Trafficking in persons is a serious crime which often transcends borders (state or international) and is a grave violation of human rights.
Victims of human trafficking are deprived of their most basic human right which is the right to freedom, they are often forced into cruel and dehumanizing living and working conditions and are helpless to leave their exploitative situation or seek help.
In Nigeria, human trafficking is specifically criminalized under the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003. In addition, the Child Rights Act 2003 (CRA) also criminalizes child trafficking, but sadly only 25 of the country’s 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory, have enacted the law. FIDA encourages the remaining States to enact the CRA.
Section 82 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 defines “Trafficking or traffic in persons” as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power of a position of vulnerability or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person or debt bondage for the purpose of placing or holding the person whether for or not in involuntary servitude (domestic, sexual or reproductive) in forced or bonded labour, or in slavery-like conditions, the removal of organs or generally for exploitative purposes. There are indeed many facets to human trafficking for which we must be mindful of.
The act is evil and criminal and mostly targeted at vulnerable people; it must be stopped!
The UN theme for this year’s commemoration is “Working on the frontline to end human trafficking”, with a focus on the first responders to human trafficking. This covers the various people who work in the different sectors – those identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking; while also challenging the impunity of the traffickers.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, the essential role of first responders has become even more important, particularly as the restrictions imposed by the pandemic have made their work even more difficult. Still, their contribution is often overlooked and unrecognized. FIDA commends the effort and service of all first responders and all NGOs playing a key supporting role here.
According to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) 2019 report, two hundred and three cases were fully investigated by the Agency. Cases of child abuse and procurement of persons for sexual exploitation constituted 17.7% and 9.4% respectively. NAPTIP also reports that the average age of trafficked children in Nigeria is 15, while Nigeria has now upgraded to a Tier 2 country on the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report (2019). 75% of those who are trafficked within Nigeria are trafficked across states, while 23% are trafficked within states NAPTIP (2016) report. We must keep a careful watch on these numbers, and improve on data collection.
– Lack of adequate social service and support providers, such as medical care, housing, transportation, interpreters, counselling, and legal advice.
– Limited understanding of all aspects of labour trafficking based on clear definitions with properly laid out government programmes and policies for labour trafficked victims.
– Lack of proper co-ordination amongst key government agencies responsible for enforcing different aspects of workers’ rights often resulting in inadequate protection of victims
Many trafficked victims often fall prey because they seek a better life or enhanced economic opportunities. They are, therefore, vulnerable to false promises of good jobs and higher wages. Political instability, militarism, civil unrest, internal armed conflict, natural disasters and indeed the negative effects of the Covid19 pandemic can also result in an increased number of victims in trafficking.
The destabilization and displacement of communities as such increases their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse through trafficking and forced labor. Consequently, civil strife and people from displaced communities, living in IDP camps and so forth likewise results in a lot of orphans and street children who become extremely vulnerable and susceptible to trafficking. We must again be watchful and guard against this, while taking pre-emptive steps to greatly reduce such occurrences.
FIDA Nigeria therefore calls on all to support the fight against human trafficking
– Quip, collaborate with and support the various people who work in the different sectors, identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking especially the relevant agencies such as NAPTIP and NHRC
– Government needs to put greater protective and security measures in place to curtail the crime of human trafficking. -State and national borders need to be better regulated to ensure that people are not subjected to illegal transportation and exploitation.
– Ensure regular and consistent human trafficking awareness trainings and sensitization for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and employees, among others
– Advocacy/outreaches targeted at the youth/parents/guardians to help mitigate the menace of trafficking.
FIDA Nigeria appreciates the hard work agencies and ministries of government including NGOs are doing in this respect. FIDA pledges continued support in the fight against human trafficking and looks forward to more collaborations in this fight to ensure that women and children can live in a society free from exploitation and abuse.
FIDA NIGERIA says NO to all forms of trafficking
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
National Publicity Secretary
The Lagos State Ministry of Economic and Budget Planning received the delegates from FIDA Lagos, who paid a courtesy/advocacy visit to the Commissioner, on the 28 July, 2020. The delegates, while reiterating the core objectives of FIDA and other works done by FIDA Lagos on advocacy, continuous legal education, public sensitization programs on the rights of women and children including legislative reforms, informed the Commissioner of the ongoing project by FIDA National titled “United Nations Spotlight Initiative” in partnership with UN Women.
The project seeks to respond to all forms of violence against women and girls, with particular focus on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Harmful Practices (HP), beaming its spotlight on existential issues, with the view of achieving gender parity and women empowerment, in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The Commissioner was commended on the giant strides achieved by the ministry and was invited to be part of the workshop on Training of Parliamentarians on Gender Responsive Budgeting in August, 2020 to discuss effective gender responsive budget allocation and implementation in Lagos State.
