The sensitization of police officers on petty offences in Nigeria is of great importance. Lawyers Alert in its work to decriminalize Petty offences recognizes that these are minor breaches of the law that do not warrant harsh punishments, yet they have become a major source of harassment and extortion by police officers. Many Police officers are unaware of what constitutes petty offences, leading to abuse and arbitrary arrests.

With the support of the Open Society of West Africa, OSIWA, Lawyers Alert is currently sensitising police officers on petty offences within the Abuja metropolis. Lawyers Alert petty offences team paid a visit to the Nigeria Police Divisions at Durumi and Galadimawa respectively. The visit was aimed at sensitizing the Police on the need to decriminalize petty offences, as they are victimless offences. The use of force by the Police in tackling these offences seems aimed at brutalizing the poor and dehumanizing citizens,

During the sensitization visits to Division Police Officers and Division Crime Officers, the Police noted that a lack of awareness on issues of petty offences contributed to this heavy-handed approach and pledged commitment to working with Lawyers Alert to devise citizen-friendly solutions to the situation.

Importance of Sensitization

The sensitization of police officers on petty offences is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it will ensure that the police properly understand what constitutes a petty offence and how to handle them. This will significantly reduce cases of arbitrary arrests, harassment, and extortion by the police. For instance, a police officer who has been sensitised on what constitutes a petty offence will be less likely to arrest someone for idle walking or loitering, which are not criminal offences.

Secondly, sensitization will help to build public trust in the police force. The Nigerian public has a negative perception of the police and regards them as corrupt and abusive. This perception is largely due to the activities of rogue police officers who abuse their powers and extort money from people. If police officers are properly sensitised on what constitutes petty offences, incidents of extortion and harassment will be reduced and trust built between the police and the public.

Thirdly, sensitization will give the police the necessary skills to enforce petty offences in a manner that does not violate citizens’ rights. This is particularly important when dealing with vulnerable groups such as women, who are often unfairly targeted by the police. If police officers are sensitised on how to handle petty offences, they will be more likely to handle cases more professionally and humanely.

In order to ensure that sensitization on petty offences is effective, the following recommendations should be implemented by the Nigerian government:

1. Develop sensitization training programs for police officers that clearly outline what constitutes a petty offence and how to handle such cases.

2. Provide regular refresher courses and training to reinforce the lessons learnt during sensitization.

3. Establish oversight mechanisms to monitor police officers’ adherence to the rules and regulations governing the handling of petty offences.

4. Establish penalties for police officers who violate the rights of citizens or abuse their powers when handling petty offences.

5. Establish a public complaints mechanism to allow citizens to report cases of police abuse or extortion concerning petty offences.


In conclusion, sensitization of police officers on petty offences in Nigeria is crucial for proper law enforcement, reducing incidents of harassment, and building public trust in the police force. The government and other stakeholders need to work together to develop effective mechanisms for sensitisation and enforce regulations to ensure that police officers’ arbitrary arrests and abuse of power are minimised. With these measures in place, the police force will be more effective, efficient and gain the trust and confidence of the Nigerian people.

Written by Peace Okeshola


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The 2023 General Elections in Nigeria: Issues Arising

The 2023 General Elections in Nigeria: Issues Arising

On the 25th day of February 2023, Nigerians went to the polls to elect their President and all the members of the 10th National Assembly. Even though the contests were not without their usual intrigues, tensions, expectations, and surprises; it was relatively peaceful. In the end, a president-elect has been announced. But for about 11 Senatorial Districts and 36 Federal Constituencies where elections have been rescheduled, winners also have been announced for all the seats in the federal legislature, thereby leaving aggrieved contestants with the only option of approaching the court over any grievance.

Preparatory to the February polls, a lot of political watchers feared that the contests or competition was going to be very keen, intense, or even bloody. The build-up to the polls had been characterized by the trading of accusations and counter-accusations about what has been done and those left undone.

The three or four major political parties in the elections – the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) apparently threw their all into the contests. In the end, what has come out clearly is some bashing and condemnations for the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its handling of the whole process. Although, it could be argued that it has become a political culture in Nigeria for losers not to lose gallantly; it is difficult to merely ignore some of the allegations being leveled against the Commission by Nigerians, especially those of the opposition political parties.

The goal of this piece is not to apportion blame as to what has been done and the things not being done. The write-up only seeks to consider the issues and lessons thrown up by the elections. First, the last election has clearly shown that religion and ethnicity still play a major part in the choice of political office seekers in Nigeria. It is observed that the Labour Party which had no known political structure anywhere could win in no fewer than 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It will be recalled that the party was created in 2002 under the name, Party for Social Democracy (PSD) before changing its name to LP the following year. Up to now, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, a former Governor of Ondo State has been the only one elected in 2009 as Governor under the Party’s platform, the highest feat the party has achieved. He later decamped to the PDP in 2014.

