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Category Archives: Human Rights

ANNOUNCEMENT: Lawyers Alert Mourns Barrister Moses Udam

ANNOUNCEMENT: Lawyers Alert Mourns Barrister Moses Udam

It is with heavy hearts that the members, staff, and management of Lawyers Alert formally announce the passing of our one-time President, Barrister Moses Udam, who served as President between 2010 to 2012. Moses Udam was murdered on the night of Tuesday, December 15, 2020, in his home in Makurdi, Benue State, alongside his wife by assailants, yet to be tracked and arrested.

The unfortunate incident has come to Lawyers Alert as a total shock given Moses was a good-natured person with a peaceful disposition and total commitment to the plight of the underprivileged, especially prisoners. He facilitated the release of hundreds of detainees at detention centers and was a human rights activist of repute, especially in Benue and North Central Nigeria.

During his time at Lawyers Alert, Moses was noted for selfless service, always looking out for the weak, humane disposition and hard work amidst a deep conviction that free legal services are key to access to justice. He served as the North Central Coordinator of the Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, over two terms.

Upon leaving Lawyers Alert he made an unsuccessful bid to win elections to serve as Chairman of the Makurdi Local Government. He was running a very successful law practice, with a leaning to free legal services for the downtrodden before his murder alongside his wife.

Lawyers Alert mourns Moses and regrets the poor state of security where Nigerians lose lives to assailants and men of the underworld at a rate that is presently worrisome. The ability to get away with these crimes, as in the present case, is a strong motivation for men of the underworld.

We call on the government to enhance internal security across the country as this is key in the respect to life and property, the primary function of government. We equally call for the apprehension and trial of the killers of Moses Udam and his wife.

Lawyers Alert will be organizing a colloquium “Security, Access to justice and Right to Life” on the 4th of February 2021 at Benue Hotels, Makurdi in honor of Moses Udam.

Management,
Lawyers Alert.

 

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RIGHTS OF A WOMAN IN AFRICAN COMMUNITIES

RIGHTS OF A WOMAN IN AFRICAN COMMUNITIES

Rights are God’s given, are these rights applicable to only men in some African Communities? One would ask. In many African communities, women are been subjected to harmful practices which  violates their fundamental human rights as human beings, some of these practices includes female genital mutilation, domestic labour , right to education amongst others.

In many African communities, women and girls are seen as lesser human beings, they are force to go through all forms of human rights violations owing to their gender, these violations are often not reported or documented, and it affects their mental health and reduces their self-esteem. Do women and girls have right in some African Communities? I asked.

In some African Communities, women  cannot own land or right to child custody and when their husband dies, they are force to bath the dead body and drink the water in other to appease gods of the land, these practices are not applicable to men when their wives dies. Do the African woman and the girl child has right? I asked. Gender based violence is not a big deal in many African communities even in the cities, laws and policies are weak. In Kogi state Nigeria, a lady was beaten to pulp by the state commissioner which attracted the attention of many human rights defenders but it was not a big deal in the eyes of many just because she is a woman.

If truly rights are God’s given and if African women and girls have rights, we must begin to advocate for proper protection of the African woman from harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, right to child custody and right to western education amongst others. Women are better managers and home builders; we cannot subject them to harmful practices without protection. Let’s support the African women and the girl child to enjoy full rights as men do without gender inequality. Women too have rights, we must enhance them.

By Elvis Torkuma.

 
 

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‘RECOVER BETTER – STAND UP FOR HUMAN RIGHTS’

‘RECOVER BETTER – STAND UP FOR HUMAN RIGHTS’

Human Rights is celebrated every 10th day of December over the world. The day has been chosen to coincide with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – a document detailing the 30 fundamental rights that are said to be naturally available to any one born human – in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The Human Rights Day affords every country and other smaller entities the opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in rebuilding the world. It is an occasion for individuals, organizations and even nations to show solidarity with one another and create awareness about the rights of the people. The chosen topic of this piece has actually been adopted from the theme for this year’s celebration. In view of the ravaging and damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that took the world by shock, it is not strange that this theme has been chosen. As countries recover from the incalculable destruction done to its economy and the human capital, I presume the theme is reminding us that we can only recover better when all of us stand up to defend our rights and those of others. Enough of our indolence as it concerns issues of human rights.

