Thursday, November 11, 2010

Educational Empowernment: The Key to Reproductive Health Issues of the Girl - Child by Titi Adefioye

In spite of rapid expansion in the educational sector over the years, a number of factors still militate against female access to education. Some of these factors includes -cultural and factors such as early marriage, circumcision, forced marriage and child betrothal; and also economic factors such as cost of procuring education, the location of school far away from home in some places for which most of the time is spent on domestic chores which reduces time available for study, and opportunity cost of formal education to parents in terms of forgone earnings by children. It was observed that large female populations live in the rural areas and it is in these rural communities that female illiteracy predominates (UNESCO, 2006). Female children in rural households help with housework. These includes fetching of fuel, water, looking after younger siblings and helping in home-based income generating activities. They also cultivate the land and market the products. Traditional beliefs and cultural practices place the bulk of burden on girls.

Interference with the demands of rural life is unavoidable if the girl-child is to have equal access to education. The social expectations of the girl in the family and her role in taking care of the home (domestic chores) and income generation hamper her educational development and infringes on her rights. There is correlation between education and knowledge, attitude, behaviours, and practices in issues pertaining to health especially reproductive health of adolescent girls. Education lies at the heart of reducing gender inequality and empowering women to overcome factors that make them vulnerable to harmful cultural practices. Education is in itself a liberating tool for girl-child, and this will have effect on her, with regards to HIV/AIDS, safe-motherhood, access to quality healthcare, participation in decision making process and policies.
Uneducated women are likely to remain in abusive marriages and unable to challenge harmful cultural such as female genital cutting, wife inheritance and early marriages.

The 2008 UNAIDS Report on the Global Aids Pandemic says girls who complete primary education are more likely to use condoms, while girls who finish secondary education are between four and seven times more likely to use condoms and are less likely to be infected with HIV. But this can only happen if girls and women  have access to education. Undeniably, gender equality and empowerment can be achieved if women enjoy their sexual reproductive rights. Reproductive Health experts have managed to show a direct relationship between enjoyment of reproductive health such as low fertility rate, delayed child bearing, contraceptive and attainment of higher education.
If girls are well educated they will be able to challenge discriminatory gender beliefs and sexual violence that make many of them vulnerable to HIV infection and other cultural practices that causes complications during pregnancy due to early  child marriage.
Educating women and girls does not only afford this benefit, it also extends the gains to their children. Women and girls who are less empowered and who lack access to sufficient food are 70% less likely to have control over their sexual activities and are more likely to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse. They are also 50% percent more likely to engage in survival sex.

Education is in itself a liberating tool for the Girl –child and this will have effect on her attitudes and perception on issues such as sex, HIV/AIDS, Safe-motherhood, access to healthcare as well as participation in decision making process and policies.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