Finally, FIDA Lagos urged the Honorable Commissioner to encourage more gender responsive budgeting including ensuring adequate allocation of funds to the education system, particularly, the primary and secondary schools to take care of the welfare of Children and in all spheres of the economy as the process makes it possible to identify uneven distribution of funds and overcome gender gaps in the polity.
1. Career women married to men not from their states of origin appear to be at the receiving end when major appointments are to be handed out in their husbands’ states. To what extent do actions like this discourage inter-tribal marriages?
Actions like this to a very large extent discourage inter-tribal marriages
We have seen several cases where the progress of women is hampered because they are not from a particular state even though the records reflect very clearly that they chose that state over their state of origin. Having married, they willingly live in their husband’s state of origin, have children there and bring them up there, while giving life there their best shot. They work in the state, even speaking the language yet when it comes to position, promotion, or entitlements, they are turned down on the basis of indigeneship. This is most unfair and unfortunate, and a great injustice to such women.
Particularly when Section 42 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution guarantees freedom from discrimination. SS (2) stresses that “No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of birth.”
On the basis of this right, women should ordinarily freely marry anyone from any state without thinking of long-term repercussions to them (such as being treated as second class citizens) in states they have lived and given their all to. This would not encourage a ‘one’ Nigeria and unity.
Worst of all as a developing nation we ought to be stressing merit, capacity to function, best experienced, most qualified; however sadly our focus seems myopic and is often based on tribalism and nepotism.
With this level of thinking where we are prepared to jettison merit, quality and competence for tribal sentiments, it would greatly set us back as a nation; this means our hardworking and industrious women will sit back and we would certainly not be opportune to get the best from all our citizens
We must as a nation remember our core values and visions for building a one Nigeria. Inter-tribal marriage helps to fully integrate us as a people particularly as it helps us build bridges and blend strengths against weaknesses.
For as long as the issue of indigeneship is used against women it will largely dissuade women from inter-tribal marriages and proper integration. If I have been victimized in marriage, the question is why would I allow my daughter or ward, to face that same challenge that would prevent her from realizing her full potentials.
As a people we must not do anything which is not fair or which brings about conflicts and divisiveness.
2. The House of Representatives in May last year endorsed double indigeneship for married women following the adoption of the report of a Bill for an Act to amend the Federal Character Commission (Establishment) Act, 2010. Despite that adoption, affected women are still being discriminated against in many ways. What are the available short and long-term reliefs?
The Constitution is the highest law of the land and we must all be guided by it. As aforesaid, It clearly provides against discrimination on the basis of gender, place of birth, etc. Nigeria in1985, also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1985. Furthermore, the African Charter on people and Human Rights also prohibits all forms of Discrimination. We can rely on all relevant laws to seek relief and enforce our fundamental rights.
Though we sometimes have situations where laws seem to contradict each other, the Constitution is supreme and any provision inconsistent with it must fail and be thrown out. The legislature can also in their function synchronize all laws to harmonize them so the right spirit is not defeated. Where a lacuna exists, they cover such areas.
For instance, the Character Commission (Establishment) Act, 2010, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria CAP F7, which gives Nigerian married women an option of indigeneship. The legislature amended Section 2 Part 11 of the Principal Act to state: “A married woman shall have the option to lay claim to her State or Local Government of origin for the purpose of implementation of the Federal Character formulae at the National level or state as the case maybe.”
Recourse therefore lies to the courts to enforce a beach of your fundamental rights.
The short-term reliefs are continuous engagements; dialogue and sensitization of all stakeholders; and encourage, more of such appointments.
While the long-term reliefs are Public Interest/Class Litigations. Women groups should go to court on issues of discriminations and let the court pronounce on it. Individual women affected can also go to the court in their personal capacity such as in the case of the Cross Rivers State Chief Judge
3. The constitution provides that no one should be discriminated against by the reason of several factors including circumstances of birth, place of origin, state of origin, religion, gender, and so on. What is the best way for the Federal Government to end this abhorrent behavior?
Discrimination no matter the basis is never a good thing. It is wrong and not progressive because it encourages divisiveness and disunity.
Yet we find that our culture and traditional beliefs including sometimes religion has greatly helped to institutionalize different types and levels of discrimination which negatively impact us.
Parity is fair, it brings with it opportunity, Peace and Harmony which are essential for growth and development. As a nation we must desire this.