A cursory look at relevant records and statistics in Africa does not present any encouraging pictures as the continent has become notorious for armed conflicts with all forms of violations including torture; worse forms of communal violence with large number of internally displaced persons as never before witnessed; arbitrary arrests and other incidence of extra-judicial killings; serious violence against the weakest citizens; human trafficking and various forms of modern slavery; severe economic deprivations; extreme cases of insecurity, just to mention a few. Indeed, all these are common indicators of serious human rights violations, just as they undermine the relevance of any government and the entrenchment of constitutional democracy. The continent of Africa is acclaimed to be home to the largest number of people that live in abject poverty. In fact, Africa holds the records in virtually all the negative indicators that exist- has about the highest maternal mortality rates, extreme low literacy levels and very poor healthcare systems. Such pictures do not in any way give hope of any better future for the continent. At best, they have crystallized into reactions that have placed the situations in Africa in vicious cycles that qualify for extreme emergencies.

 In Nigeria, the human rights situation is not any different from the general picture that the continent of Africa portrays. The human rights records coming out of and about this country have been gloomy. It is even ironical that the self-acclaimed constitutional democracy that the country assumed since 1999 has not done anything to improve the situation. Across Nigeria, reports abound of unprecedented hostilities to peaceful and legitimate protests, unlawful arrests and detentions without trials, farmers–herders conflicts, banditries and insurgencies leading to abductions, rape and other sexual abuses. All over Nigeria, especially in the North Eastern part, thousands of lives have been lost and a large number of people displaced from their homes thereby leading Nigeria to have one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. The Boko Haram terrorists that have operated almost freely in parts of the country have cut short the educational pursuits of many school girls and other children. It is of particular interest that all these are happening in country where basic access to education is so low.

In recent times, there have been serious attempts by governments and their agencies to stifle the social and other media and to also shrink the civil society spaces. A lot have been done by the two chambers of the National Assembly to pass laws that would muzzle the social media and that which would cede the controls of civil societies to government. Success in this direction would see freedom of expression gravely impeded.

Although some critical pieces of legislation such as the Violence Against Persons (Prohibited) Act, the Child’s Rights Act, the Administration of the Criminal Justice, Act and HIV/AIDS (Anti-Discrimination) Act have been passed in the last five years or so to booster the rights of the relevant population; not much has been achieved in terms of implementations. These laws being products of the National Assembly will need domestication in the various states to make them operational at that level. As at the last count, no single one of the pieces of legislation has enjoyed domestication in more than half of the 36 states of the federation. This development does not show that things are looking up and going in the direction.

As the world celebrates the Human Rights Day, it would be appropriate to recall that sometime in August 2017, Vice President Osinbajo (then acting as the president) in August 2017 constituted a civilian-led presidential investigative panel to review compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement. The panel conducted hearings across the country and submitted its findings to the presidency in February 2018. As of December 2020, the content of the report had not been made public. It cannot also be forgotten in a hurry the recent ENDSARS protests that swept across the country and some of the alleged violations and human rights abuses that accompanied them. The popular Lekki killings where men in military uniforms were said to have opened fire on armless civilians is still fresh in our memories. Right now, judicial panels of enquiry are being set up to investigate allegations of abuses against police personnel. While the dusts generated by the controversies surrounding the setting up of the panels are yet to settle, it is expected that the reports to be submitted by same will be considered and implemented. This is the only way we can show the world that we are serious and ready to safeguard the rights of our people.

As the theme for this year’s celebration goes, the world can only recover better from the COVID-19 pandemic only if we all stand up for human rights. The era of standing aloof must be over if we all seek to be free from all forms of oppressions. Lawyers Alert as an organization says it is not over until it is over. We need to be reminded of the popular saying of Edmund Burke that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Written by Bamidele A. Jacobs

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2020 in Human Rights

 

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ONLINE VIOLENCE AND ITS IMPACT ON WOMEN AND GIRLS

ONLINE VIOLENCE AND ITS IMPACT ON WOMEN AND GIRLS

Isabella cries out loud as she saw her nude pictures and other personal information posted on social media by her ex-husband. Her friend Aurora rushed into the room with towel on her chest to inquire on what the situation is, Isabella looked at her with a sad face and said, you can’t believe what I saw on social media, Isabella gave her the phone and she saw the nude pictures and other personal information the Ex-husband posted, OMG! She screamed. How can your ex-husband be so cruel?