 In the Senate, the LP had no single member until a senator decamped from the PDP to the LP late last year. In the House of Representatives, a member was elected from Ondo state but same defected to another party in 2011. His seat was later declared vacant by even the Nigerian Supreme Court. Another member elected from Oyo State under the LP to the House cross-carpeted to the APC in 2018. These known ones, show the LP had been without any structures. Yet, the party could garner a whopping over 6 million votes in the 2023 elections. Analysts have largely attributed (and in my opinion, rightly so) the success of the LP to the backing of the church which has served as the only known structure that the party has used. Even the pattern of voting especially that coming from the North Central zone points in that direction.

Second. The just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections have shown that there is virtually nothing that can break a willing and determined people. It is no small surprise but a shock to a lot of people to see a political party with no known political structure displace others in their traditional strongholds. The case in point is that of the defeat of the APC by the LP in Lagos State. It is inconceivable that a party such as LP could trash the APC and its presidential flagbearer in Lagos which is known to always be within the grips of the flagbearer who had become a kingmaker over the years. Close watchers of political events in the country have reasoned that it is not the influence of the flagbearer that has waned but that the people are determined for a change, and therefore would not allow anything to stand in their way.

Third, the recent Presidential and National Assembly elections witnessed no fewer than 6 state Governors lose their bids to go to the Senate. These include Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Solomon Lalung of Plateau, Darius Ishaku of Taraba, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu Sate, Ben Ayade of Cross-River and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia. Each of them has completed a two-term of 8 years in their various states. It cannot be imagined that with all the usual machinery at the disposal of these figures, they could lose elections in such a sweeping way. This only goes to show either or both of two things. It is either that the Nigerian electorate is fast becoming more sophisticated to demand performance and accountability ever than before or that the elections themselves were freer and fairer than they used to be. The belief in some quarters that the wind of the Obidient movement has swept the Governors away will be far from the truth if one considers that of all these individuals, only in Enugu State was the victorious candidate from the Labour Party.

Fourth, the elections under review clearly show that the youth armed with social media is fast constituting a serious force to be reckoned with now and in future elections. It is hardly controvertible that whatever strength the Obidient movement was able to muster within the short period preceding the elections is largely attributable to the youth and its activity in the social media space.  The result is what we have witnessed in the outcome of the elections. A lot of observers have noted that if the same youth had matched its activeness in the social media space with voters’ turnout at the elections, the candidate of the Labour Party whom the majority of these youth worked for would have been a candidate very difficult to beat. Unfortunately, this was not so as it has been observed that most of these youth did not exercise the ultimate civil obligation of voting for their preferred candidates.

Fifth, it is now becoming clearer than ever that no presidential candidate in Nigeria can emerge by just the votes of either the Northern or Southern Region of Nigeria. This has been evident in the spread of the votes of the three leading candidates and their chances of emerging as they would be in past elections.

Since it is not possible and practicable for a candidate to have all the votes of either the South or the North, it is persistently required that for a presidential candidate to emerge, he/she much look up to the votes of the electorate outside his/her own region. In the current elections, even though the candidate of the PDP was able to win in 9 of the states in the North, and 3 of the ones in the South, he still needed to do more for him to be able to make the expected mark. A similar analysis could be done with the LP that won in 9 of the states in the South and 2 of those of the North in addition to the FCT. What about the APC that was able to triumph in 5 of the states in the South and 7 of the ones in the North? The spread and pattern of the votes in the elections only lend credence to the point being canvassed.

These are a few of the issues that will occupy our national discourse in the days, months, and years ahead.

Written by Bamidele Jacobs.


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In the course to achieve gender equality with regard to equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities that are special to women, women have encountered a variety of obstacles and challenges. The United Nations states that numerous barriers in law and culture still exist today, hence no country can claim to have achieved gender equality. Serious threats still exist that pull back the hard-won gains of feminism.

As the world observes International Women’s Day this year, therefore, it is critical to step up efforts to honor and recognize contributions made by women in politics, business, the media, education, and indeed every facet of life. Their contributions to the advancement of women’s rights, in order to create collective and realistic action plans for preventing retrogression, can’t be overlooked especially when viewed through the lens of collective activity at the community level.

The fact that collective action serves as a benchmark for assessing community development and growth is no longer news. This is supported by the growing encouragement given by foreign bodies to voluntary organizations and civil society to form coalitions, networks, and clusters with the goal of having a collective impact on their immediate communities.

As a large proportion of Nigeria’s population commemorates the 2023 International Women’s Day in solidarity with women’s efforts to advance women’s rights, it will be historic to exhibit the success story of Lawyers Alert along 7 other organizations under the cluster “SGBV Justice Network in its fight to end SGBV in Nigeria.

Lawyers Alert is a Human Rights organization whose vision is to see a world where women and vulnerable groups are free from injustice.

The SGBV Justice Network led by Lawyers Alert in partnership with SCALE Palladium supported by the USAID is implementing a project, “Advocating for Effective Implementation/Activation of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) & Administration of Criminal Justice Laws of Bauchi, Benue, Enugu, Kaduna, Osun, and the FCT. This project which was conceived, birthed and supported by USAID as a result of the spike in SGBV reportage in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic in project locations, is to expedite justice service delivery for SGBV survivors and victims and the resolution of same.