FGM: The Pathetic World of the Girl Child by Judith Abuah

“Is she circumcised?” asked the prospective groom.
“Er no, she isn’t circumcised replied the head of the prospective bride’s family. Isn’t the practice unnecessary, dangerous and dehumanizing to a female child? I’m convinced it doesn’t serve any useful purpose. You look shocked. Are you rejecting her because she isn’t circumcised?”
“…Forget about what the health experts say. What do you know about our culture and the sacredness of the female body? ... Our religion permits it. It‘s just a little cut from the clitoris. It is cleansing and a girl needs it to be considered clean.” Vanguard, Wednesday, November 3, 2010.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total cutting of the external female genitalia, as a rite of passage preparing young girls for womanhood and marriage. The process involves the total removal of the clitoris (Clitoridectomy) and labia and the stitching and narrowing of the virginal orifice (Infibulations) to allow only urine and menstrual blood to pass through. When asked, devotees of FGM say it’s a culture, a tradition.
I tried to understand culture and traditions and I found out that: Culture is the behaviors and beliefs, characteristics of a particular social, ethnic, or age group; a way of life. Tradition then, is a long established way of thinking or acting; the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation especially by word of mouth or by practice.
Truly, FGM is a long time-honored way of thinking or acting handed down from generations by practice. In my opinion, it is a tradition that should be faced out. If asked, I’ll say FGM originated as a result of men’s insecurity and complex problems. Excisors who practice FGM are either brain-washed or completely do not understand that this is another means of subjugating women under the guise of ‘culture’ aimed at curtailing women sexuality These are no excuses for the practice.
Helen Ovbiagele of Vanguard newspaper thinks the practice is weak and terrible, unconvincing, painfully useless and very dangerous to the girl child. Only God knows why this wicked practice started at all but there are obvious reasons why it must stop.
“Are you kidding, he asked amazed ’NGOs and health experts are campaigning against the practice and here you are, an enlightened 21st century young lady wanting to be circumcised. I won’t allow it. It is dangerous as you could bleed to death or contact a serious infection from the instrument used. As far as I am concerned female circumcision doesn’t make any sense. Our culture says it is necessary in order to curtail a girl’s desire for sex, or her enjoyment of it so that she doesn’t become sexually promiscuous”
“I’m serious, said the wife. I know what the health expert says…but one should listen to the elders. They are the keepers of our culture and they know best in these things.”
Vanguard, Wednesday, November 3, 2010.
These elders were once young people. Maybe they had their doubts, maybe they just accepted the practice because it was handed down by elders maybe… we don’t have to be like them because we know the truth, we know the practice has nothing good or humanizing to offer. The practice of slave trade has been abolished so, what’s still keeping FGM? I believe it’s only a culture started by our ancestors so many years ago and just like other traditions, this practice should be totally wiped out.
How, we may ask? Easy, get the words out that it’s harmful and not necessary. Personally, I think it could also be done in little ways like having little discussions with friends and encouraging them to do same.

Friday, October 15, 2010


BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights participated in a rally/walk against Paedophiles and child sexual abusers on October 13, 2010. The walk was a response to the increasing reports of defilement of under aged children in schools and domestic settings.  The walk was from Allen roundabout to the Deputy Governor’s Office, Alausa, Ikeja. The walk was organised by Gender Based Violence Response Network (GBVRN). Pupils from selected public and private schools in Lagos State also participated in the walk. Participants at the rally included the NGOs, pupils from selected public and private schools whilst St. Nicholas Hospital volunteered an ambulance and medical personnel for the walk.

The protest rally started with a 15 minutes talk at about 10.00 am at the Allen Round About, Ikeja. Persons who made brief speeches before the rally included the organisers namely: Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma; Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin of Women Arise, Pastor Nike Adeyemi of the Real Woman Foundation, Mr. Nelson Ekujumi of United Action for Democracy, Mr. Andy Nkemneme of Grassroots Empowerment Initiative, Mrs Josephine Anunobi, Proprietress of Divine Offspring Schools. This was followed by the walk to the office of Deputy Governor where she received the group and a protest letter was handed over to her on behalf of the network by Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma.

Representatives of the pupils also spoke to the Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan on their concerns. The Deputy Governor promised to look into the concerns raised and reiterated that it’s an issue of national concern and that she would also bring it to the attention of other stakeholders. Also on hand to receive the delegation were the Permanent Secretaries and Directors at the Ministries of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and those of Education amongst others.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The fangs of Child Marriage: Saving the future generation - By Yomi Oyeleke

Despite the provision of the Child Rights Act (CRA) S.21 which prohibits and provides penalty for the marriage and betroth’al of a child under the age of 18, Child marriage is still very rampant in some states in Nigeria. One of such states is Adamawa. The  emotional and psychological effect of this child marriage phenomenon takes a huge toll on the affected young girls. 

In May 2010,  BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, in partnership with the Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development and Peace (WLP), organized a leadership training for young girls between the ages of 13-18.  The leadership training, which involved different exercises equipped the young girls with leadership skills and provided an opportunity for the girls to learn how to negotiate and build alliances  in addressing problems and in advocating for their rights. Some of the girls were interviewed by a journalist from radio Adamawa. When asked about the issues they desired to be addressed in their communities they aired their distaste for child marriage and made the request that parents should educate their girl-child rather than give them out in marriage. The young beneficiaries also promised to be advocates of change in challenging the existing practice on child marriage by educating their siblings and peers. The outcome of the training showed that investing in the young girls is indeed a wise practice to protect future generation of girls from the menace of the culture of child marriage.

Beneficiaries of the Leadership training relayed their experiences three months after the training.