According to Global Fund for Women, Online violence against women is an overt expression of the gender discrimination and inequality that exists offline. In 2015, the UN Broadband Commission warned that cyber VAWG had become “a global problem with serious implications for societies and economies around the world.” It noted that 73% of women and girls had encountered some form of online violence; that women were 27 times more likely to be abused online than men; that 61% of online harassers were male; and that women aged between 18 and 24 were at particular risk.

Online violence against women has become a common experience especially for lesbians, bisexual or trans women or any combination, women in politics, journalism and women with disabilities. This creates an environment with the intention of raising alarm, body shaming, intimidating or humiliating and pushing women/girls offline. This is usually directed towards those who are trying to amplify their voices on the issues faced by women/girls online. Online abuse against women/girls is also increasingly being used as a tactic to publicly use power over women, thereby preventing them from expressing themselves freely, which is a fundamental right of everyone regardless of gender identification and/or orientation. Sometimes, Men are also harassed online, but women are the target, online harassment quickly descends into sexualized hate or threats.

The greatest impact on women and girls when they experience violence online is self-restriction, and that is what the abusers want. Most times only physical violence is taken seriously, but as it stands online violence is equally harmful. As it is the case with most women, they turn to avoid social media platforms after being harassed. Online violence is a public health issue and the effects are very harmful; it results in physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm, and erodes self-esteem.

Internet access is growing across all continents. With the advent of COVID-19 that has impacted the way of lives of the people, every attention has tilted more to internet usage than ever before and offline violence has extended to online, which makes it easier for people to commit violence without consequences. Women are the main targets of online violence, especially women with voices, like female journalists and politicians. Online harassment can include bullying, trolling, cyber stalking, defamation and hate speech, public shaming, and identity theft and hacking amongst other offences.

Online protection is an urgent priority every single day, billions of people around the world use social media to connect, report abuses that happened offline, learn and share as well as for everyday communications. Social media platforms can help give a voice to the voiceless by raising the profile of some of the most marginalized women and girls in the society.

Many women/girls around the world are experiencing attacks on their websites and social media pages, a host of attackers have succeeded in hacking into and gaining control over women’s and activists’ accounts just to cause alarm, intimidate and harass them and also use their personal images and details to scam their followers.

Online violence against women and girls is real with attendant effects and sometimes it moves from online to offline. Women/girls are learning to expect and accept abuse as a normal part of their daily life experience. Most women/girls have reduced the usage of social media owing to abuse and harassment, while those who are still active on these platforms are forced to change how they express themselves to avoid harassment, which has driven most of them to depression. 

Girls around the world have written an open letter to Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, the world’s most influential social media platforms, to create ways to report abuses and harassment in order to be free and secure when online.

COVID-19 has move more of our lives online, it’s vital that social media space is safe for women and girls.

Isabella’s ex-husband was arrested and detained by the police officers for violating his ex-wife’s right to privacy.

Recommendations

  • Government should create effective and accessible reporting mechanisms that target gender-based violence online
  • Government should hold perpetrators of rights violations to accountable
  • Social media platforms should also create a safe reporting mechanism that will be safe for women and girls.

SAY NO ANY FORM OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

BY YUA MIRIAM

 

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NIGERIA #ENDSARS PROTESTS AND THE AFTERMATH

NIGERIA #ENDSARS PROTESTS AND THE AFTERMATH

Position of Lawyers Alert

Lawyers Alert condemns in the strongest terms the use of live ammunition on protesters who were only armed with national flags and the national anthem and the consequent loss of lives of innocent and defenseless Nigerians in their prime. No lawful and democratic society condones extrajudicial killings in any form. Every person has a right to live and such a right cannot be taken away by anyone except in accordance with the law.

Lawyers Alert acknowledges the Constitutional Rights of citizens to embark on peaceful protests and it is in this light that we also strongly condemn the use of military personnel under any guise to quell protests within the civic space. The result can only be and has been fatalities.


We also condemn the degeneration of the protest into rioting. In Abuja alone, no fewer than 50 vehicles were razed. The same goes for Lagos where Media Houses, a Traditional Ruler’s Palace, Police Stations, a warehouse, and shopping malls were vandalized and in some instances burned. A number of Police Officers were also lynched. In Edo, there was the incident of a jailbreak where inmates were set free while Kano and Jos witnessed misguided reprisal attacks with a number of churches burned.
We acknowledge the rights of the citizenry to move freely and own property. These are fundamental rights that are inalienable.


