Abuja - The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has decried the low level participation of Nigerian women in politics and urged them to rise up to the challenge.
Mr Mike Omeri, NOA's Director-General, said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
According to the statement, the agency made the observation during a National Workshop on Promoting Women Political Empowerment, for Peace and Security in Nigeria which held in Asaba, Delta on Thursday.
Omeri, bemoaned the dismal performance of women in politics, saying that was why the agency deemed it fit to organise the national workshop to create awareness and promote women participation.
"Nigeria is blessed with brilliant, resourceful and intelligent women. Therefore, the nation needs your wealth of knowledge and experience to further consolidate and sustain our democracy," Omeri said.
He said that the stability of any nation depended on both vertical and horizontal balance in the society.
The statement also quoted Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, who declared the workshop open, as saying all Nigerians should have equal right to take part in politics.
Uduaghan, represented by his deputy, Prof. Amos Utuama, lamented what he called "cultural and religious constraints" as impediments for women to "realise their full potentials at all levels of political participation in Nigeria.
He said that in spite of the constitutional provisions that guaranteed freedom of equal participation in politics, the country was still bedevilled with religious and cultural biases against women.
It also quoted the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Joseph Edozien, calling for concerted efforts to remove obstacles against women which include preventing girl-child education and forcing them into early marriage, among others.
Edozien added that these obstacles had created psychological and emotional impediments for women in the society.
He, however, commended NOA for organising the workshop, adding that the nation could not afford to neglect about 50 pre cent of its population in the scheme of affairs and expect to succeed.