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.
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.
The parallel event of FIDA Nigeria which took place during the pendency of the 63rd Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference held on the 30th of August 2023 at Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, with the Theme ”Getting It Right: Women As Agents Of Change In Nation Building-Making A Case For The Nigerian Woman”
In her opening remarks, the Country Vice President/National President FIDA Nigeria Amina Suzanah Agbaje noted that “In the grand tapestry of Nigerian history, women have always been present, silently shaping the destiny of our nation. They have stood as pillars of strength, demonstrating resilience in the face of challenges, and nurturing the seeds of progress within our communities. However, it is time we give Women the recognition we truly deserve, as agents of change in nation-building.”
The plenary session had a line up of erudite guest speakers including Ene Obi, immediate Past Country Director, Action Aid Nigeria; Johnson J. Usman SAN, Principal Partner, J.J Usman SAN and co.; and Oluwatoyosi Giwa, Project Manager, Access to Justice for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities for the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) programme. It was moderated by Chisom Ihekwaba, co-founder of Sisters’ Bond Initiative.
In attendance were notable personalities which included member Board of Trustees FIDA Nigeria Prof Jummai Audi; Past Regional Vice Presidents Chief (Mrs.) Victoria Olufunmilayo Awomolo SAN and Hajiya Laraba Shuaibu; Past Country Vice President FIDA Nigeria Rhoda Prevail Tyoden; National Secretary Eliana Martins; National Asst. Publicity Secretary Shaltha Nachamada; Members of the National Executive Council of FIDA Nigeria; Chairman, Nigerian Law Reform Commission; FIDA Members and a host of other dignitaries and delegates.
It was a well-attended event that sparked off enlightening, incisive and highly interactive discussions on the various ways women’s numerous contributions and the invaluable role they play as agents of change, shape and transform the trajectory of nation-building.
It is Official!!!!
A brand new Branch has been added to the growing number of FIDA Branches spread across the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory. This is because on Tuesday, the 15th of August 2022, FIDA Nigeria inaugurated its 46th Branch, ”FIDA (Nigeria) Suleja Branch Niger State”
The inauguration took place at High Court 2, Suleja Niger State, and had in attendance several distinguished personalities including the Country Vice President FIDA Nigeria, Amina Suzanah Agbaje; the National Secretary Eliana Martins; National Asst. Publicity Secretary Shaltha Nachamada; CVP emerita Rhoda Prevail Tyoden; Zonal Coordinator FIDA North Central Zone, Hajiya Laraba Shuaibu; Chairperson emerita FIDA Abuja Branch Rekia Adejo-Andrew; Chairperson FIDA Minna Branch, His Worship Bilikisu Labaran Kago; the Sarauniyyan Zazzau Dr. Rahmatu Hassan (who doubled as a Matron of the Branch); the Area Commander Suleja Police Command ACP S.M Musa; Chairman NBA Suleja; Ibrahim Bako Esq, the Route Commander Federal Road Safety Corps; Bar leader P.U Ekwueme Esq., amongst several Magistrates, distinguished guests and FIDA members.
The induction of FIDA (Nigeria) Suleja Branch Niger State as the newest Branch of FIDA Nigeria, forms part of FIDA’s commitment to reaching grassroot communities while scaling up its objective of protecting, promoting and preserving the rights of women and children. The formal inauguration of the new Branch was carried out by the Country Vice President FIDA Nigeria, after which Branch officials were sworn in by His Worship Ruth Ibrahim Dauda.
The inauguration of the 46th Branch of FIDA Nigeria was a monumental success underscoring FIDA’s dedication to broadening the scope of provision of pro-bono legal services, particularly to the grassroots where it is much needed.
The Executive Committee FIDA Abuja, ably led by the Chairperson, Chibuzo M Nwosu, On the 3rd of August 2023, paid a follow-up advocacy visit to the office of the Secretary of the FCT Health Department. The meeting was in view of the previous meeting held on the 1st of August 2023, by the Health Department to address the challenges hindering the passage into law of the FCT Health Insurance Agency (Establishment) Bill.
The Chairperson, identifying the role of the FCT Health department in meeting the Branch’s 2023 Work plan, proposed a meeting with the office of the Secretary, which the Acting Secretary graciously approved, Mr. Malan Haruna Noël.
The Chairperson informed them of the Branch’s adoption of the Labor Ward of the Gwarimpa General Hospital as a FIDA Ward, detailing the activities of the Branch in this respect which includes the assessments of internal and external structures of the ward. She outlined to the Honorable Acting Secretary and his team, consisting of the Director General Hospitals Management Board, Dr. Mohammed B. Kawu, the Director of Special Duties, Dr. Matthew Ashikeni, and the Head, of Medical Services, Dr. Osagie Osawade, the deplorable state of the Ward- the worn out ceilings, leaking roofs, cracked walls, and damaged air-conditioners which the Branch observed at its 2022 Law Week event, necessitating FIDA’s intervention.