We note the genesis of the unfortunate happenings. Citizens, mainly the Youth commenced protests owing to killings and various human rights abuses against them by the men of the Police Force, particularly the special unit of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS. Their demands were the disbandment of SARS, identification and sanctioning of rogue officers, the release of the illegally detained, and compensation to victims or their families amongst others.


The government did yield to these requests by disbanding SARS, setting up
Judicial Panels of Inquiry, and calling for negotiations. Owing to previous unkept promises by the government and the consequent lack of trust, youths shunned these measures, and continued the protest, leading to the present situation.

Recommendations
In light of the foregoing, Lawyers Alert recommends the following:

▪ The Federal Government should keep open its earlier invitation to the
Protesters to the negotiation table. The Protesters should accept the
government invitation to dialogue towards the realization of the demands
of the protesters and suspend the protests. Lawyers Alert recognizes the
lack of trust for government promises by the youth, which is justifiable
given past experiences. We however advise that timelines be set for the
delivery of every demand with responsible agency clearly defined. There is
no better time to do this than now.


▪ The National Assembly should conduct a hearing/investigation into what
transpired at the Lekki toll gate on 20/10/2020 that led to the loss of lives
owing to killings allegedly carried out by soldiers. This hearing should
unravel questions like who ordered soldiers to Lekki Toll Gate, the actual
number of lives lost, the identity of victims, and comprehensive sanctions
of any individual directly or indirectly connected to the incident.

▪ Lawyers Alert urges groups and persons to approach the Judicial Panels
of Inquiry to lay their grievance towards the identification of culpable SARS
officers for appropriate sanctions and the compensation of victims.


▪ The government should embark on comprehensive reform of the police,
with emphasis on oversight functions, tethering oversight to citizens
groups, the National Assembly, Internal Police oversight, the National
Human Rights Commission, and most importantly, the Police Service
Commission which is the constitutional body with the mandate of
oversight.

God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Lawyers Alert

 

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SARS EPIDEMIC AND NIGERIAN YOUTHS

SARS EPIDEMIC AND NIGERIAN YOUTHS

BY OMOTOLA EUNICE OMOTAYO

Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was founded in 1992 by a former Commissioner of Police, Simeon Danladi Midenda. SARS was established as a result of an increase in violent crimes in Nigeria following a dispute between the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Army which made officers of the Nigerian Police Force desert their duty posts. The responsibility of the Special Unit is to investigate, arrest, detain and prosecute persons involved in violent crimes like armed robbery and kidnapping, etc.

In the early 2000s, internet fraud and cultism were on the increase across the country, and to curb the menace, SARS operatives infiltrated institutions, made several arrests. This special squad recorded tremendous successes in the reduction of armed robbery, kidnapping, and cultism, etc.  

This is no longer the story, as SARS operatives are now known for extortion, torturing, framing up innocent citizens, blackmailing, and killing of Nigerian youths. The unit has today metamorphosed into an oppressor of the Nigerian masses, especially youths.  

Due to several incidents of SARS officers killing, extorting, and brutalizing Nigerian youths, there have been several campaigns to end SARS since its transformation from an agent of protection to that of oppression. Patriotic Nigerians across the country led by Segun Awosanya started an online advocacy campaign to end SARS brutality in December 2016. He started the online campaign with a hashtag, #EndSARS. In the year 2018, 14th of August to be precise, Yemi Osinbajo as the Acting President of Nigeria ordered the overhaul of the controversial police unit, SARS following an uproar of human rights violation of citizens by the Unit. On the 21st day of January, 2019 an order was also made by IGP Mohammed Adamu to immediately decentralize the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

None of the above-listed attempts to stop or reform SARS was implemented. The nemesis continued to prevail as SARS officials are constantly alleged of extortion, humiliation, and abuse of human rights especially the incessant killing of youths in Lagos, Ogun, Benin, Delta, and other States. 

