by OLUFEMI ADEOSUN

A group under the aegis of Nigerian Women’s Platform for Peaceful Election has thrown its weight behind the International Criminal Court, ICC’s resolve to prosecute anyone fingered in electoral violence.

This is even as the group, which is an offshoot of the Women’s Situation Room, also threatened to hold politicians accountable for any breach of peace during and after the election.

Women’s Situation Room is a wholly women organisation with membership drawn from Africa; it engages women in collaboration with youths and key stakeholders to actively support their call for peaceful elections.

Addressing journalists in Abuja yesterday, National Coordinator, WSR-Nigeria, Mrs. Joy Onyesoh, said the militarisation of the election by the security forces was capable of creating an atmosphere of intimidation to the electorate, especially the Nigerian women.

She said: “We welcome ICC’s statement that any person fingered in electoral violence will face the wrath of the law. With the multiplicity of security, forces including the military deployed to cover the elections, the question again arises as to who is in charge (is it INEC, the police or military?).

“For the women is important for them to know the command structure with regards to who is in charge and who to report to when there are problems. This will lead to confidence building in the process.”

Onyesoh noted that the group derived its mandate from the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which reaffirms the role of women in peace processes and peace building.

To participate in the election, she said an allwomen observer physical Situation Room had been created at the nation’s capital in Abuja to collate information from the over 300 all-women election monitoring team.

According to her, the key issues in the election for the group include security, inclusiveness and participation.

She insisted that beyond the peace accord signed by the candidates and the media messages, security should be provided at the polling units to prevent violence erupting.

Explaining the group’s proactiveness in this election, Onyesoh added, “Anytime violence erupts, women and children suffer most. The law enforcement agencies should, apart from providing security at the polling booths, deal with situations of breakdown of law and order promptly and prosecute offenders.”

Also, Yemisi Ransome- Kuti deplored the nation’s political space which not only limited women participation in politics, but also made women vulnerable in the advent of political violence.

She however counseled women to be actively involved in politics and be ready to slug it out with the men, no matter how highly placed.

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