Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Plateau State has called for establishment of a Gender Commission to facilitate the implementation of Gender Equal Opportunity (GEO) Law in the state.
The CSOs made the call during a courtesy visit to Gov. Simon Lalong at the Government House, Jos on Thursday, July 14, 2022.
The law was gazetted in the state in 2018.
Leader of the delegation, Mr Gad Shamaki, said that the commission was critical for the implementation of GEO and VAPP laws, to address issues pertaining to gender-based violence.
“We appeal for the establishment of a gender commission before the end of your tenure,” Shamaki told the governor.
He, however, thanked Lalong for signing the VAPP law, saying that Plateau was among the first states to adopt the law, to protect women on issues of domestic violence and other abuses.
Shamaki also commended the governor for his commitment to peace building, especially through the establishment of Plateau Peace Building Agency, saying it had become a model for other states in the country.
He acknowledged the open governance partnership policy in the state which, he said, had earned the governor an award.
“It is on record that Plateau, not too long ago, won an international award because of the creativity of the state in terms of open governance and participation,” he said.
He thanked the governor for engaging the CSOs in the state, describing the partnership as necessary to complement government efforts.
Shamaki appealed to the governor to be a ‘voice of hope’ for people of the North-Central zone, saying that this would help in giving them a sense of belonging in the country.
Also speaking, Rev Gideon Para-Mallam, of Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, thanked the governor for facilitating the signing of the peace pact between Irigwe and Fulani ethnic groups in Bassa Local Government Area of the state.
He assured Lalong of the commitment of the CSOs in the state to ensuring that Bassa did not return to its former days.
Responding, Lalong thanked the CSOs for ensuring good governance in the state through their constructive criticisms, saying that this had guided his administration to do its best, while being informed of the importance of some bills.
“We listened to your submissions and read your write ups, all of which have made us to make informed decisions,” he said.
Lalong also expressed delight with the passage of various laws in the country that would protect the vulnerable in the society
He said that the advocacy of the CSOs on the protection of the rights of people with disabilities had facilitated the establishment of Plateau State Disability Commission, which had become a model to other states and the Federal Government.
He assured the group of the implementation of the GEO law, stressing: “We will ensure it reaches its conclusion.”
The governor, who said that the CSOs’ partnership with government was for the progress of humanity, urged them to make more efforts in promoting the interest of the society.
By Martha Agas