Recently, the youths of Nigeria took to the internet (Twitter) to clamor for an outright end to the brutality perpetrated by the Special Unit, using the hashtag #EndSARS, which also got international recognitions. While the ‘peaceful’ protest was ongoing in several States across Nigeria, it was recorded that police attacked the protesters with tear gas and water-canons. It was also recorded that some of these protesters lost their lives in this act. Resulting from this was an announcement made on the 11th day of October, 2020 by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu that the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force, alongside its Units across other States of the country is thereby disbanded. He further stated that the operatives will be redeployed to other police formations and commands.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. We call on the government to look into SARS departments and carryout the much needed reformation of same.
  2. Training of Police officials to be human rights compliant in their delivery of duties.
  3. Policing is all about protecting, respecting, and valuing the lives of citizens. The bedrock of the country’s current challenges is the lack of transparency and accountability in the Security Sector. Proper implementation of the new Police Act, 2020 as a new legislation will aid the restoration of the people’s lost confidence. 
  4. The Nigerian Communications Commission should create a 3-digit emergency number that will be used to report any form of violence. The essence of applying this medium is to give the receiver access to the caller’s location in emergency situations without necessarily picking the call.

Nigerians want to be protected!

Nigerians want to be able to walk freely without the fear of being shot dead at any encounter with SARS.

Remember, we have the right to live, to express ourselves, and to be treated with dignity!

 

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NIGERIA: NON-ADHERENCE TO COVID-19 PROTOCOLS FOR PREVENTING SPREAD OF THE DISEASE

PRESS RELEASE

Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. September 25, 2020.

Lawyers Alert, a human rights organization, is calling on Nigerian citizens to adhere to laid down COVID-19 protocols for preventing the spread of the virus in the country. The organization is concerned that life seems to have reverted to normal as citizens go about their daily activities uninhibited following a lifting of the lockdown on movement imposed by the Federal Government. Following the lifting of the lockdown, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 mandated a number of measures in line with World Health Organization’s (WHO) proposals for preventing the spread of the virus. These include public use of face masks, frequent hand-washing and physical distancing especially in crowded places. Research has however revealed challenges with enforcing these measures especially in crowded areas and localities where citizens lack adequate information.

A number of community-related risk factors have been identified as the cause of non-adherence to practicing recommended preventive measures. One of these is denial. There is widespread disbelief among the populace about the existence of the pandemic. Even citizens with adequate access to information choose not to follow the prevention guidelines. The conclusion can be drawn that the populace have willfully chosen to ignore the potential possibility of infection and consequences of same. However, living in denial will not halt the spread of the disease and has the potential to actually worsen the spread. Indeed majority of the populace still remain ignorant about their COVID-19 status owing to an inability or unwillingness to get tested.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on the 24th of September, 2020, there were 125 new confirmed cases, which makes it a total 7,649 active cases, 49,098 discharged cases, 1102 deaths, 494,577 sample tested, and 57,849 confirmed cases recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Several guidelines have been provided by the organization which if citizens were to adhere could curb the spread of the virus. The President Lawyers Alert, Rommy Mom, specifically made an urgent call for awareness campaigns to sensitize Nigerians to the efficacy of masks in preventing spread. In his words, “Nigerians must not allow themselves to be lulled into a false sense of security owing to the low number of fatalities recorded so far. This is a new virus and the way it functions is yet to be fully understood even by leading scientists across the globe. It is therefore crucial that we do everything in our power to get our people to imbibe the message of prevention instead. It is after all said to be better than cure.”

Lawyers Alert further calls on the Government to scale up existing advocacy campaigns. This can be achieved through advocacy visits to Community Based Organizations, Traditional Rulers, Religious Leaders and other such community gatekeepers owing to how influential these groups tend to be. Additionally, interest groups, from the formal to the informal sector are urged to partner with NCDC, the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), and other similar organizations to help spread the word on the significance of masks to halting the spread of the virus. For instance, formal spaces such as business environments can mandate the use of masks for access. Transport workers (drivers) could be encouraged to wear face masks and insist on same from passengers. Social distancing could also be practiced in commercial vehicles by carrying fewer passengers and spacing them in the vehicles. Individuals who can afford to should maintain frequent use of alcohol-based sanitizers where the option of washing hands is not readily available.

Lawyers Alert is collating public opinion on the use of face masks and has begun the process of sensitizing the general public on its importance. The organization is also focused on gathering data on challenges faced by citizens especially poor and marginalized groups, and reaching the right stakeholders with this documentation in order to share lessons learnt and make recommendations.

Lawyers Alert encourages Nigerians to support government’s efforts in curbing the spread of this virus by wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, frequent washing of hands under running water, as well as sanitizing hands and touchable surfaces.

