By Udo Akam-Alo, ABAKALIKI
Member representing Abakaliki North Constituency in Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon (Mrs) Franca Okpo, is waging war against gender inequality and in particular molestation of women and girl children.
Hon. Okpo, who doubles as the chairman, committee on Women Affairs, noted that the fight for justice is ongoing through the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law, which seeks to take its cause on any offender at any point in time.
Speaking to Prompt News in Abakaliki, the Lawmaker decried the rate of man’s inhumanity to man, especially as it concerns husband and wife, describing such act as unjustified.
Hon Okpo. however, called on women not to abuse their state of womanhood, knowing that every woman is supposed to play that submissive role of which they are known for, saying “VAPP law covers all violence that might either come in the side of the men or women; violent against persons; because the person can be anybody. Most of the molestations come to the women and children. So part of the VAPP Law specified the number of years a person will go to correction centre.
“We did not make the law for life imprisonment, what we said is that the person will pay a fine of #500, 000 or serve a specific period of years in the jail or in the correction centre, or both but based on the increase, personally as a Mother, I am of the view that that section of the law may be changed because if you know that if you commit such a crime instead of you being murdered, you have the whole of your life to spend in the correction centre, you may draw back. So, for me personally, I feel that that section of the law may be amended so that the punishment will increase.
“Judiciously, it is not right for a human being to be molesting fellow human being unjustifiably – a husband beating the wife like a football is unfair but we are praying for such situation to mellow down so that everybody will enjoy the life God gave us.
“If you are a wife, know your duty, play your responsibility irrespective of your outside environment; play your role very well so that even if you are being molested, you know that you are right: do the right thing at the right time so that whoever that is panel beating will know that he is panel beating you unjustifiably and nature and the society will bear you witness.
“Don’t say because of this or that, you are above being a house wife. Wives are meant to be under their husbands. The Bible said one plus one is one. So, do your duty, respect your husband and allow nature take its shape.”
Commending the effort of Governor Umahi towards his gender balance appointments where women are given rooms for political participation, she made further agitations for more recognition of women in power and recruitment of more persons, mostly in the State House, where only 3 female members are representatives.
“Presently, our dear Governor is trying for the women; if you look at the appointments he made, if you look at the local government positions, the vice chairman, almost all of them are women.
“In elective positions, we are still lagging seriously behind – out of the 24 members of the House of Assembly, we are only 3 and we are minority; no matter how high our voices might ring. You can only hear our voice with a serious lobbying and serious movement. We are still agitating, at least 5% to reach in all levels of government.
“Any field you find women, compare them and tell yourself the truth, they are trying.” Hon Okpo hailed.