Sen. Tinubu seeks police protection over Melaye’s threat
•Assembly urges APC to discipline erring members
•Kogi lawmaker gets seven days to apologise
Aggrieved women yesterday turned out in large numbers in Ondo and Lagos states in protest against Senator Dino Melaye for “threatening Senator Oluremi Tinubu” at the Senate last Tuesday.
This came on a day the House of Assembly, at plenary, urged the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to discipline any erring member who has brought insult and dishonour to its fold.
In Abuja, the Coalition for Women Advancement in Africa (CoWAA) issued a directive to the Kogi West senator to tender an unreserved apology to Senator Tinubu.
At the Akure protest, women, on the aegis of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Women for Women (WFW) marched on the streets of the state capital, chanting solidarity songs in support of Senator Tinubu.
The women carried placards with anti-Melaye inscriptions.
They were from the 18 local governments.
The protesters gave the lawmaker seven days to apologise to women for insulting Senator Tinubu, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women Affairs.
Addressing reporters after the rally, the Ondo State Coordinator of WFW, Mrs. Fola Olaseinde-Vincente, a former lawmaker representing Ose, described the attack on Mrs. Tinubu as “too many” on women.
The lawyer said: “Never are we going to accept this kind of assault on women to go with impunity. We are calling on women across the world to rise up against assault on fellow women because an attack on any woman is an attack on all women.”
The APC state chairman, Isaac Kekemeke, hailed the women for their solidarity with Senator Tinubu, urging them to work together in mobilising the citizenry against discrimination against them.
In Lagos, scores of women under the aegis of the Concerned Group yesterday stormed the Office of Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode to protest the verbal attack on the Senator representing Lagos Central.
The women, drawn from the three senatorial districts, paraded with placards, saying: “Melaye, Senate is not your father’s house”; “Dino, leave Tinubu alone”; “We say no to violence against women”; “Womenfolk, stand up against Dino” and others.
The leader of the group, Mrs. Anike Adekanye, delivered a protest letter to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the Lagos House in Alausa for transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari.
She said Melaye’s actions brought shame to himself, Kogi West, the Senate and the country.
According to her, Melaye exhibited convincingly that he lacked the “poise, panache, fitness and minimum character to occupy a seat among sane, revered and distinguished men and women in the Senate”.
The group urged Buhari to direct relevant security agencies to institute criminal action against Melaye should he fail to apologise within an acceptable time-frame, to serve as a deterrent to others as well as send a signal to young people, who might have erroneously viewed Melaye’s “disgraceful action” as an ideal conduct in a sane and civilised society.
Receiving the protesters on behalf of Ambode, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Lola Akande assured the women the letter would be delivered to the President and that action would be taken.
The House of Assembly, as part of its resolutions yesterday while reacting to a protest to the Assembly by the Concerned Group, resolved to write and attach its letter to the petition submitted by the protesters.
It promised to send same letters to the Senate and the APC for investigation and disciplinary action.
Deputy Speaker, Eshilokun Sanni, who received the protesters, raised the issue at plenary under matters of urgent public importance, calling on his colleagues to take action to call Melaye to order.
Hailing the protesters for the way and manner they conducted themselves, Speaker Mudashiru Obasa said the protest showed that Lagosians were “sophisticated, advanced and concerned about the mandate given to their representatives”.
“The protesters are sending a message in strong terms through that protest that we have not abandoned our representative, that we are behind her and that Melaye must not molest or assault her and to warn him to desist from such action,” Obasa said.
The Coalition for Women Advancement in Africa (CoWAA), in Abuja, called on the senator representing Kogi West to tender an unreserved apology to Senator Tinubu.
It said Melaye and his like posed great threats to women advancement in Africa.
In a statement, the coalition said Melaye “is symptomatic of an emerging undesirable breed of men that objectify and belittle women contrary to the global trend of promoting equality”.
It demanded that Melaye should apologise for his offence.
The statement, signed by the CoWAA’s Executive Vice President, Jummai Samuel, berated a columnist, Sonala Olumhense, for his alleged assault on the wives of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
Olumhense, allegedly in his article, ridiculed the wives of Buratai, by suggesting that they were not independent enough to own property or contribute to their family’s investment.
CoWAA demanded apologies from both men with the explanation that it was necessary to discourage other menfolk from following in their footsteps.