On Saturday 30th July 2022, FIDA Uyo Branch joined the world to commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
The theme of this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, “The Use and Abuse of Technology” highlights that the misuse of technology has significantly increased the illict business of trafficking.
FIDA Uyo commends the efforts of NAPTIP and other organizations in combating the crime of human trafficking, particularly, the recently launched National Action Plan against Human Trafficking.
We strongly believe that the implementation of the Action Plan will significantly curb the menace of human trafficking.
We live in a world of technology, and it has become an integral part of our daily lives shaping everything we do. As we commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2022, with the theme “Use and abuse of technology” we find this
theme apt as perpetrators of trafficking have continued to evolve.
This year’s theme focuses on the role of technology as a tool that can both enable and impede human trafficking.
It is reported that Traffickers currently use technology to profile, recruit, control, and exploit their victims as well as using the Internet, (especially the dark web), to hide illegal materials stemming from trafficking in addition to hiding their real identities from investigators.
Trafficking in persons is the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud, or deception, with the aim of exploiting them (UNODC). This is a grave violation of one’s human rights. As with the rest of the world, trafficking in persons poses a great challenge in Nigeria, some of the regular cases of trafficking in Nigeria as reported by NAPTIP include forced migration, sex trafficking, recruitment of persons for organ harvesting, trafficking in slaves, attempt to commit an offense under this Act, tampering with evidence, forced marriage, illegal adoption, custody battle and abuse of Power
According to UNODC’s Global report on trafficking the most common form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation (79%), and often times the victims of sexual exploitation are frequently girls. Similarly, the 2021 report by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTP) indicates that 1,112 cases of trafficking in persons were reported in the year under review with 35.8% being cases of sexual exploitation and illegal migration which in most cases are for prostitution.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 60% of trafficked victims constitute children with the larger chunk from west Africa (Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020, UNODC).
Due to the rising incidence of trafficking in this part of the world, we must take deliberate steps toward mitigating this challenge.
Often times, victims of trafficking are exploited because of their vulnerabilities such as the desire to escape domestic violence, poverty, mental or physical disabilities, homelessness, and migration for greener pastures.
With the global advancement in technological space, especially in communications, information of users on the world wide web is now previewed to a wider range of people, depending on the user’s privacy settings, personal information could even be accessed by strangers.
The role of technology in aiding and abetting victims of trafficking cannot be ignored either, perpetrators have transitioned from physical means of recruitment to virtual, technology most especially, social media serves as a platform where perpetrators can access potential victims due to their vulnerabilities and even computer illiteracy.
In most cases, the perpetrators impersonate certain positions they are not in a bid to lure online targets based on the information gotten from their interactions, these challenges are not only limited to the use of technology for the act but also as a means.
Victims can be sexually exploited by distributing pornographic content gotten illegally, the mental effect on the victim can take a long time as long as these materials remain in circulation; other effects can be stigmatization and withdrawal from society.
The DG of NAPTIP Dr Fatima Waziri–Azi, in the 2022 counter-trafficking strategic approach meeting reported cases of trafficking and other forms of exploitation via online means with a surge since the beginning of covid-19. Pandemic.
There have been several incidences, one of which is worthy of note which is the case of Iniubong Umoren who was in search for a job on social media, she was lured to a fake job interview and was eventually raped and killed in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
It is no doubt that trafficking has become a recurrent challenge in Nigeria and the world at large.
Despite its obvious challenges, technology is also an important asset for combatting trafficking which includes awareness creation on how trafficking networks operate, aid investigations, provide services to victims.
FIDA Nigeria calls on all the relevant stakeholders to build the capacity of the masses on digital literacy. Also, harness technology in efforts to counter trafficking in persons by imploring all necessary tools.
• Use of technology such as social media, facial recognition, geofencing, and geotagging to track perpetrators.
• Strategic collaboration and synergy between CSOs, Government agencies, and security apparatus. For example, NAPTIP’s collaboration with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to enhance tracing and diligent investigation of all cases relating of child abuse and human trafficking.
