Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Nigerian Women urged to stand-up for their rights

London, Oct. 23, 2007 (NAN): As the Global Safe Abortion Conference begins today in London, Nigeria women have been asked to stand-up for their rights.

Prof. Fred Sai, A former Senior Population Advisor to the World Bank on Population, and Adviser to the Ghanian President told the News Agency of Nigeria that for Abortion laws to be reformed, Nigerian women had to be stand up to say they want the reforms.

Sai, who said he knew when the late Prof. Olikoye Ransome Kuti was trying to get the laws reformed in 1994, that some women groups opposed it and up to last year women were still opposing the reforms of the abortion laws in Nigeria.

``There are many powerful women in Nigeria, when they stand up to say they want the laws reformed
they will get it reformed.

``Nigeria needs an internal revolution, the women should see the lives lost or maimed by the restrictive laws and speak out to keep women alive.

``Abortion happens whether legal or illegal, by making it legal, women would access it when they need in health facilities that are registered and with experts, Sai said.

The population expert told NAN that sometimes he wishes some African countries did not get their independence before 1967, because then they would have inherited the reformed abortion laws not the old one which was inherited.

He said : ``We inherited the abortion laws, fourty years after the colonial master reformed their laws, we are yet to change ours in most African countries.''

In a philosophical manner, he said we in Africa were like a choir and we take songs from the western world, change them into our local language and they become ours, that is what we have done with abortion laws, we have made it ours.

He said that before colonialism, there had been issues of unwanted pregnancies in Africa, in cases of rape or incest or pregnancy out of wedlock.

He said in such cases infacticides were committed. ``Any child who would bring dis-honour or stigma to
the family was killed at birth, why are we now behaving as if unwanted pregnancies was new to Africa.?''

He said that the number of valuable lives lost in Africa through unsafe abortions and unwanted pregnancies cannot be quantified economically.

He said some people commit suicide when they have unwanted pregnancies, some visit quacks and loose their lives or become eternally infertile.

``When will we begin to value these lives and allow the woman make her own choice,'' Sai questioned.

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