“I am delighted to on behalf of Mba Okase Initiative welcome Our Royal Highnesses, Chiefs, Special Representative of our King, HRH Emere Emmanuel Tekara Akobe of Eteo and the representative of our Queen Mother, HRM Chief (Mrs.) Evelyn Ada Gokpa Owa Eh Aleto-Nchia Eleme 111, Hon Lady Felicia Onugwe Osaro, the Vice Chairperson of Eleme Local Government Area, Mrs Virtue Ekee who has been very supportive, the Speaker of the House, Hon Daniel Jima Chumu and all our guests to this Advocacy and Dialogue Meeting.
We appreciate your presence with us here today despite the short notice and busy schedules. You have by this, shown a high commitment and love for our community and the affairs of women here. This will go a long way in creating more peace, harmony and advancing development in Eleme.
Today’s meeting is a gathering for Mba Okase to highlight before you, some problems facing women as wives, sisters, mothers, aunts in our community so that necessary actions can be suggested and pursued after our deliberations.
These problems are:
1. Insecurity in our farmland where most of our mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, etc. get their livelihood from.
a. They are raped from time to time. Our crops-corn, cassava, yam are uprooted from our farms by unknown persons. There is an outcry from community to community.
b. Motorbike men who assist us in carrying home products from the farm are molested, beaten up and their bikes even stolen from them. This has increased the pains of the women.
c. Herdsmen enter farmlands with their cows and destroy farm crops.
d. The Kidnapping of women has come up again
e. Vandalization of street light solar panels is causing darkness which creates room for more evil.
f. Joblessness and unemployment of our youths has turned those without Christ and self-control into drunkenness.
g. Drug addiction and dubious crimes are on the increase among our youth and mothers are worried. They are now exposed to monkey tail, tramadol, mkpurumiri, etc.
h. Our youths have become political thugs, brother is killing brother; fighting and so much enmity has been created in our land for politicians to achieve their personal ambitions. This calls for youth sensitization.
i. Domestic violence is on the increase; husbands are abandoning their wives and children, creating more social problems.
j. Transportation cost in the LGA is high because transporters are paying for morning and evening tickets and high rates too. Cost of movement within and across our communities is rising above what women can afford.
k. Our General Hospital does not befit Eleme. To serve us better, it should be upgraded with modern equipment, a reliable resident doctor and very clean environment. A good quality standby generator and solar light stands should be put in place there.
It is not too safe to refer cases for caesarian section to Port Harcourt or Okrika in view of the very deplorable state of our road.
l. Our light situation has improved. Permit me to seriously commend our Executive Chairman for addressing this as a priority. The return of electricity is helping to improve our lives.
j. Inclusion of women in the decision-making process is very important as it adds the women perspective to issues. Women are known for peacebuilding, compassion, straightforwardness and integrity. They don’t forget their homes and families; bring them on board to help build a stronger Eleme Kingdom.
k. The Rivers State Government has signed the Women’s Inheritance Law. There is need to examine and embrace its provisions.
*Women care more but get nothing especially if married out of our Community.
*Widows are not given their rights after losing their husbands
*A woman with all female issues is not regarded, only having a male child matters.
*Women receive no inheritance from their fathers
*Even when married and compensation is paid to the family/community, no portion is assigned to the wife. The husband collects his share, hers and that of the children.
*Harmful traditions and culture are held on to prevent women from accessing their rights in our land. These need to be looked into.
Mba Okase has invited our sister Barrister S. Ekpebulu to enlighten us on this matter.
In calling for peace we must praise our capacity Chairman, Chief Hon Obarilomate Ollor who came in and the cult rivalries that were terrorizing our communities came to an end. Before, there were times stepping out was with fear but now we can move around. God bless you our Chairman.
Mba Okase also gives kudos to Governor Nyesom Wike who has brought women on board decision-making in the LGAs by making women Vice Chairpersons and reserving spaces for women as councilors in addition to making the PDP pick a woman as running mate to the governor back to back. Other parties are following this laudable stride. We congratulate them all.
However, much is still being expected. We need to see women rising up to speak, move bills to improve society for when women are lifted, society gains.
Thank you once again our LGA Vice Chairperson, Hon Mrs, Virtue Ekee for making this meeting possible, Thank you Mr. Speaker. We specially thank our mentor, Obonowan Emem Okon, the Executive Director, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Center, who has built us into who we are today. We say, more grace.
Our royal fathers, chiefs and royal mother, we say thank you again and God bless.
I wish us all happy and useful deliberations.
Welcome Address by the coordinator, Mba Okase Initiative, Eleme, Dr Patience Osaroejiji at A One Day Advocacy and Dialogue Meeting held on August 25, 2022 at the LGA Conference Hall, Eleme .