FIDA Nigeria appreciates the hard work agencies and ministries of government including NGOs are doing in this respect and pledges continued support in the fight against human trafficking, as we will continue to partner with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to ensure that women and children can live in a society free from exploitation and abuse
FIDA Nigeria stands against all forms of trafficking humans, let’s put an end to it.
Amina Suzanah Agbaje (Mrs)
Country Vice /National President
On the 28th day of July 2022, Justice Usman Naabba of the Kano State High Court sentenced the Proprietor of Noble Kids College Kano, Abdulmalik Muhammmad Tanko (38), and two others to death by hanging for the kidnapping and killing of Hanifa Abubakar, a five-year-old pupil.
They had conspired and kidnapped the late Hanifa, thereafter they killed and buried her in a shallow grave in Northwest Preparatory School, located at Kwanar Yan Ghana, in Nassarawa LGA, Kano
Justice is therefore served in this matter with the prompt trial and sentencing of the accused persons. This should also serve as a deterrent to others
Earlier today, the Deputy Team Leader & Program Director at Palladium, Dr. Omarzaman Sayedi in the company of Chief of Party, SCALE Lydia Odeh and Eric Umoru Social Protection and Inclusion Advisor Palladium, paid a visit to the Country Vice/National President FIDA Nigeria, Amina Suzanah Agbaje at the FIDA Nigeria National Secretariat Abuja.
The essence of the visit was to evaluate the successes achieved by FIDA Nigeria being one of the resource partners implementing the SCALE project. At the end of the visit, FIDA and SCALE had a better understanding for providing better approaches on delivering maximum report on the project
FIDA Nigeria Celebrates Tobi Amusan as the First Nigerian Athlete to Win A World Athletics Championship Gold Medal
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria celebrates Tobi Amusan, the first Nigerian athlete to win a World Athletics Championship gold medal as she stormed to victory in the women’s 100m hurdles in Oregon, USA on Sunday 24th July 2022.
Oluwatobiloba Ayomide “Tobi” Amusan (born 23 April 1997) is a Nigerian track and field athlete who specializes in the 100 metres hurdles and competes as a sprinter.
FIDA celebrates her as a great inspiration to others because she has proven that hard work, dedication, focus, and perseverance pays.
Having won the 2022 World Athletics Championship in the 100 metres hurdles, she has set a new world record of 12.12 seconds in the semifinal, then a wind-assisted 12.06 in the final.
Tobiloba was the 2018 Commonwealth and 2018 African champion and is also a two-time African Games champion in the same event. A woman of great fete, she won the Diamond League Trophy in Zurich in 2021 in the 100m hurdles.
We applaud her efforts and successes and call on other young girls to emulate her as a worthy Nigerian woman setting the pace in her chosen field.
It was a moment for sober reflection for some elderly women who had been victims of gender-based violence, when the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Nigeria, Plateau State chapter, staged a campaign against sexual and gender-based violence in Gyel community of Jos South Local Government Area of the state.
The campaign began with the presentation of an action plan against gender-based violence to the Dagwom Rwey of Jos South, Da Ngah Dangyang, with a strong call to key into the fight against cultural norms that were injurious to women.
A 73-year-old woman, Esther Williams, who was a victim, said she was denied access to education because of her male siblings. She said she was made to work in the farm and do other menial jobs to sponsor the education of her brothers.
Esther said her father did not give her anything as inheritance but willed all his property to her brothers.
She said: “This reminded me of what happened when we were children. There was sentiment against the girl-child, whereby the boy-child would be sent to school and always protected. We are happy that such cultural norms are being addressed for a healthy society.
“For some of us, we were denied education only for our male siblings to go to school, while we don’t share in the inheritance of our parents. This practice set back the African society, which affected us greatly.”
The state chairperson of FIDA, Mrs. Obioma Achilefu, who led hundreds of women to Gyel community market and COCIN secondary schools to sensitize women and girls on their rights in the society, such as right to education like the boy-child, said gender violence should be avoided for the development of society.
Achilefu told the traditional ruler to use his office and ensure that women in the community got their share of the inheritance of their parents, which is currently being left as birthrights for the menfolk.
She noted that most women were dying in silence in their homes due to the previlence of gender-based violence that inflicts pains and agony on them.