“My friend is very young but her parents want her married. She has been taught it is the culture, and told that she must obey her parents though she is unhappy about it, there is no where to run to, even her education is at stake because she doesn’t  know what to expect after marriage, however, I encouraged her not to give up on her studies”-Maimuna Hassan

“I learnt a lot from the leadership training. Since the training, I’ve been talking to my classmates, my seniors and juniors and their reactions have been positive. The only problem around here is the issue of Child marriage. One of my classmates is about to be married off during this vacation and am yet to see her”- Cecelia Goodfrey

“Since the training, I’ve been exhibiting good leadership qualities and teaching others to do so. I’ve not heard of any case of Child marriage in my school in the last three months.”- Sadiya Dahiru

“I have been educating my peers on good leadership qualities and gender issues as we were taught during the training. While some have shown great interest others do not want to change their behaviour. The issue of child marriage is still a challenge because the parents are involved and it is done in the name of culture. My classmate was recently married off to a man in Abuja by her parents. She is very unhappy about the development and I heard that her husband in Abuja has divorced her because of her unhappiness towards the whole arrangement. I hope her parents will allow her to continue her education.”-Fadimatu Mohammed

As I listened to the stories of these young girls who have been victims cum survivors of child marriage, I consoled myself with a popular slogan of BAOBAB which says “You cannot change the past but you can try to change the future.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Strength & Housework : A discussion held among high school students based on gender equality

Last Friday, I had a class in a high school, it was a summer program. The students were very active and enthusiastic. In this big class, I discovered that the boys were more than the girls in numerical strength. I wondered if this had anything to do with girls’ poor access to education. My curiosity drove me to hold a discussion among these students about gender equality.

At first I asked them the following questions: what is equality? Do you think there is equality in the society? What are women’s role in the society?
A boy gave me his own definition of equality: He said, “Equality is the process whereby people would like to share their resources between two or more individuals”. These boys and girls based on their individual experiences explained what equality is, they agreed that everyone is equal, but when I asked questions about gender equality, the boys are of the view that they were stronger than the girls. A discussion on women’s and men’s role in the society as perceived by the students varies.
Girls’ view:
  •     Cook food
  •    Can be leaders in society
  •    Clean the house
  •   Teach the children good morality
  •    Can do what the men do
Boys’ view:
  •       Men have more energy than women
  •       Men can go to space while women cannot
  •       What men can do, women can do better
  •       Women are more populated
Obviously, some of the girls still hold the traditional image of women i.e. cooking and cleaning of the house, while several girls think that women can do all things, all the boys, except one agreed to this notion so I became more curious about how everyone in the class talked a lot about gender equality yet they couldn’t sense that there is gender imbalance in their daily lives, even within the family?
I noted from the discussion that there is a general notion that men are born to take up all the responsibilities; feed the family, make money, be strong enough to solve all the problems and so on, implying that men are superior and should be respected and that women only act as good helping hands for men by staying at home, raising children, doing house work and cooking for their families.
This is a very wrong notion because what we women are doing and what they have been doing in the past is far more than taking care of the house and the children. More so, household duties should be seen as the responsibility of the whole family so as to address gender imbalance
Another question I asked the student was, Why is it that men outnumber women as taxi or bus drivers in Lagos state? The students most especially the boys replied, “It is because men are masculine and they can handle heavy work while women cannot”. However, if we take a look at the streets of Lagos state, nearly all the hawkers holding goods on their head are women and it is only women who carry their babies on their backs all the time. This does not only require strength but patience as well.
From the discussion, it is obvious that the students’ response to issues about gender inequality stems from their experience in the home and the immediate environment. They see their mothers performing all the household activities every day, they once heard the news that a male astronaut went to the space, they observed during TV commercials that the men have masculine body while women’s body are always soft and gentle, they have always been given transformers, motor cars and toy guns as birthday gifts when they were little boys while Barbe are for the girls.
 I believe no one is naturally born to behave in certain ways because of the gender difference.
In summary, there is no biological reason for gender inequality, and strength cannot shelter men from housework, they should share housework rather than devaluing it, men should respect women, see them as their equal and be role models for their children.