It is, unfortunately, the case that victims, usually poor and vulnerable women, and girls,  are unable to get justice owing to the slow process of the system, while abusers are let loose at the expense of their victims There are extant laws that could redress this anomaly if adequately applied.

The VAPP & ACJ Laws are complementary statutes that exist to provide redress for survivors and victims of SGBV who are the most vulnerable and indigent women and girls. Both laws also exist to expedite the process of justice which is clogged by excessive delays and the high cost of legal representation, making litigation ineffective. Cases of SGBV reported to authorities would take an average of 3 – 8 years for decisions, with the potential of perpetrators becoming role models since they seemed to have the power to evade justice. Such cases run the risk of being dismissed owing to the length of time, lack of witnesses, and loss of interest.

The SJN Cluster in implementing the above-titled advocacy project in Bauchi, Benue, Enugu, Kaduna, Osun, and the FCT had specific advocacy asks from the various relevant stakeholders. These include the expansion of Senior Magistrates jurisdiction to try rape cases; the setting up of VAPPL Implementation Committee; setting up of special/family courts to expedite SGBV cases; and the establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs). With these, the SJN Cluster members in the project locations made some remarkable achievements in pushing for the effective activation/implementation of both laws. This is towards advancing access to justice for SGBV survivors and victims in the delivery of prompt justice and services.

In Bauchi, Benue, Kaduna, and Osun States, the SJN Cluster members ensured that they advocated for and had at least one or more of their advocacy asks achieved. The Bauchi State cluster ensured that the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) & Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) (VAPP) Laws were amended and passed by the Bauchi State House of Assembly on August 25 and 30, 2022 respectively. The review of the ACJ Law encompassed the expansion of senior magistrates’ jurisdiction to try rape cases. Amazingly, the State Governor assented into law the VAPP & ACJ Laws on December 9, 2022, as a result of which over 40 SGBV cases have already been arraigned in Court.

Consequent upon the State Governor’s assent of both laws, the Bauchi State Government constituted a Committee of the Drafting of Practice Direction on the VAPP & ACJ Laws in the State, where the Hon. Chief Judge of Bauchi State appointed the SJN Cluster member, Hon. Magistrate Amina Garuba Ahmed as Secretary to the above Committee. Additionally, the SJN Cluster member was made the secretariat of the review committee during the review of laws.

On February 14, 2023, the Bauchi State Government then launched the gazetted VAPP & ACJ Laws where it produced copies of the laws to be disseminated to relevant institutions and agencies. The unintended ripple effect of the SJN Cluster’s engagement in was that the Bauchi Penal Code, which dates back to 1960 was equally amended, passed and assented to the law just like the VAPP & ACJ Laws at the same instance.

In Benue and Osun States, SJN Cluster members had a series of advocacy visits to various stakeholders that contributed to the swift commissioning of the Sexual Assault Referral Centres respectively. The Osun SJN Cluster member was made a member of the Osun VAPP Law Implementation Committee on November 22, 2022, during the commissioning of the SARC as a result of her contributory efforts. The Governor of Benue State, on the other hand, commissioned the State SARC on January 31, 2023. The law is aimed at providing SGBV survivors counseling, medical treatment, psychosocial support, legal services, and economic empowerment. As a result of the Benue SJN Cluster member’s previous advocacy engagements with the Benue State Chief Judge, the State established and inaugurated the ACJ Law Monitoring Committee, of which  Lawyers Alert is a member.

In Kaduna State, the SJN Cluster’s collaborative efforts with the Kaduna State SGBV Coalition were able to push for and secure the establishment of three family courts designated to handle SGBV cases to ensure speedy resolution of cases. The State similarly launched its Sex Offenders Database aimed at naming and shaming with a view to dissuading others from such crimes.

Several other complementary activities (launch of campaign hashtags/rallies, capacity strengthening, etc) were conducted in project locations to improve knowledge for the justice sector actors and the public on the VAPP & ACJ Laws and SGBV issues. SJN Cluster members in Bauchi, Enugu, and Osun had copies of the VAPP Law produced and disseminated to some of the justice sector actors and service providers to improve their information base and take cognizance of roles specific to SGBV.

Without justice sector actors and other service providers recognizing their roles in relation to SGBV, recognizing the importance of interdependence and inter-relationship of ministries, departments, and agencies, and making deliberate efforts to cooperate and utilize one another’s skill sets, efforts to end SGBV in Nigeria would be far more challenging.

The success of the SJN Cluster is attributed to the instrumentality of SCALE Palladium with the support of USAID. The generosity of SCALE Palladium in providing Cluster members with opportunities to strengthen their capacities for diversified civic advocacy and local engagement has had a significant positive impact on the organization of SJN Cluster members, especially in terms of compliance with relevant regulatory agencies and improved organizational structures. With these lessons learned, SJN Cluster members are now intentional about the issue of GESI (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion) in programming activities and projects among other things.