According to her, the project, which was sponsored by Ford Foundation and implemented by FIDA, was aimed at sensitizing women and girls on their rights and to kick against all forms of gender-based violence.
She said: “We are happy that the key players have agreed on an action plan to ensure that all the socio-cultural activities that affect women negatively are nipped in the bud.
“We are here to disseminate the action plan and to create awareness for those whom these norms have not helped. We talking about norms such as women not having right of inheritance, culture of genital mutilation, rape and all forms of gender-based violence.
“We have come to tell the community that everybody should rise up, everybody should speak out, people should not keep quiet when there is gender-based violence, children should be exposed to education to have them understand the right that the laws of the land has given them.”
Former commissioner of justice, Plateau State, Olivia Dazyam, appreciated the Ford Foundation for sponsoring the programme and Gyel community for embracing the programme to correct most societal ills.
“We have challenges of sexual and gender-based violence in the community and female disinheritance, widowhood and dangerous practices such as rape and domestic violence, among others.
“For two years now, we have been interacting and empowering the community to arise and speak out against the dangerous practices. We are happy that, at the end, the community came out with an action plan that they will pursue to ensure the practice of sexual and gender-based violence are eliminated in the community,” she said.
The programme officer, FIDA, Plateau State, Rita A. Lasoju, and former chairperson of FIDA, Plateau State, Mary Izam, said the programme was to create awareness on gender rights among women and girls.
Lasoju noted that there has been prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence, female disinheritance, economic violence, and rape, among others. So, the community came together and developed an action plan to tackle the menace in the area.
The secretary of Dagwom Rwey of Jos South, Jonathan Dangyang, said the traditional institution has accepted the project and would do everything within the ambit of the law to minimize and eliminate gender-based violence in the community and ensure equal rights between the boy-child and the girl-child.
The sensitization walk enlightened people against the danger of sexual violence such as rape, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and harmful traditional practices, among others.
by Gyang Bere
Peer-to-peer Learning and Coaching Session for Trained Traditional/Community Leaders and CSOs in Nothern Nigeria
FIDA Nigeria as part of activities under the Palladium SCALE Project conducted a mentoring, coaching and peer-to-peer learning session for trained traditional/community leaders and civil society organizations under the project focal states from Northern Nigeria in Katsina, Katsina State on 21st July 2022. At the end of the session, the communities and civil society organizations developed a shared understanding for developing better coordination mechanisms and effective preventive and response strategies and referral pathways on SGBV & CEFM prevalent in focal communities on this intervention.
FIDA Nigeria on the 20th of July 2022 was before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to present a memo on 7 bills at the Public Hearing
The three bills FIDA commented on were:
1. Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2022 (SB.920);
2. Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2022 (SB.926);
3. African Union Convention on the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (Domestication and Enforcement) Bill, 2021 (SB.763);
FIDA Nigeria Memo was read by Ms Ogechi Abu on behalf of the Country Vice President, Ms Amina Suzanah Agbaje, who was unavoidably absent.
The committee appreciated FIDA Nigeria for fulfilling its mandate and for constantly showing up.
The FIDA NIGERIA team was also represented by: Ms Mariam Omeiza, Ms Rahila Dauda and Mr Ifeanyi Eze.
FIDA Nigeria commends the work on the proposed ACJA bill and also appreciates its partners on the Joint EU- UN spotlight initiative for its contributions and support at the public hearing.
FIDA Nigeria, Ekiti branch with support from Ford Foundation on the 8th of July 2022, conducted a community sensitization in Ilawe-Ekiti by disseminating validated Action Plans and fliers containing articles on Gender-Based Violence.
The team was received by High Chief Ajibade Olubunmi, representing the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi (Afuntade I) at the Alawe Palace.
The members of the GBV Surveillance Team in Ilawe-Ekiti comprising of Traditional Leaders, Religious Leaders, Market Chiefs, Commercial Transporters, the Nigerian police force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and The Head of Primary Health Care(PHC). were formally introduced to the Oba.
FIDA Ekiti Chairperson gave a summary of the project and its impact on Ilawe-Ekiti Community after which copies of the Validated Action Plan, Fliers, and Consent Form were distributed to the Representative of the Monarch.
