ECCAI was among stakeholders that participated in a 2-day consultation on the Inclusion of Women in Governance in Nigeria in general and Benue State in particular, organized by Nigeria League of Women Voters ( NILOWV) on 7th – 8th September 2023 in Makurdi.

At the workshop tagged ‘Stakeholders Consultation on Women Inclusion and Effective Response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)’ the Benue State Chairperson of NILOWV, Mrs. Irene Awuna-Ikyegh solicited for more women inclusion in governance in the state.

The workshop was organized by NILOWV with support from Palladium and USAID-SCALE.

Awuna-Ikyegh explained that only 9 women are in the entire Benue state cabinet membership of 54 ( comprising of Commissioners, Advisers, and Senior Special Assistants) which is 16.76% a far cry from the 35% as enshrined in the National Gender Policy.

She also mentioned that out of the 30 members of the Benue state 10th Assembly, only 2 are women.

She commended Palladium, USAID, and other partners on the SCALE projects in driving advocacy for a better effective response to SGBV.

Many stakeholders gave goodwill messages including BENGONET Chairman, Mr. Laz Mom, management official of Civil Society Organization of Benue, Mr. Onah Adeyi, Ms. Jemimah Yaji (PWD), State Commandant Nigeria Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Mrs. Gloria Bai, Perm secretary ministry of Justice and that of Health and official of UNHCR all commending the organizers for a timely and loudable project.

The Deputy Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Lami Danladi Ogenyi, gave an overwhelming message urging women to wake up and contest for leadership positions despite the opposition they may encounter, giving an insight into her political journey.

The meeting brought together many stakeholders including security, CSOs, traditional, religious, media MDAs, etc.

The stakeholders drew up a compendium of recommendations which were presented to the state Government, Hyacinth Alia to encourage the inclusion of women and those with disabilities in governance for a more robust representation and development in the state.

The Governor promised to look into the requests and gave assurance of timely feedback to promote women’s inclusion in his cabinet.