The SJN Cluster is truly appreciative not just for the support but the deliberate encouragement and improvement of organizations’ potential for collective impact.

Lawyers Alert congratulates all women and all the He4She on this International Women’s Day as we contribute our quotas to advance women’s rights in Nigeria.

#IWD2023 #ImplementSGBVLaws #Justice4SGBVSurvivors. 

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Posted by on March 14, 2023 in Uncategorized




Globally, women are disproportionately affected by violence, harmful patriarchal practices, forced isolation, and other forms of discrimination – and this harmful impact is often compounded by poverty and other vulnerabilities. While everyone is entitled to live a life free from discrimination, women and girls are among the most vulnerable groups to abuse and harassment and have limited access to adequate health care. A right-based and gender-sensitive TB response is both an ethical imperative and a pillar of public health. The Global Goals for Sustainable Development offer an excellent opportunity to combat gender-based violence in all its forms and ensure a world where all women and girls are safe.  

Last year, the Stop TB partnership brought together community partners worldwide to Bangkok, Thailand, for the first STP Community Summit in November. The meeting aimed to harness TB Community Experiences to Strengthen the Global Response. There is a need to commit to making the TB response rights-based, just, equitable, and stigma-free, with TB-affected communities at the center through an innovative approach targeted at Communities, Rights, and Gender (CRG).

The CRG interventions in TB are committed to an equitable, rights-based TB response to identify and overcome human rights barriers to accessing quality TB services and to find the missing people with TB. This is guided by the Global Plan to End TB 2023-2030 – as a means of realizing the commitments made in the UN High-Level Meeting on TB Political Declaration.

Human rights principles, with the TB-affected community central to global efforts, underpin every aspect of the TB response, and our work with civil society and community partners is fundamental for us to achieve our goals. Civil society and TB-affected communities are important in informing, designing, and implementing national TB strategic plans. TB-affected communities are often excluded and need more resources to participate in the TB response at all levels meaningfully. Engaging TB-affected communities is key to ending TB by 2030: Principles of equity and social justice must guide the TB response. Where human rights, gender and the experiences of key and vulnerable populations are central to all parts of TB, health, and social protection systems, TB responses are more effective.

Lawyers Alert, as a beneficiary of the Stop TB Challenge Facility for Round 10 and 11 funding, anchors its interventions towards a Right based approach to end TB. And its work is guided towards Empowered networks of people affected by TB and civil society, advancing a rights-based, gender-sensitive TB response that prioritizes key and vulnerable populations and provides technically strong country responses. This aligned well with the summit’s objectives and created an avenue for learning from shared experiences and coordination of country partners in TB response. In line with Stop TB Partnership’s Communities, Rights, and Gender (CRG) interventions, Lawyers Alert prioritizes strengthening community TB interventions that overcome barriers to accessing quality TB services, increase community and civil society engagement and improve the impact of national TB programs at all levels. It is believed that People-centered community, human rights, and gender TB responses are vital towards eliminating the disease by 2030, in line with the commitment made by world leaders in the Political Declaration at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in 2018 and line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In Nigeria, the TB CRG Action Plan needs to be integrated into the NSP. All interventions geared towards implementing the plan should be centered on key findings that have been analyzed across seven thematic areas, including; access, affordability, availability and quality, stigma and discrimination, key populations, freedoms, participation, gender, and legal remedies, keeping TB-affected communities at the heart of everything we do.


 Working with vulnerable and key populations has become an area of interest that needs to be explored more often in Nigeria. Aside from the ongoing interventions with nomadic headers, other populations such as Children People living with HIV (PLHIV), health care workers, people who use drugs (PWUD), indigenous populations, prisoners, migrants and refugees, urban and rural poor, and miners. The strength of our collective voice needs to be felt as we work towards the next UN High-Level Meeting on TB and will be guided by the values of Social justice, Human rights, Gender equity, Community empowerment, Partnership, Participation, and Respect in the fight to END TB. No one should be left behind in the fight to End TB.

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Posted by on February 15, 2023 in Uncategorized




Lawyers Alert frowns at the current hardships experienced by the people of Nigeria regarding issues arising from the redesigned naira notes. With the current scarcity of the notes and the inflation rate at a 17-year high of 21.09% that has resulted in soaring prices of virtually everything; it is difficult to appreciate the statement credited to the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele that “the new notes will bring the hoarded currencies back into the banking system and help the apex bank to regain control of the money being used in the country”.

So far, there have been a series of accusations and counter-accusations as to whether enough new naira notes have been released into the economy. While the CBN Governor is shouting at top of his voice that the redesigned notes of N200, N500, and N1000 denominations released to the banks are supposed to be enough to take care of the needs of Nigerians; the banks are saying they never have what is sufficient to take care of the demand being put up by the people.

