International Women’s Day And Absence Of The Commissioner For Women Affairs BY KEBE IKPI 

In Breaking News, Opinion

March 8 every year is celebrated as International Women’s Day (IWD). The Ministry of Women’s Affairs is the government Ministry that coordinates the activities marking the day. The theme for this year’s event is Digitalization: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.

This year’s IWD makes it 35 days since the kidnapping of the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Cross River State. The sad incident happened on the 1st of February, 2023. 35 days later, IWD is being marked in the State with Associate Prof. Gertrude Nnanjar Njar, still in captivity. It is indeed a sad day for the women of Cross River, who will be celebrating IWD without their Commissioner. 

A lot of questions are begging for answers:

  1. Where is Prof. Gertrude Njar?
  2. What is her “crime” for which she was taken away?
  3. Is the Governor aware that his Honourable Commissioner has been abducted?
  4. What is the State Government doing to secure her release?
  5. Why is there so much silence since her abduction?
  6. What are security Agencies doing to rescue the Captain of the Women’s “Team” in Cross River State?
  7. Who is behind the current ordeal of the Commissioner and for what purpose?
  8. Is Prof. Njar still alive?
  9. What value do I place on life?
  10. What will 2023 IWD in Cross River State be like without the team lead having her freedom?
  11. Should the women of Cross River State take to the streets for the government to understand the implication of the kidnap of the Commissioner?
  12. How is the Njar family keeping on without their mother? 

I pray for the family to remain strong and hopeful of her safe and immediate release. 

While I understand that government is a continuum and there are enough lieutenants to pilot the Affairs of the Ministry in the absence of the Commissioner, we cannot pretend that all is well. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that families out there are in pain because their loved ones are in captivity for the failure of the State to protect them. It is sad to admit that the State she served failed to protect her. It is a sad day for Cross River women. It is a sad day for the IWD celebration in Cross River. This IWD is not complete without the Commissioner gaining her freedom. 

I will continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Commissioner. Everyone’s hands must be on deck to make this happen. The masterminds of this evil act must be brought to the book. 

I commend the Permanent Secretary, Directors, and Staff of the Ministry for holding on. This, too, shall pass away. 

The one question in everyone’s mouth in this year’s IWD is WHERE IS PROF. GERTRUDE  NJAR?

Kebe Ikpi is the Cross River State Coordinator of Child Protection Network. 

NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Kebe Ikpi, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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