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How economic violence in Nigeria enslaves women – NLC President

...decries harassment against women in workplaces

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Saturday bemoaned the harassment of women in the workplace, saying it was suicidal for Nigeria’s development.

It argued that such economic violence makes women and girls remain economically dependent on men by preventing them from gainful employment.

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NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, stated these at Labour House, Abuja during the public presentation of a Gender-Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) participatory research report.

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Wabba maintained that the ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 by the Federal Government, was the only solution to eradicate such inhumane treatment.

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The labour leader said: “The perversity of gender-based violence is that it is mostly an attack against one of the most vulnerable segments of our population — women. Gender-based violence and harassment thus disproportionately affect women and girls.

“For a country that already suffers from a huge gap between opportunities for males and females, it would be developmentally suicidal to allow gender-based violence steal the few available opportunities for our women to thrive and contribute to the development of society.”

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According to him, organised labour understands the challenges of institutionalising gender rights in the country including the right to freedom from gender-based violence given a domineering culture of patriarchy in Nigerian society.

The NLC boss urged Nigerians to continue to promote the importance of a work culture based on mutual respect and the dignity of the human being as a first-line defence and precaution against violence and harassment.

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He added, ”It also very important to emphasise economic violence which makes women and girls remain economically dependent on men by preventing them from gainful employment and if they are working, forcing them to hand over their earnings to the men and most times the men dictate the type of work to be done by women, and also control the income as well as resources owned by women.

”This is the reason we must all join hands to eliminate poverty in our country, including working poverty. This is the reason we must promote social and industrial instruments such as the national minimum wage which seeks to emplace a minimal buffer against poverty.”

On her part, the Chairperson of NLC National Women Commission, Hajiya Salamatu Aliyu, described as worrisome, Nigeria’s refusal to ratify ILO C190, saying GBVH was adequately covered in international labour standards and treaties.

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She listed Argentina, Ecuador, Fiji, Namibia, Somalia, Uruguay and Mauritius as seven countries that have ratified ILO C190.

She said, ”The report being launched today is a milestone achievement in our struggle towards promoting the right of every person to work based on dignity and respect free from any form of violence and harassment.”

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