The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cleared 19 female candidates from various political parties to contest for various elective positions in the forthcoming general elections in Zamfara State.

The State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Asmau Maikudi, disclosed this in Gusau at a one-day seminar on mitigating violence against women in elections organized by the commission.

Maikudi said that out of the number of candidates cleared by the Commission seeking for various political positions, “we have 19 female candidates”.

She said, “Even though, there is still low participation of women in politics but with this development, we have started coming up, all what we need is to increase the awareness at all levels.

She said that the aim of the seminar was to create awareness on gender-based election-related violence and provide forum for sharing experiences on approaches that would mitigate incidences of violence against women before, during and after the general elections.

“This seminar is important, especially the way the general elections is approaching.

“The seminar is also aimed at enlightening stakeholders especially women groups to foster strategic partnerships with critical stakeholders on the issue of violence against women in elections.”

“We recognize the important roles of various stakeholders play during elections and wish to invite them to integrate strategies that would foster violence-free elections”, she said.

In his remark, the representative of the State Commissioner of Police, DCP, Lawal Lawal, said the state police command was committed to ensuring violence free, fair and credible elections.

The representative of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Alhaji Muhammad Furfuri described the seminar as timely and welcome development.

Furfuri noted that women have been getting it difficult to participate actively in politics in the country especially in the North West.

He said NOA have been working hand in hand with INEC and all stakeholders to ensure effective voter education.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the resources persons who delivered lectures at the seminar attributed the low participation of women in politics to religious and cultural factors as well as poor knowledge on human and women rights.

NAN also reports that, representatives of the Muslim Women Groups, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Women Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders attended the seminar.