FIDA Nigeria as part of activities under the Action Aid WVL Project (Year 4) held a coordination meeting for community paralegals and service providers on 10th August 2022.
The meeting was aimed at establishing an efficient and effective referral pathway structure for responding to GBV in selected communities across three Area councils of the FCT.
At the end of the meeting, community paralegals and service providers had a clearer understanding of their roles, the available referral mechanisms as well as the various service providers cataloged under the referral pathway system for improved and effective responses to GBV cases.
FIDA Oyo State Branch, ably led by her Chairperson, Mrs. Olusola Sulayman paid a courtesy/familiarization visit to the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Oyo State, Ibadan on 6th August 2022.
The visit also aimed to strengthen the synergy in the fight against the high incidence of female genital mutilation in Oyo State which according to National data ranks fifth. Oyo State can improve through collaboration in advocacy and sensitization of Women and Youth.
The team was well received by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Oyo State Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo SAN. He promised to partner with FIDA Oyo in helping to fight against norms that affect the right of women and children.
FIDA Ekiti with support from Ford Foundation trains twenty paralegals from two Communities in Ekiti State namely: Ilawe-Ekiti and Erinmope-Ekiti on 3rd of August, 2022
The participants are stakeholders who served as gender-based violence surveillance teams in the communities.
The training is to equip them with necessary knowledge to handle uncomplicated issues in their Communities and refer crimes and complicated issues to the Law Enforcement Agencies and FIDA.
This will ensure the sustainability of the Ford Foundation funded project in the Communities and also strengthen the referral pathway in reporting matters regarding women and girls in the Communities.
FIDA Nigeria, Plateau state branch with support from Ford Foundation carried out Action Plan Implementation Oversight visits to focal communities in Plateau State on Thursday the 28th day of July, 2022 and Friday the 29th day of July, 2022.
The activity aimed at accessing the progress of Community Action Plans implementation.
The activity focused on celebrating implemented milestones and proffering growth paths for stakeholders.
In Gyel community, the Traditional Ruling Council presented to FIDA a draft copy of the Community Bye Law developed to address cultural norms that affect the rights of women and girls within the Gyel District.
While in Mungun community, the District Head, HRH Da Job Ali, highlighted key provisions of the proposed Community Bye Law which is currently undergoing a wider consultation by the Community’s stakeholders.
Representatives across each stakeholder groups were able to share progress and challenges experienced on preventive and responsive activities undertaken to address emerging incidents of GBV within the communities.
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.
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
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.
FIDA Nigeria through her situation room situated in Oshogbo and Abuja respectively observed the participation of women and persons with disabilities at the Osun State Governorship Election held on Saturday 16th July 2022 through trained citizen observers deployed across the Local Government Areas of Osun State.
FIDA Nigeria with support from Goree Institute under the Charter Africa Project has tracked pre-election incidents ahead of the Osun Governorship Election which was disseminated to the public via our pre-election statement released on Thursday 14th July 2022. We have deployed our monitoring tool via our citizen observers which will be used in documenting election incidences promoting violence against women and persons with disabilities at the polls. Other information relating to election incidents are obtained from credible media sources and civil society actors respectively. FIDA Nigeria continues to closely watch the process across the thirty (30) Local Government Areas of the State until it is concluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The following issues are highlighted as part of our preliminary report:
2.1. Commencement of Polls
Reports across the Local Government Areas in Osun state observed indicate that there was early and high voter turnout for the polls across the state as security personnel, electoral officers and election materials arrived at most polling units between the hours of 8:00 – 9:00 am. 24% of the polling units had the election materials before 8 AM, 48% by 8 AM and 28% by 8:30 AM. Furthermore, we observed that 64% of polling units visited had more than one electoral official, 24% had 3 electoral officials, and 12 % had two (2) electoral officials. With regards to participation of female electoral officials, we observed that a larger percentage of the polling units visited, that is about 76% had more than 2 female electoral officials, 12% had less than 2 officials, while 12% were above 2 officials.
For instance, at polling unit 007, Ward 3, Boluwaduro LGA, polling unit 012, ward 2, Ife North LGA, accreditation commenced between 8.20- 8.30 am, Similarly at polling unit 7, ward 6, Iwo LGA, accreditation commenced as early as 8 am, however at polling unit 23, ward 5, Oshogbo LGA, voters were accredited at 9.45 am.
