Tuesday, March 9, 2010

International Women’s Day: Nigerian Women Demand Equal Rights

A look at how Muslim "men" treat their wives.

International Women’s Day: Nigerian Women Demand Equal Rights

March 8, 2010 by Victor Ulasi

By: Victor Ulasi, Nigeria

Nigerian women have demanded equal rights and equal opportunity from their male counterparts, stating that they can no longer continue with the rate of disrespect and gender inequality being shown to them. They claim that women in Northern Nigeria are seen as second-class human beings.

During the International Women’s day in Kaduna state, Nigeria, groups of women made it known that as far as Nigeria is concerned, gender sensitivity, gender equality and equal right between the males and the females has never existed. The women further said that in Northern Nigeria women are seen as slaves and that they have no right to public affairs.

Mrs. Hamma Saadatiu, the Chairwoman of the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA),  said the method and rate of discrimination against women in Nigeria is unacceptable. Women in Northern Nigeria are not given the opportunity to go school, neither are they granted certain kinds of employment in society.

Mrs. Saadatiu goes on to say, “Women are been treated unfairly in Nigeria in their domestic home, as in Northern Nigeria men do not believe that women have the right to an inheritance or to have a say in the family. Eventually if a woman’s husband dies, his family members end up taking away all the proper possessions from the woman and allowing her to go with just a dress or two, just because she is now a widow. It is a very sad development as the men in Northern Nigeria are gross abusers of women.”

While speaking on gender inequality and mortal mortality, Mrs. Saadatiu made it known that today, the husbands in northern Nigeria do not allow their wives to go to hospital to take care of their health. This is because the husbands forbids their wives to go out of the house and when the women speak up their husbands beat them until they become unconscious. These particular issues increase the rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria.

My research shows that married men in Northern Nigeria divorces their wives at will when they visits the hospital and are checked by male doctors. In Northern Nigeria, men considers it anti-Islam or a taboo for their wives to be checked by a male doctors, even at the risk of death.

I have also learned that in Northern Nigeria, women are not given the opportunity to go to school, since society considers it a waste of time and investment in sending a woman to school. They feel that women are meant to get married and leave the home.

Mr. Danladi Umar, a father who made it known that women’s affairs are secondary issues in his house, said “women’s education is good but it is not a primary issue in any home. Women are products for sale and sooner or later they will be sold off to an unknown destination and only a fool will waste his time decorating a product that is made to be sold. So, there is no point in wasting so much time and resources investing in someone that will end up bearing another man’s name and will not keep the legacy of the family. Women’s education is a secondary issue as long as I am concerned.”

Hafsat Muhammad Baba, a Nigerian woman, said that she thinks it will take up to 10 to 20 years before the gender discrimination in Nigeria would become history. She believes that the men in Nigeria are not yet ready to accord the women with the proper right and respect they deserve, since they see women in Nigeria as second class beings.