 

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Social Justice and Human Rights

By Kyenpya Katkuk Esq

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Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political, social rights and opportunities.

It may be broadly understood as fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth.

Social justice refers to:
1. Equal rights
2. Equal opportunities
3. Equal treatment.

Bearing in mind the theme of this year’s Social Justice Day ” Closing the Inequalities Gap ” I would be sharing some interesting facts that would be gender specific to women and how to close the inequality gap.

Gender inequality in Nigeria is influenced by different cultures and beliefs. In some parts of Nigeria women are considered subordinate to their male counterparts. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not just a basic human right but it is crucial for a sustainable future.

Poor countries have a monopoly on gender inequality. There are significant disparities in health, education and bargaining powers within marriage in countries with low GDP per capita.

According to the World Economic Forum here are some interesting facts :

1. Women are 47% more likely to suffer car crashes in a car because car safety features are designed for men.

2. 33,000 girls become child brides everyday.
This vary between communities because girls are not valued as highly as boys and marrying them at a young age transfers the economic burden to another family.

3. Women in rural parts of Africa  spend more time collecting water to help their household. Due to the lack of infrastructure, combined with the expectations that women should meet up to their household duties and limited employment opportunities for women means that they shoulder unequal burden of gathering firewood and water for their families.

4. Only 6 countries give women equal legal working rights as men.

Belgium, Denmark, France,Luxembourg and Sweden.
A typical economy gives women three quater of the rights of men in measured areas.

5. 22% of all Professionals are women compared with 78% who are male. This accounts for the gender gap that reflects in the STEM skills gap.
Researchers say that “Women usually avoid scientific pursuits because of their self views”.

Inequality remains one of the biggest obstacles to shared prosperity. No country, no economy, no company, or community can meet today’s  challenges or achieve its potential until it’s people can achieve theirs.

According to the World Economic Forum, it would take about 108 years to close the gender gap. The biggest gaps to close are in the economic and political empowerment dimensions which would take 202 and 107 years to close.

Conclusively, when women and girls are valued as much as boys and men, when countries invest in their health, education and skills training, when they give women greater opportunities to participate in the economy, manage incomes, own and run businesses, give access to land and loan facilities. The benefits would cause a ripple effect to their children, families, communities and to the economy and thus the, issues of social justice such as equal rights, equal opportunities and equal treatment would would aid in closing the gap.

Recommendations:

1. More women should be empowered and have access to infrastructures like health and education.
2. More girls should be enrolled in schools to hinder child marriage.

3. More girls should be encouraged to take STEM related courses.

4. There should be an increase in women’s political participation.

5. Organizations and businesses should employ more women compared to men to close the gender gap.

6. Women should support other women.

7.  Family friendly policies should be put in place in organizations and businesses to optimize women’s productivity in the workplace.

8. Challenge stereotypes and gender norms.

Kyenpya Katkuk is the Executive Director of Girl to Woman Development Initiative.

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that this article is based on the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

 

 

 

 

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CONSTANCE NKWOCHA & 15 ORS V. THE FCT MINISTER & 5 ORS: JUDGEMENT IMPLICATIONS AND WAY FORWARD

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IMPLICATIONS

Following the recent judgement from the afore-stated case, it is without ambiguity or misunderstanding inconsistent with any law in Nigeria misinterpreting the criminality or otherwise of sex work in Nigeria.

Before judgement was given in the instant case, sex work was dragged by agencies of the Nigerian government as constituting an offence without any substantial legal backing.

Judgement from this case would do the following:

  1. Hopefully guide Nigerian government agencies in their operations against women whom they perceive as being sex workers
  2. Guide other Nigerian courts in delivering judgements in cases of similar nature
  3. Go a long way in assisting human rights defenders in taking up cases of similar nature, in Nigeria

WAY FORWARD

While Lawyers Alert is exploring the possibilities of going on appeal, it has met with Heartland Alliance International on the possible way forward for the above stated judgement and how best to execute possible plans. However, for enormous success to emerge from this development, all hands must be on deck. Stakeholders working on issues of this nature are encouraged to be part of this process.

Consequently, there is need for other International Development Actors to encourage the process by joining Lawyers Alert and Heartland Alliance International to maximize this rare opportunity in eradicating all forms of discrimination against sex workers, as well as prevent subsequent and foreseen mayhem which may arise.

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that all articles on this page are of the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

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