Whatever the situation with regard to the new notes released, the reality is that people do not currently have access to enough new notes with the resultant effect that there is a serious scarcity of the same in circulation. Indeed, users of the naira have ended up buying the notes in order to be able to carry out their daily transactions. This is the natural course of things as there is more demand for the naira notes than the economy can supply.

As it stands, politics has even been introduced into the whole argument as some Nigerians are alleging that there must have been leakages in the flow or circulation caused by politicians that are working to have enough naira notes stacked up to satisfy their strategy of votes buying and the manipulation of the system. On their part, some politicians and their supporters are arguing that the policy of redesignation is deliberately introduced to sabotage the ambitions of certain ones among them.

In response to the current scarcity of the new naira notes throughout the country and against the backdrop of the deadline extension to the 10th day of February 2023 by the CBN; some Nigerian youth especially those in the Southwestern part of the country have taken to the streets to protest the scarcity of the notes. Unfortunately, banks and some other public infrastructures have been seriously destroyed in the process. The effect has been more disruptions to the economy.

Even though Lawyers Alert condemns the resort to violence in resolving any dispute, it notes with sadness the current scarcity of the new naira notes that has virtually crippled the whole economy. A situation where people are made to pay heavily to have access to currency notes is, to say the least, weird. The truth is that the Nigerian economy has got enough challenges to contend with. Allowing this kind of disruption at this time smacks of incompetence and a lack of patriotism. One can only imagine the negative toll this policy and its implementation have so far taken on the country and its economy.


Lawyers Alert is calling on the CBN to investigate and closely monitor cash releases to the various banks and how much cash is being disbursed to customers over this period.

Moreover, banks should urgently investigate all allegations of currency trading being levelled against some of their staff. In fact, where any staff is found culpable, he/she should be handed over to the appropriate authority for further investigation and subsequent prosecution.

Lawyers Alert calls on all security agencies to deploy their officers to keep eagle eyes on the release of the new notes to banks and the subsequent disbursement of same to users. There is also the need for these agencies to do everything within their powers to forestall any further acts of sabotage and destruction of property from any quarters.

Lastly, the organization calls on relevant authorities to do all they can to end the current scarcity to alleviate the suffering of the people of Nigeria.

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Posted by on February 9, 2023 in accountability



According to the World Health Organization, approximately one out of every three women around the world has either suffered from an act of intimate partner violence, sexual violence from someone other than a partner, or both. Every year, 12 million girls are married as children. At least 200 million women and girls today have suffered from female genital mutilation and cutting. That’s in addition to the 375 recorded deaths of transgender individuals in 2021 alone[1]. Hence the need for an intervention to curb this menace. A lot of women and girls suffer in silence owing to some but not limited to the following; fear, cultural beliefs, poverty, etc.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. This year’s theme being “Unite! activism to end violence against women and girls.”

Lawyers Alert, a Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to seeing “a world where women and vulnerable groups are free from injustice”. But while gender-based violence is prevalent, we at Lawyers Alert (LA) fiercely believe that it is also preventable. That’s why we have long partnered with local leaders and organizations, survivors and community groups, women as well as men, and all state and non-state actors for over a decade at different levels to fight the menace.  LA has always been a part of this international annual campaign that kicks off from the 25th of November to the 10th of December. This year 2022 theme was “Unite! activism to end violence against women and girls.”

At Lawyers Alert, we are currently doing everything within our means to take the fight on ending violence against women and girls to the next level with the launching of a USSD code, a short code that offers the opportunity to reach a wider range of survivors making available information regarding SRHR service providers closest to them. By this code, survivors can easily access SRHR services providers closest to them.


It is my humble opinion that the fight on ending violence against women around the world is a continuous one that requires a head-on approach. All hands must be on deck if we are to achieve the desired goal of putting an end to violence against women/girls in our country. The big question remains “How many people will answer this clarion call?”


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Posted by on February 1, 2023 in Uncategorized


Sixteen Days of Activism: Intensifying Campaigns towards Ending Female Genital Mutilation

Sixteen (16) Days of Activism are days set aside annually to promote women’s and girls’ rights and protect them against all forms of violence, abuse, and molestation. These 16 days begin on 25th November and end on 10th December, which is also Human Rights Day.

As it were, women and girls are among the vulnerable groups in society. Statistics show that one out of every three women has been a victim of one form of violence or the other. Violence perpetrated against women is physical violence, emotional violence, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, gender-based violence, harmful widowhood practices, economic deprivation, Female Genital Mutilation, etc. The list is endless.

Female Genital Mutilation

As we mark this year’s “16 Days of Activism,” it is important to focus our attention, efforts, and resources to eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls. One form of physical violence inflicted on women and girls is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM, or female circumcision, is a common cultural practice among some cultures and tribes. It is a practice that involves cutting the clitoris off the female genitals. The myths, fables, or lies behind this practice are that FGM will hinder women from being promiscuous. Others believed that it would help in childbirth. But it has been proven that these beliefs are false.