The High Chief in his remark thanked Ford Foundation and FIDA for choosing the Community for implementation of the project. He read out the content of the Commitment Form and signed same subsequently.
FIDA Ekiti and the GBV Surveillance Team thereafter went into the marketplace where they were introduced to the Community.
The Community were sensitized in Yoruba and Igbo Languages as well as Ekiti dialect. The Validated Action Plan was conspicuously hung at a strategic position where members of the community can read.
Subsequently, The team went to Ekiti State Girls Model College for sensitization where we had an audience of over 200 students. It was a highly interactive session with the students and teachers. Copies of the Validated Action Plan and fliers were donated to the school for its library. It was indeed an impactful outing.
The Osun Governorship Elections came to a conclusion as Nigeria’s Electoral Umpire the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the 17th day of July 2022 declared Senator Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party, the winner of the polls having secured the highest number of votes cast during the election.
INEC records already in the public domain confirm that Senator Ademola Adeleke through a total number of 403,371 votes defeated the other fourteen opponents to emerge as the winner of the election, placing the incumbent Governor Mr. Gboyega Oyetola on second place with a total of 375,027 votes.
It is important to note that democracy thrives when the security of life and property as well as the safety of the electorate, electoral officials, materials, and critical infrastructures are guaranteed before, during, and after elections. The outcomes of this election align with our preliminary statements/findings earlier presented which recorded that the elections were generally peaceful with adequate security and logistical arrangements provided by the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) well in place.
We commend eligible voters and all citizens of the state that participated actively in the process for their commitment and dedication to achieving a violent free election. We further commend INEC for the professionalism and dedication exhibited by most of her Adhoc staff which contributed to the early arrival of voting materials and personnel thus bringing credibility to the process. In addition, we commend the security agencies especially officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force for their dedication and commitment to free and fair elections.
FIDA Nigeria through her situation room situated in Oshogbo and Abuja respectively observed the participation of women and persons with disabilities during this Osun State Governorship Election which was held on Saturday 16th July 2022 through a network of her trained citizen observers deployed to monitor the process across the Local Government Areas of Osun State.
FIDA Nigeria with support from Goree Institute under the Charter Africa Project developed and deployed a monitoring tool via our trained citizen observers which were used in documenting election incidences and recording the participation of women and persons with disabilities during the election. Other information relating to election incidents is obtained from credible media sources and civil society actors respectively.
FIDA Nigeria’s Observations culminated in the dissemination of our pre-election statements on Thursday 14th and preliminary statements on Saturday 16th of July 2022. FIDA Nigeria through her observations provides a further post-election update on our findings as highlighted below:
2.1. Moderate Turnout of Voters:
FIDA Nigeria observed from INEC official results that 804,450 persons exercised their franchise at the polls from a total of 1.95 million registered voters across the state. This indicates that about 42.37% of registered voters actually participated in the polls with about 58.8% abstaining from the voting process. Comparatively the turnout is lower than in 2018, 2014, and 2003 Governorship Elections where about 45.74%, 53.14%, and 58.63% of the total voting population respectively exercised their franchise accordingly.
The implication of this outcome means that there needs to be an improved voter’s awareness strategy by all stakeholders towards ensuring an increase in the voting population even as confidence is gradually restored due to the impeccable performance of INEC and the existence of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.
2.2. Close of Polls
FIDA Nigeria’s observers reported that at about 4 pm, 87% of polling units observed had concluded voting and counting of votes had either commenced or ended accordingly. However, about 13% of polling units visited still had the voting process ongoing after 4pm due to the late arrival of the electoral materials or malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine. For instance at polling unit 5, ward 4, Ede North LGA, voting was observed ongoing after the hours of 4pm, similarly, in some polling units across Irepodun LGA and polling unit 1, St Peter Primary School, Odo-Otin LGA, voting was observed ongoing even as polls ended across most polling units. On this outcome, we would clamor for more effective and efficient service delivery from INEC ahead of the next elections.
2.3. Presence of Political Party Agents in Polling Units.
FIDA Nigeria observed that 48% of the polling units observed had more than three (3), party agents, on ground, while 44% of polling units visited were observed to have had three (3) party agents, and 8% of polling units were observed to have had only two (2) party agents present at the polling units. Furthermore, political party agents were observed to not have engaged in an open campaign in at least 96% of the polling units we covered and were reported to have agreed with the sanctity of the process by signing the election results across all polling units covered by our observers. Similarly, our observers reported that election results were displayed across all polling units visited.
