By Gabriel Chy Alonta
Ogidi, a community in Idemili North local government area of Anambra state, has tasked women to take active roles in community leadership as a measure to curb criminalities in society.
This charge was made by the President, Ogidi Women, (Home and Abroad), Hon. Mrs. Ify Okonkwo, on the occasion of a 2-day leadership summit, themed, “Inspiring Women to Lead, Engage and Impact Knowledge”, held Monday, at Ogidi.
This summit, Orient Daily gathered, was also to reawaken the consciousness of Ogidi women to sufficiently discharge their responsibilities towards curbing criminalities that have eaten deep into the community and society, at large.
Hon. Okonkwo lamented the increasing violence, rape and molestation against women and girl-child, rape, cultism, drug abuse, among others, and called for holistic approach by women to find best means to curb them.
According to her, this is not time to sit on the fence and watch women suffer increasing marginalisation and intimidation as a result of their vulnerability, neither is it time to be docile and unresponsive to these ugly trends.
“No doubt, without women involvement and engagement in leadership positions, our community will be in imminent jeopardy. We need women to change the status quo in our society”, she said.
The president further said, “The menace of cultism is glaringly seen and felt, following the recent development in our dear state. Such notorious groups must be discouraged – here, women and mothers have roles to play in cautioning their wards.
“Similarly, parents must ensure they pay closer attention to their children to prevent them from indulging in illicit drug intakes. The negative effect of drug abuse on our children is staggering: It is often a catalyst for other heinous crimes in our dear community and state”.
In a remark, the chairman of the occasion and Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Political Matter, Barr. Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, noted that women were the real leaders in society, and encouraged them to take the message back home. He said without a stable home, there cannot be a stable society.
Obi-Okoye, while speaking on “Cultism: The role of women in combating menace amongst youths”, urged women to beef up their involvement in curbing the cultism, which, according to him, was as a result of failed homes.
Tracing the history of cultism in Nigeria, the guest speaker said poor leadership, poverty, peer group pressures, and so on, were also responsible for increasing cult activities. He called for its eradication from home.
Another guest speaker, Oluebube Ngige, who spoke on “Increasing trend of rape and women molestation in communities: Way forward”, decried the spate of rape, which, he said, was in many varieties. He called on parents to intensify their efforts in providing guidance to their children. While highlighting the negative consequences of rape and other related crimes, Ngige fingered parents over negligence to play their duties..
In a presentation, Ofoegbunam Osakwe, reminded women of their roles in promoting moral and traditional values to reshape their community.
Speaking on “Drug abuse: Roles of mothers in curbing the menace & Nigerian laws on drug abuse”, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Barr. Chiedu Igbokwe, acknowledged the rising drug abuse the world over, and reminded participants of extant laws prosecuting persons connected to drug peddling and usage. He said drug abuse was predominant among youths.
Admitting that societal and peer group pressures were major contributors to spates of drug abuse, Barr. Igbokwe tasked mothers to warn their children on the dangers of drug abuse, as well as to instill in them, spirit of hard work.
He recommended education, establishment of community counselling centres, inclusion of drug abuse in school curriculum, sensitisation, among others, as measures to curb drug abuse in society.
Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, an aspirant in the Anambra state gubernatorial election under the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), had, in a remark, expressed hope that the summit would address the thematic areas of the training. He encouraged mothers not to give up on their children, while enjoining them to always put their trust in God. To curb these ills, he called for value reorientation as well as good governance style, noting that society was a reflection of leadership style.
Earlier, Ogidi traditional ruler, HRM Igwe Pharmacist Alex Uzor Onyido, thanked the organisers of the event, and urged women present at the summit to cascade the lessons learnt to other women.