Hannatu Mohammed is the Chairlady of National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Katsina State chapter.
In this interview with Gagarawa of DPH NEWS, Hannatu Mohammed, chairperson, National Association of women journalists, Katsina state council, who is working with NTA Katsina. gives insight into issues affecting women and girls in Northwest Nigeria.
I must congratulate you ma’am for attaining such position especially in Katsina State northwestern part of the country where there is a lot of cultural diversity. Can you share a bit of your struggles that got you Chairlady of Nawoj?
Thank you Gagarawa. Alhamdulillah, it’s not easy being a female journalist in northern Nigeria due to our culture and religious beliefs. At the beginning it was not easy but having support from my parents and my then former chairman NUJ, they made me realise my importance and realise I can achieve all my aims through hard work and dedication.
Are you facing any form of domination by the opposite gender who are in the same profession with you in Katsina State?
No. I got all the support I need from them. They are more like family to me. I always appreciate them.
The menace of rape and domestic violence is on the increase in Katsina State, with situation where a Vice Principal raped and impregnated his student. As women journalists, what is Nawoj doing to curtail this menace?
It’s very alarming seriously, but we are working towards achieving maximum results in terms of awareness for parents to make sure justice is served to any one who rape their daughter. Back to the issue of the vice principal who raped his student, we are following up on the issue to make sure that he is punished to serve as a lesson to others. As women journalists, we’ll not allow any rapist to go unpunished.
As the Chairlady of Nawoj and obviously the representative of women journalists in Katsina, your members must have reported issues of deprived equal opportunities or having access to adequately carryout their activities as journalists, what have you done to address such issues?
We are trying to see the management of each media outlets to give women journalists equal opportunities to carry out their duties just like the men.
Has any of your member in Katsina experienced some sort of violence while carrying out their duties?
No. We have not recorded any case against women journalists in the state.
More than half of girls in northwest Nigeria are out of school with only 47.3% net attendance. Unfortunately, banditry and kidnapping have become the main challenges facing education in the North. Do you think this may influence the notion of parents about western education especially girl-child education?
Yes. With this recent school kidnappings, a lot of parents have withdrawn their children from boarding schools and the day schools will not be enough to contain all the students within each states. I’m calling on the relevant authorities to make sure that students are safe in their schools as they are under government care. Seeing that Northern states are backward in term of girl-child education, with this insecurity, a lot of people will not allow their children go back to school.
Providing security within and outside school premises is only a temporary solution. How do you think the girl-child can be permanently protected from banditry without a hitch to their education?
I don’t think it’s possible. The only solution is to end the banditry completely. That is the only solution that will give our girls enabling environment for them to study without fear from both the parents and the pupils.
As a role model to many women and girls and one who has passion to bringing an end to sexual and gender based violence not just in Katsina but Nigeria at large, how can the culture of silence by rape survivors and domestic violence be addressed in Northern Nigeria ?
I urge all women to speak out and expose any body irrespective of his status whenever they sexually abuse or rape any woman or our girls. By doing so, a lot of them will stop committing such atrocities. And I am calling on the general public to stop stigmatization against any sexual abuse victim so that they will be comfortable in the society as it’s not their fault but only victims.
Do you have any challenge for men who are depriving their wives from becoming journalists?
Yes. Because a lot of them see women journalists as irresponsible women which is not true. We are good women and we care about the society and well-being of general public. I urge all men to support their wives who find themselves as journalists. They should be proud of us as those who touch the lives of less privileged people around us.
In celebrating the International Women’s Day, what challenge do you have as women in Northwest Nigeria?
The challenge we are facing here is that women are not recognized like other parts of the country. There is no gender balance in sharing most of political appointments as we are being neglected. I’m calling on all Northern states to consider women in giving appointments.
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to have this interview with you, ma’am.
Thanks for remembering me on such important occasion.