2.4. Secrecy of the Ballot
FIDA Nigeria observed that the ballot process was transparent and fair in 87% of polling units covered by our observers, while voters in more than 78% of the covering polling units voted in secrecy. Our observers reasonably noted the election was free and fair in polling units except with the incidents of vote buying occurring in 16% of the polling units by leading political parties between the sum of N2, 000 to N5000 respectively.
2.5. Presence of Security Personnel
Our observation recorded an adequate number of Security agents present in 84% of the polling units covered. Our findings revealed this proportion were unarmed with firearms, however, 16% were reportedly armed with firearms. Security personnel were further reported to have conducted themselves without partialism.
2.6. Priority Voting for Persons with Disabilities & Vulnerable Population
FIDA Nigeria observed that persons with disabilities, the elderly/aged, pregnant women, and nursing mothers were prioritized in the voting process by INEC Adhoc Officials. Our Observers reported that Persons living with disabilities were prioritized in at least 56% of the polling units. While only 32% of the polling units provided special kits for persons living with disabilities however 68% of the polling units did not make such provisions. For instance, a gentleman living with albinism used a magnifying glass provided by INEC, to search for his name on the Register of Voters and subsequently casted his vote at Polling Unit 14, Ward 7, Ede North LGA.
Similarly, in polling unit 004, ward 10, Ife Central LGA, nursing mothers, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities were prioritized thus exercising their franchise speedily. At polling unit 003, ward 1, Olorunda LGA, pregnant women and the Elderly were prioritized by Electoral Officials. Furthermore, at Polling Unit 23, Ward 5, Oshogbo LGA, Pregnant women & the Elderly were prioritized accordingly. However, at polling unit 12, Ward 2, Ife North LGA, only persons with disabilities were prioritized while at Polling Unit 02, Ward 4, Oshogbo LGA, we observed that there was no preference for women, the aged, and persons with disabilities. Generally, 80% of the polling units prioritized pregnant women, the elderly, and nursing mothers.
In view of our pre-election, preliminary, and post-election observations/findings during the election, FIDA Nigeria recommends the following to deepen the electoral process in Nigeria ahead of the general elections in 2023:
- Prosecution of electoral offenders reported to have committed all forms of electoral offenses in contravention to the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) to serve as a deterrent to others.
- We observed that only 32% of the polling units as reported had in place special kits for persons living with disabilities however 68% of the polling units did not have any such provisions. Based on these findings, INEC should put in place the electoral needs of persons with disabilities to aid their full participation in future elections in Nigeria. This can be achieved through, for example, the provision of adequate sensitive materials such as braille for voters who have visual impairments.
- Train and retrain electoral officers and ad-hoc staff to enable them to deliver services that are adequate to the changing needs of the electorates in Nigeria.
- For future elections in Osun state and given the persistent below-average voter turnout in the last two Governorship Elections (2018, & 2022), We urge INEC to embark on high-level dialogues with key stakeholders including traditional and religious leaders towards encouraging the participation of more female electorates, persons with disability, and citizens, in general, in exercising their franchise at subsequent elections.
3.2. Security Agencies
- FIDA Nigeria is calling on all security agencies deployed for election duty to arrest and investigate all persons involved in acts of vote buying reported in different parts of the state for prosecution;
- A continuous need to adhere to the principles of impartiality and neutrality toward securing the polls which will in turn mitigate violence perpetuated during elections especially those targeted at women.
3.3. Politicians and Political Parties
i) Should maintain peace and be magnanimous in victory.
ii) They should work with all Osun citizens including those in the opposition parties to improve the governance of the state.
- Should desist from the production of sensational headlines and hate speeches that contribute to increased tension before, during, and after elections;
- Should verify and fact-check all information received before disseminating it to the public.
- They should remain professional, neutral, and non-partisan in the discharge of duties.
Long Live Osun State.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Amina Agbaje (Mrs)
Country Vice President/National President.