Confab: Groups begin consultation with stakeholders

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Two civil rights groups, the Women Arise and the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), have begun consultation with stakeholders to ensure popular participation at the National Conference.

This is contained in a statement jointly signed by Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Women Arise and Dr Abiola Afolabi, Executive Director, WARDC on Wednesday in Abuja.

The statement said that the consultation with stakeholders would commence on March 24 when the plenary would commence to enable the stakeholders views form part of the agenda of the Conference.

“This consultation becomes necessary in order to ensure effective representation of the people, particularly the grassroots communities.

“The consultation, which will take place in the six geo-political zones is aimed at generating views of people and set agenda for the conference,” the statement quoted Okei-Odumakin as saying.

The statement said each zonal meeting would have at least 200 people to address various thematic areas.

According to it, various issues will be discussed at different zones and recommendations will be compiled and submitted to the conference leadership to enhance the outcome of the exercise.

It also quoted Afolabi as saying: “It is of crucial importance that the conference is conceived on the strength of popular participation as a means to secure its legitimacy.

“It follows, therefore, that it must be people-oriented; the voices of the ordinary people including the women, the aged, the youth, and the minorities, must be heard.

“People Living with Disabilities and all other groups that have traditionally been marginalised in the history of Nigeria must also be heard to make the conference a `people’s conference.’’

It said the consultation across the country by the two women groups would allow for inputs of the Civil Society, which both organisations represented at the national conference.

The statement also said the two groups had set up research teams that had compiled previous documents on the status of women and girls’ to be presented at the conference.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 492-member  National Conference, which is expected to submit its report within 90 days, was inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday.

The conference held its inaugural meeting on Tuesday and adjourned till Monday, March 24  for resumption of plenary.