Sofie Hsu

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Caste System and Women's Human Rights (2) by Bilkis Olagoke

On further research on caste system and its hindrance to women's rights in particular, I observed that caste system is practiced not only in India and Nigeria but also in other countries like Pakistani, Sri-Lanka, Korean, Japan and even Yemeni. 
Unfortunately, caste system is still attached to culture, superstition, religious and ethnic beliefs. Fear of punishment also played an important role in its existence. 
While caste system in some countries are well known and still in practice for example Indian, some are no longer in force. But in Nigeria, caste system also known as "Osu" has gone underground but it is still in practice, most especially, when it comes to marriage between an outcast "Osu" and a freeborn. The penalty is very severe, ranging from disinheritance and  dissolution of marriage among others. One common attribute that persists despite official rulings against this system is the existence of an "outcast" group. 
This type of classification-I mean the "outcast" group whether they are Dalit in India, Bura Kumin in Japan, Baekjeong in Korea or Osu in Nigeria (practice in the eastern part of the Country), they have suffered discrimination through out their history. 
There is a need to look critically into the caste system as it affects women, what has been done so far and what other measures should be put on ground to alleviate the pains and sufferings of women most especially the "outcast". 
Let's us all rise up and call for the abolition of caste system in our societies with adequate protection of our rights by all stakeholders, State governments inclusive. Let's hang the slogan on our walls, "We Are All Equal, Our Rights Should Not Be Violated."

Friday, June 25, 2010

SHOW OF SHAME - Linda Aina

Ahhh!! not again and not when Nigeria is about to be 50 years. The members of House Representatives have decided to throw caution into the air by dragging our great country Nigeria in the mud.

These legislators are supposed to be making and enacting laws that would move Nigeria forward but rather they had decided to rain insults on themselves and to exchange blows in the watchful eyes of young students who are the leaders of tomorrow. What moral benefits do we expect these future leaders to imbibe from the ‘show of shame’ by our House of Representatives? I can imagine the thoughts that were going on the minds of these young ones, what future does the nation have for us? This question is crucial and need to be answered.

Millions of Nigerians are out there in abject poverty, no jobs, insecurity as a result of high rate of robbery and kidnappings. Instead of this group of individuals to uphold the oath they had taken to uphold this nation and its citizens, they are busy misappropriating funds and embarrassing the nation.

The rule of law should be allowed to take its place, the nine million Naira scandal should be properly investigated and all culprits should face the wrath of the law.

May God rescue our great nation Nigeria.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Caste System and Women's Rights by Bilkis Olagoke

Globally, denial of women’s human rights and discrimination against women unfortunately is still a growing trend. A very good example is the caste system which is historically a system of social stratification that is descent based and hereditary, determined by an individual’s birth.  For example in India, there are four traditionally predominant castes consisting of the Brahmins, the intellectual class, Kshatriyas, the warrior class, Vaishyas, the agricultural and trader class and Shudras, the service or manual worker class. They are known as the upper caste. Another class that falls outside the traditional four-fold caste system is the “untouchables” known as the Dalits or Scheduled caste (the lower class). Even though it was said that “untouchability” has been abolished in the India constitution, the discrimination against the Dalits still exist as they are considered as impure and polluting. Women from the Dalit especially suffer a lot of discrimination, exploitation and violence from the upper caste and the  society at large. They do not hold the same status as the upper class. There is discrimination in schools, they do not have the rights to free choice of employment, Dalit women are forced to do the most degrading work such as manual scavenging and are also subjected to exploitative labour arrangements like prostitution. Marriage and any social interactions between the Dalits women and the upper class are prohibited and women who marry above their caste are forced to close all ties with their families. Unfortunately, they are also vulnerable to sexual violence by the police who are supposed to be their protector.

In Nigeria also, there is the Osu caste system which is a practice amongst the Igbo people, even though it is fading away gradually due to the presence of religion and education. It is still practiced in some communities and it is still a hindrance to the rights of women.  Traditionally, there are two classes of people in Igbo land. The Nwadiala – the freeborn or the masters and the Osu, the slaves, outcast or the “untouchables”. Like the caste system in India, there is discrimination against the Osu women which leads to disinheritance, ostracism, denial of chieftaincy title, denial of membership in social clubs, violent disruption of marriage ceremonies, expulsion of wives etc because they are “slaves” and this is more prominent when it comes to marriage between the freeborn and the Osu. An osu cannot marry a freeborn. The belief is that any freeborn that marries an Osu defiles the family. The parent and other members of the family can go along way to dissolve this type of marriage thereby subjecting women to heartbreaks and emotional trauma.