FGM is a harmful practice that brings about complicated medical conditions and emotional and psychological harm. Aside from the permanent damage and pain arising from mutilation of the female genitalia, the use of unsterilized objects, excessive flow of blood, and the injury inflicted on women’s emotions make this practice a blatant violation of women’s rights. Over the years, women’s rights organizations and other civil society organizations have been campaigning against FGM, but sadly, this practice is still being carried out by parents. Against this background, we call on all and sundry to direct our attention, efforts, and resources to programs aimed at eliminating FGM from society.

Ending FGM

A lot has to be done to end FGM in society. However, in these 16 Days of Activism, here are some steps we can take to eliminate FGM from society:

  1. Individual Activism

We all have a role to play in ending FGM. We must stop this harmful practice. Parents should stop circumcising their female children. We should also discourage/dissuade other families from carrying out FGM. We should post messages condemning FGM and promote women’s rights on our social media accounts, blogs, and website.

  • Collective Activism

We should collectively sensitize members of the public on the need to end FGM. Civil society organizations (CSOs)/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have vital roles in this regard. We can visit homes and marketplaces and march around our communities and in the streets to sensitize people and campaign against FGM.

  • Government Should Enact and Enforce laws Prohibiting FGM.

Government should criminalize FGM by enacting and enforcing the prohibition of FGM. If people become aware that FGM is a criminal offence and perpetrators are punished, it would deter others who want to engage in the harmful practice.

In the Federal Capital Territory, FGM is a criminal offence. Section 6 of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 provides: 

“6. (1)           The circumcision or genital mutilation of the girl child or woman is at this moment prohibited.

“(2)     Any person who performs female circumcision or genital mutilation or engages another to carry out such circumcision or mutilation commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding four years or to fine not exceeding N200,000.00 or to both such fine and imprisonment.”  

It is on record that many States in Nigeria have domesticated this law although some States are yet to do so. It is great we have this law and the government must also see to the enforcement of this law. FGM cases reported to the Police or other law enforcement agencies, must be investigated, and offenders prosecuted. This will go a long way in ending FGM in society.

  • Funding

In Lawyers Alert, we can do much more if funds are available to support projects to end FGM. To this end, donor organizations should make Grants easily accessible to CSOs, NGOs, and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to enable them to penetrate the grassroots, villages, and rural areas where FGM is carried out.

Finally, as we celebrate the 16 Days of Activism this year, it is important to remember that women’s rights are human rights. Let us say “no to FGM.” Let us say “no to violence against women.” And together, we can eliminate FGM from our society.  

Written by Ayomide Joshua

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Posted by on December 9, 2022 in Uncategorized




Technology is the use of scientific knowledge for practical purposes or applications, whether in industry or in everyday life. So, whenever we use our scientific knowledge to achieve some specific purpose, we are doing that through technology.

Why is information technology important in our daily lives?

In today’s world, technology has made a lot of things easier. It offers various tools to boost the development and exchange of information and this has made it easier to solve many problems. Here in Nigeria, Technology has seen more inclusion despite some challenges. For instance, technology has provided safer means of communication and how information has become almost unlimited and very accessible is unbelievable.

Information technology and violence against women and girls

In recent times, the abuse of women and girls has assumed an alarming dimension in Nigeria. This situation became so bad during the COVID-19 lockdowns which forced people to be together and indoors too. From available reports, cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) almost tripled from the COVID-19 era and thereafter. In the midst of this, there are a lot of women who are scared of reporting their abusers for the fear of getting more harmed or even killed by these predators if caught trying to get help.

Besides, an apparent greater challenge for women and girls who are more at the receiving end of the violence is the dearth of information as to where and how to seek help. Unfortunately, this gap has made violence attractive to the perpetrators.

Lawyers Alert with support from its partners is currently implementing a project and developed an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code that will revolutionize access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services for SGBV survivors. Without a doubt, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is prevalent in Nigeria, and access to quality SRHR services is essential to protect and effectively respond to survivors.

Arguably, most SRHR interventions in Nigeria have been inequitably distributed owing to limited knowledge, lack of access, and poverty with about 60% of women resident in rural areas where there are no means of accessing adequate services and information. The COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges faced in trying to reach these vulnerable women resulted in the idea to provide the SGBV survivors access to relevant SRHR services (legal, shelter, and psycho-social support) through the USSD code.

The USSD code is a short code that offers the opportunity to reach a wider range of survivors making available information regarding SRHR service providers closest to them. By this code, survivors can easily access SRHR services with the cheapest of all phones and even without having to make use of the internet. The shortcode will link SRHR service providers to survivors of SGBV for prompt intervention.

Some of the Features of using this code:

  • The code is fully confidential and the user’s information is totally safe with us.
  • It is accessible on any phone device including non-internet phones.
  • The code is available to anyone suffering from sexual and gender-based violence. Women being more vulnerable in these situations are encouraged to use it.
  • The code is available in these 5 states: Bauchi, Benue, Enugu, Kano, and Osun.