The Acting Secretary expressed shock and thanked FIDA Nigeria Abuja Branch immensely for bringing the issues to their attention. He appreciated FIDA for the humanitarian work it undertakes and expressed hope to build a partnership with the Branch in further identifying and reporting to the FCT Health Department other labor wards within the FCT for their immediate action.
In this vein, the Acting Secretary (AS) acceded to the Branch’s request for a partnership in renovating the Labour Ward, which required the repairs of the ceiling, roof, structural damages to the wall, and other ancillary repairs. The Chairperson submitted to the AS and his team, the estimates for repairs and the former accepted the proposals, affirming its intention to complete all renovations within the month of August 2023.
The Chairperson expressed gratitude and promised to visit other hospitals within the FCT administration for future collaborations.
FIDA (Nigeria) Abuja Branch supported by the Mac-Arthur Foundation, held a VALIDATION MEETING on the proposed amendments to the Practice Direction of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
The Workshop was organized to harmonize the perspectives and contributions of various stakeholders on the lapses and gaps in the Practice Direction of the Act.
There was a review of focus areas in Case Management of Corruption Cases, Virtual Proceedings and Witness Funding recommended by participants towards incorporating into the Practice Direction of ACJA, 2015.
Present at the workshop was the Deputy Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court, Samuel Idhaliarhi, the NBA President, Y. C. Maikayu, SAN (represented by Huwaila Mohammed, Esq), Magistrates, Heads of Legal Departments from National Human Rights Commission, Nigerian Correctional Services, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Department of State Security, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Prosecutors from the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Ministry of Justice, Statutory and sub-committee members of the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee, Representatives from CLEEN foundation, Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI), Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS), Administration of Criminal Justice Reform and Review Department, PRAWA, PWAN Branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (including National, Bwari, Unity and Gwagwalada Branches).
Bringing the meeting to an end, it was however agreed that the recommendations and corrections be incorporated into the Practice Direction and conveyed to the CJ for implementation.
Retired Justice Mary Odili has encouraged female lawyers in the state to remain resilient in confronting any situation that may arise while balancing their career, family and work.
Retired Justice Odilli stated this while delivering her keynote speech during a seminar for female Lawyers, with the theme: “Build me up – Balancing Career, Family and Work”, organised by FIDA Rivers State in Port Harcourt.
She urged the female lawyers not to give in to unnecessary distractions over things that are not substantial but be focused on their career, family and work pursuits.
“I encourage you to be focused and not give up; any confrontation, you should not back off but rather confront it, and by God’s grace, you will prevail.
“Focus and hard work is the so that nobody will hold you to ransom”.
Chief Judge of Rivers State High Court and Chairman of the occasion, Justice Simeon Amadi, who Justice Kio ably represented, said that as much as work and family is enormous, the two most crucial area of human life must be balanced.
“The work requirements and family responsibilities could be enormous, especially in a male-dominated profession of ours, as a result of the enormity of a lawyer’s work.
“Children and parents tend to have lesser communication and conversation due to parents’ work and career. I am delighted that you have carefully chosen a keynote speaker and other distinguished speakers who have balanced their jobs, family and work.
“At the end of the seminar, it should provide the antidote to strike a balance between career, family and work”.
Chairperson International Federation of Women Lawyers FIDA Rivers State, Adata Bio-Briggs, said the seminar is part of their five years strategic goal to mentor women, not just female lawyers alone, but every career female in the state.
“One of our packages is mentoring because we have realized a need to mentor female lawyers and professionals.
“We need to learn how to balance our career, family and work; there is always this clash in balancing them, which is why we decided to have women who have done it successfully.
“We must have this balance because we must be successful as women and get to the top of our careers. There is always this struggle for family, career and all, so we need to learn from those who have done it; that was the essence of the seminar”.
Three-day capacity building workshop for 25 civil society organizations from Northern Nigeria on Gender Responsive Budgeting, the workshop which held in Jos, Plateau State is jointly organized by the
Palladium Group and FIDA Nigeria under the auspices of the USAID-funded SCALE project.
This workshop is aimed at enhancing the capacity of these organizations in applying gender budget analysis tools in their programming around gender equality and women’s rights, also assist them in supporting gender budget initiatives wherever they exist, while seeking clarity and understanding of the conceptual, technical, and political elements of gender-responsive budgeting.
FIDA Nigeria held its 2nd Quarter National Executive Council (NEC) meeting for 2023, from the 21st to the 24th of June 2023 in Akure, Ondo state. The meeting which had the theme “Digital Environment: Understanding Digital Skills for the Overall Development of Women and Children in Nigeria”, was hosted by FIDA (Nigeria) Ondo State Branch.
To kickstart the NEC Meeting, there was an advocacy visit on Wednesday, the 21st of June 2023 to the Ondo State Juvenile Correctional Center. The delegation was led by the Country Vice President/National President of FIDA Nigeria, Amina Suzanah Agbaje (Mrs.), where a legal clinic was conducted for Children in Conflict with the Law. The Hon. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development Ondo State, Dr. Mrs. Juliana Ocheda, was present at the Correctional Center visit amongst other important dignitaries. That same morning, FIDA Nigeria led by its Country Vice President/National President, Amina Suzanah Agbaje (Mrs.); the National Publicity Secretary Christiana Adejumo; and the Chairperson FIDA Ondo State Branch, Catherine Ogunjebi; were at Crest FM 106.1 Akure for a 30 minutes enlightenment program which was anchored by Mr. Leo Olagbaye.
