The recent suspension of Justice Theresa Uzokwe by the Abia state house of assembly is just another in a long list of public officials who have been harassed by their colleagues and frustrated out of office partly because of their gender and ethnicity. It is a strong reminder that women in Nigeria have witnessed humiliation and unconducive working environment in the country especially those holding public office.
Justice Uzokwe was suspended for acts of tyranny, which acts of tyranny the government is yet to explain. However the truth remains she is firstly, a victim of the fight against the inclusion of non indigenes in the public service by the Abia state government, and secondly her gender contributed to her illegal suspension.
This act of victimization of female office holders in the country is nothing new, and actually seems to be on the rise. The first victim of this was former Speaker Patricia Etteh who was the first woman to be voted as speaker of the house of assembly in Nigeria. A few months later, allegations of corruption were raised against her by the “integrity group” led by Honourable Farouk lawan, the very same “integrity” man that was caught on camera collecting thousands of dollars in bribe from Billionaire Businessman Femi Otedola.
Etteh never survived the onslaught as she was removed. To show the lies behind the acclaimed “corruption” acts of Farouk Lawan and his co-accusers, her status as a former Speaker was however restored when the house under the leadership of former Speaker Aminu Tambuwal reversed her impeachment as a speaker which was belated.
Another victim of such onslaught against female office holders in Nigeria was the former commissioner for education in Katsina state Professor Halimatu Idris, the woman who has spent the past two years improving the standards of education in the state. She was removed because the Governor needs to bring politicians on board and secure his position for a second term. Her impressive performance was not enough to convince Masari, she just had to go. A month after her removal, Masari is yet to rejig his cabinet. That she was removed based on her sex was evident as she was the only individual dropped from the state executive Council.
This same onslaught has been visited on Justice Theresa Uzokwe. When will this stop?
Tosin Adesina is a social commentator. This article was originally published on YNaija.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.