Lawyers Alert will continue to work tirelessly in seeing that women are free from their abusers and get the speedy justice they deserve.

You matter a lot to us.

To access these services, the code is *7006*24#

Written by Aishat D. Abdullahi


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Like an ill-wind that blows no one any good, the Covid-19 pandemic broke forth and changed the nature of the World as we know it, altering individual patterns of interaction across the globe and giving rise to a new normal. The impediment on physical contact and emphasis on social distancing as measures of curbing its spread gave rise to new forms of interactions among individuals.

With the declaration of lockdown in Nigeria as done in many other countries of the world, full administrative activities migrated to digital life. Though abrupt and impromptu, the restriction on movement and emphasis on social distancing to mitigate the spread of the virus saw the country suddenly adopting digital life as a last resort to keep the spread of the pandemic at bay and at the same time yield to the basic necessities of life. Indeed, every facet and department of Nigerian life is not spared


Lawyers Alert, a Human Rights Organization that promotes the rights of Key and Vulnerable groups in Nigeria through advocacy and the provision of free legal services hold a retreat each annually to integrate the staff of her two offices with a view to encouraging synergy and bonding among them. The retreats also offer opportunities to discuss organizational challenges associated with coordination between the two offices, delivery of assigned tasks, the organization’s values, and interpersonal relationships.

Venues for Lawyers Alert’s retreats are randomly selected to experience the splendor, culture, and tourism of different parts of the country. However, the annual retreat for 2022 posed a huge challenge for the management of Lawyers Alert owing to the insecurity that has wreaked havoc on the Nation. Being cautious not to risk the lives of her staff and entire management to travel by road to a destination that is likely besieged by bandits and kidnappers, management came up with the idea of a hybrid retreat, first of its kind, to be held digitally with the use of a Virtual space. The retreat held on the 10th – 12th of August 2022, and all staff were to join digitally from the comfort of their homes, with sessions broken into two, within a two-hour time frame for each session.

Day 1 of the retreat examined the applicability and practicability of the Vision and Mission of Lawyers Alert and what it means to her members. The President of Lawyers Alert in his Welcome Address, thank the team for the efforts expended to be part of a hybrid retreat and why the innovative move was necessitated. He enjoined all to be of good courage and embrace the novelty of the new normal, after which the session devolved into technical sessions. Day 2 commenced with a review of 2021 activities and first half of 2022 vis-à-vis the Action Plan. Matters arising included, but not limited to; whether activities were on track, where did the organization derailed, the gaps identified and the possible ways forward.

The highlight of Day 2 was the technical session that involved Lawyers Alert’s target beneficiaries. The usual practice was for target beneficiaries to be invited to engage Lawyers Alert on how they can serve the target communities better. Invitations of target beneficiaries to Lawyers Alert retreats are usually done with proximity as a consideration. However, with the hybrid retreat of 2022, proximity was dispensed with for there was a large number of target beneficiaries from different regions of the country, digitally connected to the virtual space to be part of the 2022 Annual retreat where there was an in-depth consideration of what they would want to see in the 2023 Action Plan of the organization and how Lawyers Alert can serve them better.

Day 3 took a holistic look at the organizational challenges, which included but were not limited to delivery of assigned tasks, non-compliance with Lawyers Alert’s values, social media engagement, website engagement, and the critique of the organization.

The retreat came to a resounding end with words of appreciation from the President of Lawyers Alert amidst applause from all for the huge success of the first-of-a-kind hybrid digital retreat, held through a virtual space. With this success, Lawyers Alert makes a statement in the adaptation of digital life as a brainchild of necessity and circumstances, to put up with the devastating effects of Covid-19 and the uncertainties of insecurity in our nation in conformity with the new normal, with a successful 2022 Annual Staff Retreat.


With the introduction of the new normal, Organizations in Nigeria adopted digital life as an alternative to keep afloat. This development however was very sudden, least anticipated, and hence encountered severe constraints, which include but not limited to the following;

  1. Endemic poverty: Poverty is one of the biggest problems that Nigerian society is grappling with, making it near impossible for many citizens to effectively adapt to digital life. Thus, during the sudden digital migration, many citizens were left behind in the new normal.
  • Inequality and class differences: The wide gap between the rich and poor in the country is apparent, and that is why during the lockdown only those with access to digital learning resources kept learning in the comfort of their homes while those without access (the majority) are left behind.
  • Poor computer and ICT skills among individuals: Poor ICT skills inhibit people’s willingness to adopt digital life. This has the capacity of retarding effective digitization in the country.
  • Gross underdevelopment and neglect of rural areas: Nigerian rural communities are deprived of the basic necessities of life such as access to roads, electricity, health care facilities, and potable water supply among other crucial social amenities. In the absence of these, embracing digital life would be the least of the worries.
  • Gender domination and marginalization of vulnerable groups: In a patriarchal society like Nigeria which is dominated by masculine values where women are considered inferior, their opportunities to actively participate in a digital economy are largely limited. Religion and indigenous cultural norms are other constraints. Women are typically confined to their homes to take care of the children and perform other routine domestic duties, while men fend for them. This domination and, perhaps, subjugation affect significantly their access to and use of modern ICTs.
  • Poor electricity supply and Internet service: Epileptic electricity supply in Nigeria portends grave consequences on the digital life of citizens. Electricity supply is largely unstable and unreliable in the country. Most disturbing is the fact that a vast majority of rural settlements in the country, which harbor substantial proportions of the population, have no access to electricity supply. The same applies to Internet services, which typically fluctuate, especially in rural communities, as many of these rural communities have no network or Internet access.