In like manner, another advocacy visit was paid to the Ondo State Security Network Agency, popularly called Amotékun. The delegation was led by the Country Vice President/National President of FIDA Nigeria, Amina Suzanah Agbaje (Mrs.), together with the full complement of members of the National Executive Committee alongside other delegates. They were warmly received by the Corps Commander, Ondo State Amotékun Corps, and Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, Fisn, who assured delegates of their safety whilst in the state and reinstated the Corps commitment to collaborating with FIDA. Thereafter, members of the delegation were treated to a familiarisation lunch. In the evening of Wednesday, 21st of June 2023, delegates were further hosted as part of the NEC activities, to a welcome cocktail to unwind from the stress of their travels.
An Aerobics/fitness session was held on the morning of Thursday, 22nd June 2023 to encourage members on the need to keep physically fit. The formal opening ceremony of the 2nd Quarter NEC Meeting followed soon thereafter and had in attendance the Executive Governor of Ondo State, His Excellency Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, as the Chief Host, ably represented by the Secretary to the Ondo State Government, Princess Catherine Oladunni Odu, who doubled as the Chairman of the Opening ceremony. The First Lady of Ondo State, Her Excellency Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu was ably represented by the Executive Secretary of Ondo State Agency Against GBV, Mrs. Bola Afolabi. Present also was the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Ondo State, Sir Charles Titiloye. The Keynote Speaker at the Opening Ceremony was Judge Funmi Asaolu of the Justice Court. In attendance also was Hon. Justice Ayedun Odusola, Chief Judge of Ondo State Judiciary, ably represented by Hon. Justice Adegboyega Adebusoye; Other Justices present include Hon. Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe of the Court of Appeal Ekiti Division; Hon. Justice Bolatito Ajibade of the Ondo State High Court; Hon. Justice Toyin Bolaji Adegoke of the Federal High Court Akure Division; and Hon. Justice Babatunde Adejumo (Rtd.); alongside a host of distinguished dignitaries and delegates.
The session on Continuous Legal Education (CLE) was held immediately after the opening ceremony, with presentations by erudite speakers. The session was moderated by the National Assistant Publicity Secretary of FIDA Nigeria, Shaltha Nachamada, representing the Chairperson of the CLE Committee, Prof. Felicia Anyaogu. FIDA Nigeria CLE sessions are non-negotiable key activities for every NEC meeting. This is in consonance with the association’s commitment to a continuous development of members’ capacity as highlighted in Goal 3 of its 5-year strategic plan, geared towards achieving an innovative and impactful organization.
During the CLE session, a wide range of topical issues were discussed. The papers that were presented include, “The Use of Technological Innovations in Advancing the Cause of the Child in Nigeria” by Hon. Justice Bolatito Ajibade of the Ondo State High Court; “Report Writing Skills: Accelerating FIDA Activities” by Chief Mrs. Olamide Falana of the Girls to Women Initiative and Special Adviser to the State Government on Gender issues; and “FIDANS: Empowerment and Leadership” by Hon. Justice Toyin Bolaji Adegoke of the Federal High Court, Akure Division. The CLE session was highly interactive and educative.
The evening of Thursday, 22nd June 2023 ushered in a glamorous cultural extravaganza with colorful displays by the various Branches from different geopolitical zones. Delegates were further entertained by the State’s indigenous dance troupe on the rich cultural heritage of the people of Ondo state; the various tribes resident therein; their languages; foods; etc. It was a beautiful evening showcasing the vibrant heritage of Nigeria’s beauty in diversity.
All work and no play as they say makes Jane a dull girl. This saying saw delegates on an adventurous hike to the ancient Idanre Hills on Friday, 23rd June 2023 as part of a cumulative fitness regimen.
The formal Business meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) commenced after the hike. At the formal meeting, matters that impact the organization were discussed, alongside a quarterly presentation of reports by the various Branches.
To round up the 2nd Quarter National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, a Dinner/Award night was held in the evening of Friday, 23rd June 2023. In attendance was the Executive Governor of Ondo State, His Excellency Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, ably represented by the Acting Governor Hon. Lucky Ayedatiwa; the Chairperson Closing Dinner Rev Mrs. Funke Felix-Adejumo; the Special Adviser to the Government on Gender issues Chief Mrs. Olamide Falana; alongside other dignitaries. Awards were presented to outstanding and deserving individuals including an Award of Excellence to the Governor, His Excellency Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, which award was received on his Excellency’s behalf by the Acting Governor His Excellency Hon. Lucky Ayedatiwa.
All in all, the FIDA Nigeria 2nd Quarter NEC Meeting, Akure 2023, was a resounding success. Kindly find below links to pictorial representations of all the activities at the NEC meeting for your viewing pleasure.