The Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Development Centre, Emen Okon, has commended the governor of Rivers State, Barr. Nyesom Wike, for being sensitive to women issues.
The executive director commended him at a one-day strategy advocacy meeting with government stakeholders on Gender Sensitive Implementation on Covid-19 Palliatives in Port-Harcourt.
Okon said that apart from the COVID-19 pandemic where the governor considered women in some of the committees, he had earlier considered a woman for the position of the Deputy Governor and women for Vice Chairmanship position in all local government councils in the state and appointment of women as Permanent Secretaries among others.
She appealed to the governor to sponsor a legislation on special nomination of women as Vice Chairmen of Councils so that governors coming after him would not destroy the good foundation he has laid which makes him gender-friendly governor.
She commended the governor on the palliatives but however blamed those who shared the items as for not showing equal sensitivity to the plight of the people especially during the lockdown.
Explaining further on gender sensitive implementation on COVID-19 palliatives, the human rights activist maintained that there were many lessons to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic especially on the impact of COVID-19 on women, children, those who are pregnant and the physically challenged in the society and what can be done in case of any emergency situation.
“The COVID-19 has brought untold hardship on the people especially women who pass through mental stress, economic distress and the issue of sexual abuse and domestic violence was on the increase during the time under review,” she said.
Answering questions from journalists on challenges and way forward on the post COVID-19 experience, she stated that during the COVID-19, nursing mothers who were in a very precarious situation were not considered specially during the lockdown, hence the review of the programme so that the government and civil society organizations can share experience and do more.
The Executive Director further tasked government to include in the State policy on the pandemic on how to share the palliatives without spreading further conflict, noting that that there was the need to increase information dissemination on key issues at the grassroots and said CSO and the media should campaign more to stop community transmission, while suggesting that more medical doctors and personnel should be trained.
Other participants tasked government at all levels to provide potable drinking water in the rural communities to help stop the spread of the pandemic, as women need more water for cooking, washing of clothes and keeping the house clean at all times.
Civil society organizations and the media promised to propagate the government directive on the pandemic as Bonny Local Government is still under lockdown.