2.2. Turnout of Female Voters & Persons with Disabilities:
FIDA Nigeria observed a large turnout of female voters in about 88% of the polling units observed. Our Observers reported that only 12% of the polling units visited had low voters. For instance, at Polling Unit 1, Ward 1, Ife South LGA, about 175 women were observed exercising their franchise, similarly, at polling 1, Ikeja ward 2, Ife South LGA, about 204 women were observed undergoing the accreditation process. Similarly at polling unit 003, ward 1, Olorunda LGA, we observed a large turnout of female voters. At polling 005, ward 7, Ifedayo LGA a good number of female voters were observed exercising their franchise, Similarly, at Unit 004, Ward 10, Ife Central LGA, more female voters were observed exercising their franchise. Furthermore, at Polling unit 7, ward 10, Odo-Otin LGA, more than a hundred women were observed exercising their franchise. Our observers reported that 88% of the covering polling units observed a low turnout of persons living with disabilities across polling units visited.
2.3. Priority Voting for Vulnerable & Marginalized Persons
FIDA Nigeria observes 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 didn’t. However, 80% of the polling units prioritized pregnant women, the elderly, and nursing mothers. For instance, at 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
2.4. Functionality of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System:
FIDA Nigeria has observed that across most polling units within our purview, the bimodal voter’s accreditation system was largely functional which aided accreditation and the voting process. However, we observed some few discrepancies of where the BVAS were not functional. At polling unit 7, ward 10, Odo-Otin LGA, the BVAS was observed to have developed fault and was not rectified as at 12 pm. About 64% of the covering polling units were able to resolve the BVAS issue experienced, while 28% are yet to report resolve as at the time of this reports.
2.5. Security-Related Observations
FIDA Nigeria observed that security officials/personnel in at least 52% of polling units visited were perceived to be impartial, with 28% perceived to be very impartial and 20% perceived to have partial electoral/security officials. We further observed that Security personnel were present in 84% of the covering polling units unarmed with firearms while 16% are reported armed with firearms with at least one police officer is present at all of our covering polling units. Seemingly our observers in 68% of the polling units reported the presence of more than 4 security personnel. While 12% of the polling units had three security personnel, 16% had two security personnel and 4% has 1 security personnel each. Conclusively 80% of the covering polling units were observed and reported to be very secure at the close of polls as no incidences of ballot box snatching was observed.
2.6. Vote Trading: FIDA Nigeria observed disturbing incidents of vote trading across the state especially as our observers reported that about 16% of the polling units were to have witnessed voting inducements. For instance, at polling unit 2, ward 3, Isokan LGA, Incidence of vote buying were observed by leading political parties between N3000 to N5000 respectively. At PU005, Ward 08 St Peter’s School Sekona, Ede South LGA, Our observers reported incidence of vote buying. Similarly at PU 02, ward 002, Ayedade LGA, and Polling Unit 12, Ward 12, Ife North LGA, voters were induced with the sum of N2, 000 –N5, 000.
FIDA Nigeria will continue to observe the elections and later issue her post-election statement to detail more on the overall participation of women and persons with disabilities.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Amina Agbaje (Mrs)
Country Vice President/National President
FIDA Abuja on Saturday the 16th of July 2022, went on an outreach to the community of MABUSHI, at the Chief’s Palace in the person of Alhaji Aminu Akuyi (Esu of MABUSHI Village) FCT, Abuja.
Led by the Chairperson, Miss Chibuzo M Nwosu, conveyed the legal implications of the provisions of the VAPP Act 2015 to the curious men and women of the community. Key provisions such as Rape, FGM, Forceful Ejection from Home, Forceful Economic Dependence, Spousal Battery, Harmful Widowhood Practices, Indecent Exposure, Incest and Political Violence of State Actors were in focus.
The outreach had in attendance, the Palace Chief cabinet amongst whom were the Sarkin Yaki Mr. James Kusase, the Jikwo of Palace Usman Gambo; the Village Head Nuhu Zakwuyi; the Asst Women Leader Terna Joshua; Secretary to the Woman Leader Justina Lazarus; the Kuyabana of Palace Danladi Dayako and the Women Governor Adamu Baba Busa.
Questions centered around these provisions were asked by the attendees. At the end of the lecture, the Palace Chief applauded FIDA for its achievements and a well-informed lecture. He further requested that more of such lectures be organized having been the first of its kind in the Community.
In her closing remark, the Chairperson thanked the Palace Chief and members of his cabinet for the warm reception while assuring of FIDA’s presence and its commitment to serve humanity. Bags of grains were donated to the community by the branch.
FIDA Nigeria with support from Goree Institute under the Charter Africa Project on the 15th of July 2022 ahead of Saturday’s Osun State Gubernatorial Elections trained citizen observers in Osun state.
The observers will monitor and report on the electoral processes across the various local government areas of the state during the polls.
Observers were enjoined to conduct themselves creditably by remaining non-partisan as well as ensuring that their emotions are not clouded by sentiments whilst executing their roles as citizen observers across the selected Local Government Areas during the polls.