|Barr. Dose Ogbise-Erhisere|
WELCOME REMARKS PRESENTED BY MRS. DISE OGBISE-ERHISERE, CHAIRPERSON, FIDA BAYELSA STATE DURING THE VISIT OF DIANA JAMBE, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF DIANA JAMBE FOUNDATION
We are delighted to have you and members of your entourage as our guests this afternoon. Your visit is unique because it is the first of its kind. We have never before had a diplomatic visitor. We hope that this will mark the beginning of regular valuable exchanges between our organisation and your Office.
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) is a body of female lawyers dedicated to the protection of the rights of women, children and other vulnerable groups in local societies worldwide. The Country Vice President and President of FIDA Nigeria is Mrs. Inime Aguma. The Country Headquarters is based in Abuja, the nation’s Capital City.
FIDA Bayelsa was established in 1996 soon after the creation of Bayelsa State. Since its establishment, FIDA Bayelsa has worked tirelessly to promote respect for the rights of women and children. The environment in which we have had to operate is one that is quite challenging. Bayelsa State, like the rest of Nigeria, is made up principally of rural, traditional communities where harmful cultural practices rooted in the ancient history and traditions of the people persist. For example, female circumcision is not yet history in this part of the world. By the tradition of wife-inheritance, widows are still compelled or at least unduly pressured to marry relatives of their deceased husbands. The girl-child is treated differently from her male counterpart; in several communities, female children cannot, as a matter of tradition, inherit their deceased parent’s property. Child molestation and child defilement continue to be glaring issues. The phenomenon of early marriage remains a problem. These are very serious challenges. We require the collaborative efforts of all people of goodwill to overcome them.
We are therefore extremely happy that you have shown genuine interest in the work of FIDA Bayelsa. We look forward to collaborating with your Office on a range of activities geared towards promoting the rights of women and children in Bayelsa State.
Being in Nigeria, you may be aware of the recent case of Ese Oruru, the child who was taken away from her parents by an adult who later impregnated her. The adult concerned is presently being prosecuted at the Federal High Court here in Yenagoa. By reason of the on-going prosecution, we are unable to say more.
However, we are pleased to inform you that FIDA Bayelsa played a significant role (and continues to do so) in ensuring that justice is done in the matter. The child, Ese, and her own child, are in good health. We commend the Government of Bayelsa State for bearing the cost of their care; her parents and siblings on the overwhelming support and understanding they continue to show Ese.
On child molestation and defilement, we only recently launched the PANTS campaign. It aimed at educating our young ones the need to keep their privates private and hopefully kick paedophiles out our society. We are encouraged to work even harder with visit like yours.
Once again, we welcome you to Bayelsa State. We are sure that you would find your stay in Yenagoa an enjoyable one.
Mrs. Dise Ogbise-Erhisere,
Chairperson, FIDA Bayelsa