Empowering Community Leaders to Combat Violence Against Women in Elections: FIDA Nigeria’s Workshop in Bayelsa State
In a significant stride towards fostering gender equality and amplifying women’s voices in the electoral process, FIDA Nigeria, in collaboration with the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), organized a One-Day Capacity Building Workshop for Community Leaders. The event, held in Bayelsa State, was specifically designed to address the pressing issue of Violence against Women in Elections.
The primary aim of this workshop was to equip community leaders with the knowledge and tools necessary to identify and combat factors contributing to violence against women during electoral processes. By nurturing a comprehensive understanding of these critical issues, participants were empowered to proactively safeguard the rights and safety of women in the upcoming November 11, 2023 off-cycle Governorship Election.
Central to the workshop’s agenda was the establishment of robust referral channels between communities and prominent security agencies. This strategic move is poised to revolutionize the response mechanism for incidents of violence against women, ensuring swift action and a safer environment for female participants in the political arena.
Moreover, the initiative aspires to fortify a resilient community protection framework, with a special emphasis on indigenous women and other vulnerable populations in Bayelsa State. By prioritizing inclusivity and equal representation, this endeavor seeks to create an environment where every voice is heard and valued.
FIDA Nigeria extends heartfelt gratitude to the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives for their generous support, which has played a pivotal role in transforming this vision into a tangible reality. The CFLI’s commitment to championing the cause of women’s rights on an international scale exemplifies the profound impact that collaborative efforts can have in dismantling barriers and fostering a more inclusive society.
As the echoes of this workshop reverberate through Bayelsa State, it is anticipated that the knowledge and empowerment gained by community leaders will be instrumental in paving the way for a more equitable and just electoral process. This initiative serves as a testament to the power of collective action in effecting positive change and advancing the cause of gender equality.
Sexual Harassment of Female Students as an insidious form of Gender-Based Violence MUST be STOPPED!!!
FIDA Nigeria strongly condemns in its entirety and in the strongest terms possible, all forms of gender-based violence against women, particularly those against female students in secondary and tertiary institutions by staff of the institutions, such as teachers and lecturers. In this vein, FIDA Nigeria totally condemns the alleged sexual harassment of female students by the embattled Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon as reported recently in various news platforms.
We vehemently denounce these acts as vile and an ugly menace that must be eradicated from our institutions of learning, and our society at large. Students are in school to be educated and must be guided and protected while learning, not to be intimidated and taken advantage of because of their vulnerability and/or gender.
It is alarming that sexual harassment of females particularly in tertiary institutions has assumed a perilously critical dimension, constituting a horrifying kind of violence targeted at violating the fundamental human rights of a person. It is a form of sexual victimization of an individual using unequal power relations. This pandemic is so vile and encompasses acts revolving around explicit or implicit sexual overtures including unwelcome sexual remarks or physical advances, and inappropriate promises of reward in exchange for sexual favours in the workplace, professional or social setting amongst others.
These acts have been criminalized by the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015 and indeed, the extant VAPP Law of Cross Rivers State. Being that the state and all persons of goodwill are under a duty to give effect to these statutory provisions against all forms of violence, including desisting from aiding and/or abetting of same in any manner or to any degree, FIDA Nigeria therefore unequivocally condemns the alleged intimidation of some of the students who bravely spoke up on the alleged Ndifon’s case, currently under investigation.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, by her professional calling and the expectations of her ministerial office, owes a duty of leading the charge towards protecting women from all acts of abuse, including encouraging and supporting victims of sexual and gender-based violence to break the culture of silence and get justice, hence the alleged distasteful manner in which she interrogated the vulnerable and possibly traumatized students is shocking and greatly disappointing
FIDA Nigeria is keenly observing, and shall not hesitate to proceed against such perpetrators, and all persons or individuals who support such acts of violence either by their utterances or actions/ inaction, or who may try to suppress the reportage of these sort of violence meted out to persons. We remain steadfast on our mandate to protect, promote, and preserve the rights of vulnerable women and children using the instrumentality of law, strongly supporting and standing behind all survivors of violence of any kind, including those of sexual harassment and all forms of gender-based violence, and encouraging them to speak up on these crimes as their voices are meant to be heard, and justice delivered for the crimes perpetrated against them.
In conclusion, as the probe panel constituted to further investigate all facets of this case against the embattled Dean Prof C. Ndifon continue in their task, FIDA Nigeria is closely monitoring the proceedings and shall not stand by and watch perpetrators and supporters of these heinous crimes whether highly placed or not, harass, cower, intimidate, badger, suppress and or attempt to wriggle their way out of facing justice and shall follow this matter intently to ensure that justice is gotten at the end of the day, as no one is above the law.
Therefore, we call on the Government, NAPTIP, Law Enforcement Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, and indeed everyone to stand up against this scourge that has slowly crept into the fabric of our nation and ensure that all forms of violence in whatever form it presents itself is stopped!!
We also call on all Students to Stand Tall and Speak their Truth!
Amina Suzanah Agbaje, (Mrs.)
Country Vice President/National President
FIDA Nigeria Held a One-day Workshop on Plea Bargain as a Tool for Speedy Dispensation of Corruption Cases
”Plea Bargain as a Tool for Speedy Dispensation of Corruption Cases”
This was the crux of the One-Day National Capacity Building organized by FIDA Nigeria with support from the MacArthur Foundation for Actors in the Criminal Justice system, Judicial Officers, Economic and Financial Crimes Officials, Law Enforcement and Security Agencies, private practitioners amongst other critical stakeholders.
The training was targeted at increasing capacity of participants and impacting thorough knowledge on the concept, principle, workings and challenges of plea bargain as a tool for speedy dispensation of corruption cases; Improve synergy and coordination amongst Criminal Justice actors; Provide a platform for shared learnings particularly for Judicial Officers and prosecutors for Economic and Financial Crimes, and other Law Enforcement and Security Agencies to examine the critical issues and challenges faced in the utilisation of Plea bargain.
The provisions of the Proceeds of Crimes ( Recovery and Management Act (POCA) 2022, were also X-rayed and thoroughly discussed by participants.
The workshop and subsequent interactive discourse threw up various recommendations, including the need to have a streamlined and harmonious Guideline on Plea bargain at National level, and functional committees at state levels to oversee the process of plea bargain as is already done in some states. These amongst several other well thought-out recommendations are geared towards enriching the jurisprudence of Plea Bargain as a veritable tool for speedy dispensation of corruption cases.
FIDA Nigeria organized her 2nd SGBV/CEFM Bi-annual Coordination meeting in 2023 for selected stakeholders yesterday in Abuja
The Bi-annual Coordination meeting being the 4th in the series provided a platform for shared learning, mutual coordination, interactions, and networking amongst civil society actors working within the space. The meeting also addressed issues on sustainability of coordinated interventions by civil society organisation while expanding on other areas of best practices for effective preventive and response strategies on Sexual & Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM)
Present at the meeting were the Country Vice President and National President FIDA Nigeria, Amina Suzana Agbaje; Eric Umoru Eric Umoru – Social Protection & Inclusion Advisor Palladium; National Asst. Publicity Secretary Shaltha Nachamada; MDAs ,CSOs & Stakeholders from various parts of the country.