To make digitization truly workable in the country, it is expedient to put in place the necessary structures that would facilitate it. The drive towards virtual spaces in the country at the moment has not been backed by the readiness of society to deliver the desired social and economic changes. This requires a holistic approach toward addressing all relevant issues.

Victor Eboh

Legal/Reproductive Rights Officer Lawyers Alert

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Posted by on November 10, 2022 in Uncategorized


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The criminal justice system of Benue State hitherto was marred with irregularities by way of delays in the dispensation of justice, thus occasioning a denial of justice for women and marginalized groups whose rights have been violated.
Tuesday, the 28th day of May 2019, heralds the birth of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2019, Benue State, a law whose purpose is to ensure that the system of administration of criminal justice in Benue State promotes efficient management of criminal justice institutions, speedy dispensation of justice, and protection of society from crime and protection of the rights and interests of the suspects, the defendant, and the victim. The law was widely celebrated as the magic bullet of criminal litigation.

Conspicuous in the Law is the provision of an Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee, whose primary function is to ensure strict compliance and implementation of the provisions of the law.
Flowing from a series of engagements with the Chief Judge of Benue State on the need to monitor the level of compliance with the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Benue State, Lawyers Alert, was on the 9th day of June 2022, inaugurated as a member of the monitoring committee for effective implementation of the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Benue State.

The inclusion of Lawyers Alert in the monitoring committee is predicated on its continuous intervention on SGBV/SRHR via Advocacy, provision of free legal service, monitoring and documenting of rights violations, and legal literacy for women and other vulnerable groups in Nigeria; including publishing its findings for the purpose of evidence-based advocacy and the usage of data by other local and international organizations working in the same field.


The interest of Civil Society Organizations and individuals working tirelessly to combat the surge of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence will be represented, in the same way, that their apprehensions about effective, transparent, and accountable justice delivery to survivors and victims of SGBV in the State will be addressed.

The pursuit of justice for SGBV/SRHR survivors/victims is geared toward ending SGBV in Benue State. Unlike the old practice where it would always appear criminal trials are endless, the ACJL has now provided for a day-to-day trial of a defendant upon arraignment, and where such is not possible, then parties to criminal proceedings are entitled to not more than 5 adjournments. Lawyers Alert as a critical stakeholder and a part of the committee will monitor and ensure strict compliance with this provision of the law for criminal matters to be speedily dealt with.

Women and girls suffering domestic violence, rape, molestation, and other related issues whose cases most of the time are stalled after arraignment in court due to delays and even non-release of legal advice from the state Ministry of Justice now have reason to heave a sigh of relief. The issuance of legal advice from the Office of the Attorney-General has now been at no later than 14 days of receipt
of the Police case file on a matter. Lawyers Alert which has been a strong advocate in this area will seize the opportunity of its membership in the committee to monitor strict compliance with this provision.

A very critical provision of the ACJL is the recognition of non-custodial sentencing for petty and other simple offenders. The Law makes provision for the establishment of a Community Service Centre in all Judicial Divisions of the state by the Chief Judge of the state, and the centres are to be presided over by a
Registrar and other support personnel. The essence is to reduce congestion in prison, rehabilitate prisoners by making them undertake productive work and prevent convicts who commit simple or petty offences from mixing with hardened criminals. This is an area that Lawyers Alert has been passionate about and so would use the instrumentality of the Committee to ensure that the provision is
translated into reality.

The importance of the robustness of the current law cannot be overemphasized. The innovations of establishing Rehabilitation centres within the state and the requirement of quarterly remittance of records of all arrests made in relation to state offenses or arrests within Benue state to the Attorney-General of the State are, to say the least, enviable. Lawyers Alert shall work assiduously with other members of the committee to see these materialized.

Without any iota of doubt, there are lots of expectations on the part of civil society activists and members of the public with respect to Lawyers Alerts’ nomination to the Committee. The least expected of the organization is for it to do everything possible so as not to let down such confidence and trust that have been reposed on it.

Indeed, it remains one of the major improvements brought about by the reforms in the ACJL as the reduction of delays in the criminal justice process by placing enormous responsibilities on the shoulders of Judges and Magistrates for the effective implementation of the Law. The monitoring committee like an Eagle’s eye will closely observe and monitor the process to ensure strict compliance with the Law.
Victor Eboh Esq.

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Posted by on October 7, 2022 in access to justice


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