The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Samuela Isopi, said on Tuesday that ‘women’s rights are human rights’ and it should be defended.
Isopi said this in Abuja at a musical stage performance called ‘OMG the Musical’. The musical play was in commemoration of the 2022 International Women’s Day celebration.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the international women’s day celebration had the theme: “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”.
The envoy appreciated all who supported the women’s day celebration.
She added that women’s rights are human rights, defending human rights and then women’s rights should be a priority for all countries and for all of us.
“We women are making progress from where we were decades ago. But despite that progress gender inequality and violations of women’s rights remain real and tangible and continue to hold us back.
“They deprive us of our basic rights and opportunities, they deprive our countries, our societies of opportunities, this is true in Nigeria and across the world.
“The unfortunate fate suffered by the Gender Bills in the ongoing amendment of Nigeria’s Constitution is particularly worrisome and reminds us of the enormous challenges we continue to face.
“Our journey remains long and difficult, today, we all stand in solidarity with Nigerian Women, but this is not an evening of long speeches.
“Having gone through the exhibition showcasing some of the EU programmes focussing on women’s rights, I am sure you are already well informed about our strong commitment to gender equality and to women’s empowerment,” she said.
Isopi stated that “this evening our thoughts are also with our sisters that are facing war, destruction and suffering in Ukraine, and elsewhere in the world and I hope this play will renew our determination to act”.
Ms Comfort Lamptey, the Representative of United Nations Women to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that the EU was a strong supporter of the Nigerian women and women equality.
“We can always count on the EU on the international women’s day to show us the brilliance of Nigerian women in the creative industry so we thank you for this evening.
“Today is a day we can also see the power of Nigerian women in display, after listening to message after message round the day which echoed the view point that enough is enough.
“Also, that it is time for Nigerian women to agitate a strategy in the fight and push to get more women involved in decision making in government.
“This year’s theme is: Gender Equality Today for sustainable tomorrow and at the part of that is the climate change agenda, and in celebrating women who have been even in this field in full action especially young women.
“So it’s a great pleasure to celebrate women and to show their brilliance in the creative arts, to create a more gender equal world and also to address the two critical crises of our time which are gender inequality and the climate crises,” she said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, lauded the EU delegation for setting a pace in supporting the Nigerian women, expressing happiness for having the first female EU Ambassador to Nigeria.
According to her, this evening is simply awesome and since Friday the EU Ambassador has been showcasing how gender sensitive the EU bloc is in supporting women.
“This morning at the National Assembly you really gave our women hope and strength and also you encourage them and stood in solidarity with all Nigerian womenn; we thank you for that,” she said.
NAN reports that the OMG Musical is produced and directed by Ayo Ajayi.
OMG is a play about gender inequality woven around the story of Gafuma, a competent woman that works in a paramilitary organisation, called the OMG.
Like many other women, Gafuma is qualified and eager to become Commandant-General of the OMG! But Gafuma ends up being ignored and a man without qualification is appointed Commandant-General.
In this musical play, the gender inequality and underrepresentation of women in leadership positions are closely linked.