The best ways to tackle and end this negativity is through the following ways for which everyone has a part to play:
Government must have the political will to address this matter clearly in a wholesome way, in a focused and targeted manner, deploying all its agencies and parastatals to all be on the same page. Review and check in balances, to correct and ensure parity
Advocacy and Sensitization, across board, aggressively pushing for a reorientation and change in values and attitude, engaging all persons of influence and key stakeholders to support and help bring a turn around.
The media can also assist especially with investigative journalism, doing expose’ on areas of concern and default, to force a change
Persons in authority such as parents, educational institutions can help change the narrative, re orientate, educate right to stop discrimination. Likewise, Faith based institutions and traditional leaders changing repugnant customs, rules and cultures
The legislature reviewing laws and policies of government
We must all join hands to stop discrimination using all available means to communicate effectively and accomplish. For instance, the use of: songs, jingles, talks, speeches, drama/plays, poems, posters, campaigns and outreaches and so forth to change the mindset and attitude and encourage positive reorientation.
The FGN and indeed State Governments at all levels must be very firm in upholding the positions of Section 42 of the 1999 CFRN. More appointments of Married women need to be made based on their state of marriage to drive home the point such that it gradually becomes a part of our psyche stressing the point that it is not a crime to be a woman, neither should gender or marital status determine how you should be treated
4. The Chairman, Ondo Youth Coalition, Ademario Emmanuel, said it was “insulting” for a Rivers woman married to an Ondo man to be handed a non-ambassadorial appointment when prominent sons and daughters that could take up the appointment are abound. How far backwards does a scenario like these push us as a people?
This scenario pushes us very far back. But unfortunately, a lot of people feel like that hence the need for concern and concerted effort for change.
As a people, a statement like this goes to show our mindset and thinking. Particularly when expressed by a leader; and even sadder when representing and speaking for the youth, our future generation who must be progressive for the betterment of our great nation.
They should be propagating inclusiveness, unity and oneness, their key words should be competence and capacity; merit, character and experience, rather than sentiments bordering on tribalism, state of origin and indigeneship.
We do not want as a nation to regress therefore we must keep speaking out against any form of divisiveness, and this negative mindset. Let us educate and enlighten our people. Our laws mean well for us as a people, let us implement them objectively
The world has greatly advanced and most are building capacity using all available capacity to advance and develop their nations. It is for this reason that Nigerians who have relocated abroad, work hard and based on merit become heads and leaders of major corporations, mayors and councilors in a foreign land. If this is the norm then why not so in Nigeria. All over the world now racism is being fought. We must also fight all types and levels of discrimination in the country.
Society must embrace change; we desire development and progress. Acknowledge the full potentials of your citizens, build capacity. Allow self-expression and actualization. That we practice federalism and allow states to determine what should be applicable should not be used for mischief by states. Equity and Justice is Paramount
5. What steps is FIDA taking to ensure that Governor Ben Ayade confirms Justice Akon Ikpeme as the state’s chief judge, in compliance with the dictates of the National Judicial Commission (NJC) that so ordered?
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, had issued a statement condemning the action and calling on the Cross River State Governor, His Excellency, Sir Ben Ayade, to swear in Hon. Justice Ikpeme as the Chief Judge of the State on the basis of seniority and merit.
However, the matter is in court now and has become sub judice.
Beyond Cross Rivers State, FIDA Nigeria has been in the forefront, using the instrumentality of the Law to ensure that women in Nigeria are accorded their rightful place.
In addition, FIDA has embarked on sensitization, advocacies to key stakeholders on the promotion and the protection of women’s rights in Nigeria, including carrying out capacity building, mediation and litigation etc.
Our message here is simple -State of indigene cannot now be used against a judge, we must not allow the issue of ethnicity and politics to be the deciding factor in the appointment of a Chief Judge.
Once she is qualified and is recommended, she merits it having served diligently. Section 271(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) confirms this position and is further supported by our legal professional rules of practice.
The NJC must not therefore be intimidated by anybody but must be allowed to do their work independently without political or ethic coloration or undertones
FIDA has addressed this issue nationally being that this challenge has been faced in several other states in Nigeria; even calling on the Chief Judge of the Federation for intervention.
6. Considering the manner, which incidents like that involving Justice Ikpeme cut short the career of married women, would it be out of place for parents to caution their daughters to be wary of where they search for love?
Bearing in mind these dynamics, it may not be out of place for a parent to entertain such fears and to caution their daughters against inter-tribal marriages explaining the dangers of discrimination as unfortunate as it sounds.
However, I advise against this, rather let us all join hands and stand up against any injustice; while instilling equity and social justice in all matters.
Marriage should certainly not be based on tribe, but on mutual love, trust, respect and understanding.
