education, we are currently launching additional support for girls in the northeast as a very key way of recovering from conflict.
“For looking ahead, we are supporting Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) throughout the country, we are supporting opportunities for having better jobs and access to livelihoods for women throughout the country.
“So, there is not a single programme of the 512 million euros programmes that we are supporting in Nigeria that does not in one way or the other, cater for women’s rights,” Karlsen declared.