As highlighted above, women as a matter of course, constantly experience all forms of discrimination. What is therefore important, is for us to understand that every human being, deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and be accorded all rights recognized by Law. As such, discouraging inter-tribal marriage is not the solution, but rather, eradicating all forms of discriminations against women in its entirety. We must practice this.
Parents being key influencers have a role to play in formation and changing the mindset of Children. This means if there is a concerted effort by parents to properly positively stop discrimination against women; it will be successful. This must include encouraging a change in attitude, change in mindset, change the orientation, improve on moral teachings that encourage parity, then we would be making tremendous progress in the right direction.
7. Many are of the view that sub-ethnic undertones that impact negatively on inter-tribal marriages also contribute to the absence of national harmony. Is it not time for a national introspection?
Of course, the earlier the better for our beautiful country; because ‘though tongue or tribe may differ in brotherhood we stand.’ That is the vision we should cherish and hold dear.
Consequently, Government and her agencies must be constantly monitoring and strategizing to ensure we move away from any form of individualism and self-preservation to patriotism and unity
There is a need to change the mindset and reorientation and this must be consistent, targeted and focused. We should dwell more on what binds us together as a people. Government must check itself and correct itself setting the right example
8. Despite opposition from Ondo youths, the Senate on Wednesday (today) confirmed Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe as a non-career ambassadors-designate from Ondo State. How strong is this message from the National Assembly, and what lessons are there for Ondo youths?
The lessons include the following:
The Nigerian Constitution forbids discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnicity and so forth against any Nigerian citizen.
We must move away from tribal sentiments and set good precedent to secure our unity as a nation, build bridges across states that bind us together to grow our democracy
Rather than being objects of discrimination, women who have found love outside their places of origin, having married and settled in other States and contributing immensely to the growth and development of the people, should be supported, welcomed, encouraged to succeed, accepted whole heartedly and protected
Women are industrious, hardworking and they often sacrifice for the benefit of their family and loved ones. When supported and encouraged they positively project and contribute immensely to the development of the community. Furthermore, they act as mentors to others under their care. We must not discourage or frustrate them and their mentees so they always give their best while contributing their own quota to the advancement of the State.
Beyond personal and tribal sentiments, lets promote peace, equity, good conscience and justice. Uphold true democracy and meritocracy
I commend the President of FRN and indeed the National Assembly for the position they took in respect of Mrs. Opunimi Akinkugbe’s nomination as a non-career Ambassador
How can a mother be rejected but her children and grandchildren are accepted? How is this fair and equitable? We reject this mindset and must all rise up and speak out against this.
As we educate and empower the girl child, she must be opportune to break any glass ceiling, so let us equip and support her to accomplish her full potential. The nation needs her input as a citizen
I encourage focus on merit and qualifications, efficiency and professionalism. Our desire is good development and progress rather than trivializing issues constantly with gender and tribal sentiments which causes divisiveness, conflict and disunity.
FIDA NIGERIA stands against all forms of discrimination and injustice.
National Public Relations Officer
On the 23rd July 2020, FIDA Nigeria Inaugurated her 34th branch, FIDA Nigeria Bauchi State Branch. The occasion was attended by His Excellency (Senator) Bala Mohammed, Governor Bauchi State and his wife the First Lady- Her Excellency Hajiya Aishatu Bala Mohammed, the Country Vice President FIDA Nigeria Rhoda Prevail Tyoden, Deputy Country Vice President Amina Agbaje alongside FIDA members. It was indeed a great success.
FIDA Nigeria, Lagos State Branch Trains CSOs on National Action Plan on Gender and Government’s Accountability for Budget Allocation
FIDA Nigeria, Lagos State branch on July 6th and 7th , 2020 held her Capacity building workshop on training of CSOs on the National Action Plan on Gender and Government’s Accountability for Budget Allocation and Release, and Monitoring of the Budget Utilisation.
The keynote speaker Mrs Josephine Effah-Chukwuma a leading Activist on gender based violence and women’s human rights in Nigeria and currently the Executive Director of Project Alert on Violence against women and support victims in Nigeria, stressed on the basic objective of the training, which was on how to hold the Government’s accountable for budget allocation and release, monitoring of the budget’s utilization and Gender Responsive Budgeting for VAWG/GBV/HP.
FIDA condemns totally the current media drama playing out on the spat between the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Dr Joi Nunieh, the former acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The unfolding events, allegations and counter-allegations have been most unfortunate, unbelievable and damning, completely shocking to Nigerians. The fight between key officers of the commission and the supervising ministry is a show of shame at a time when most Nigerians are challenged by the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
There are laid out protocols, processes, procedures and proper channels to tackling grievances, conflicts and disputes within corporations without removing the confidence of the people in the institution set up to offer succor to the people.
We demand responsibility, decorum and accountability from our leaders and persons in authority. Best practices must be used in all dealings.
Accordingly, a person’s gender and marital status in life are of no consequence to how efficient and meritorious their service and work culture would be.
Section 42(1) (a) (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Nigeria provides that no one should be discriminated against by reason of ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion arising out of any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government
Reference can also be made to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly for which Nigeria is a signatory. These provisions cannot be undermined.
FIDA Nigeria condemns in its entirety the invasion of the privacy and attack on the person of Dr Joi Nunieh, the former acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio. Senator Godswill Akpabio has by these actions breached his oath of office and Section 42 of the Constitution which forbids discrimination on the basis of sex and the provision of Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (International Treaty) which Nigeria is a signatory.
Similarly, all allegations of sexual harassment, assault and violence must be investigated. These are weighty allegations which must not be covered up particularly at a time when a State of Emergency has been declared by the Federal Government against all forms of Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
FIDA stands to defend and advocate for the protection of all human rights. Therefore, a woman’s pride, respect and dignity must be assured against any form of discrimination and abuse; we totally reject any assault on womanhood.
Women should not be ridiculed nor any aspersions cast on them by reason of measuring their success or failure at work or in life on the basis of their private matrimonial status. There is no proof to support that marriage ensures proficiency of women in their workplace. The insinuation is in itself derogatory
We call on President Muhamadu Buhari to promptly intervene in this matter to ensure a prompt resolution to this crises; the prosecution and punishment of all who have a case to answer and the need to put in place measures to reform the NDDC so the people of the Niger Delta can still enjoy the benefits which ought to accrue to them in terms of development and progress.
Justice must be seen to be done.
Signed for FIDA Nigeria:
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
National Publicity Secretary
FIDA Nigeria in collaboration with the Spotlight Initiative host a training of CSOs on the provisions of National Action Plan on Gender in the FCT
As part of efforts to grow and sustain partnerships in the fight against Sexual and Gender based violence, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria Abuja branch implemented a two-part Spotlight Initiative project targeted at training other Civil Society Organizations on the following:
a. Concept of Gender Based Violence, which held on the 23rd of June 2020. The training addressed salient issues on gender based violence, reproductive health rights and considered all relevant applicable laws. In attendance were FHI 360, DEVATOP, LEDAP.
b. Provisions on the National Action Plan on gender and government’s accountability for budget allocation and release and monitoring of the budget utilization. This held on the 10th of July 2020. In attendance were WRAPA, WLI, SGBVRT, SOAR.
FIDA Nigeria, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, distributed a variety of food and other items as palliatives to indigent women in Aso Pada community in Maraba border settlement between Nasarawa and Abuja on 11th of June, 2020
The occasion also served as an Advocacy visit to the community as they were sensitized on topical issues such as Gender Based Violence (GBV), Defilement & Rape; also on the Covid19 Pandemic and the need for compliance with Federal Ministry of Health guide lines
The FIDA Nigeria County Vice President, Rhoda Prevail Tyoden while addressing the women emphasized the need for parents to be more watchful over their children/wards to prevent such evil acts on them and encouraged victims and their parents/guardians to also speak out rather than covering it up.
The Paramount need to likewise educate the boy child on the evils and dangers of GBV was pointed out. FIDA Nigeria, Abuja State Branch also attended the outreach/advocacy visit and ably supported FIDA Nigeria.
FIDA Nigeria protecting, sensitizing and supporting the vulnerable in our communities.
The Hon. Chief Judge of Kaduna State Hon Justice M. L Bello, Commissions FIDA Kaduna Legal Clinic and Counselling Centre, donated to FIDA by Jam’iyyar Matan Arewa in company of the former A.G Kaduna State Mrs. Joana Kadiya, the Controller of Corrections Kaduna State Command and the Chairman NBA Kaduna Branch S.A Audu.
FIDA Nigeria mourns the passing of a great Fidan, Pioneer Chairperson FIDA Nigeria Oyo State Branch .
‘Mama’ as she was fondly called, was indeed a great inspiration to many; an exemplary leader who led a very impactful life, touching different lives as a mother, friend, sister, colleague, associate and mentor.
She was resolute in her cause of positively improving the lot of women and children, particularly in Oyo State.
This is a great loss to all Fidans, especially Fida Oyo State branch and NBA members. Our Learned Silk, will be sorely missed.
FIDA Nigeria wishes to express her most sincere condolences to the family of our dear Mama P. C. Ajayi-Obe (Erinle).
May her soul rest eternally in the bosom of the Lord. Amen