My own view is that we are all equal and we all have equal rights. Violation of women’s rights in the name of culture should not be allowed. Culture needs to be redefined to ensure the equality of all without any discrimination. This is necessary to achieve peace and development.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - by Wunmi Akinbodunse

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) also known as Female Circumcision (FC) is an African traditional social practice (rite of passage) which is strongly anchored in cultural beliefs. It is performed on the female gender as early as 8 days old, before marriage or after the first pregnancy. It involves the cutting of the female genitals. Myths surrounding the uncircumcised girl / women include – infertility, promotion of promiscuity, itching in the genital, bad omen if the head of a child touches the clitoris during delivery etc.

Based on the health consequences of these acts which include excessive bleeding that can lead to hemorrhage, destruction of blood vessels in the female genital areas, chronic infections, infertility, problem during pregnancy and pains during sexual intercourse.  More Advocacy and sensitisation programs involving local community leaders (gatekeepers) and government policy makers should be done to eradicate FGM. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in a message to mark International Day against FGM on 6th February 2010, three million girls are still at the risk of genital mutilation each year. The UNFPA called for change of perception on the practice and noted that a decline in the number of FGM had been recorded in some communities, which had chosen to make public declarations against the practice, insisting that  FGM 'severely violates the human rights of women and girls'.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jos Crisis - Women & Children, at the receiving end. by Wunmi Akinbodunse

In less than three months in the year 2010, Jos, Plateau State in Nigeria has experienced three major phase of crisis attributed to ethno/religious misunderstanding and intolerance.  The genesis of these crisis took place in the year 2009 with a lot of innocent citizens especially women and children being slaughtered for what they knew nothing about.

The first crisis was unimaginable and uncalled for, so were others. It beats my imagination to see human beings deriving pleasure in slaughtering a fellow human being. The second crisis took place in the early hours of Sunday morning, March 7, 2010 in a small village in the outskirts of Jos, named Dogon Hauwa, where people in the settlement were raided and slaughtered with a count of over 20% of the village’s populace, the larger percentage of the slaughtered were women, children and the elderly. After much mourning, a mass burial was conducted for the slain amidst tears and cries of revenge by the bereaved. The third was similar to the second but not as severe. The attack was on a village in Riom Local Government Area of Jos which also took place in the morning and was perpetuated by fundamentalists camouflaged in the new peace keeping outfits of the soldiers deployed to the area. This opened a brand new chapter in the unrest in Jos. 

Women and children are unfortunately at the receiving end of the crisis from its inception. What can WE (Nigerians , NGOs, CBOs & policy makers)  do to bring the perpetrators to book and accountable to what they have done from these heinous crime to humanity, what can we do to prevent a re-occurrence of the crisis, having in mind the paramount duty of protecting the lives of all especially women and children who appears to be the most affected?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Women Take Over Lagos Judiciary! Male Folks are Endangered Specie. - Favour Irabor

Prior to 1999, male judges dominated Lagos State Judiciary just like other states in the federation. Female judges took the back seat and nobody felt there was any imbalance in the system. But today, there is much hullabaloo as it is perceived that women are taking over. The justification for this position is the publication in the DAILY SUN of Wednesday March 24, 2010 on pages 44 and 45 captioned Women take over Lagos Judiciary! Male folks are endangered specie.

Lagos State should be commended for adopting affirmative action at achieving gender equality and gender parity and redressing the imbalance that has characterized the composition and appointment into the judiciary for decades. Lagos State also appointed a non-indigene in the person of Ms Nwaka who hails from Delta State as a judge. Thus Lagos State can proudly be described as anti-discrimination compliant State. Female judges in Lagos State are known to be bold. Examples abound like Justice Dolapo Akinsanya that declared the Interim National Government illegal in 1993. The latest judgment that is salutary is the decision of Justice Oke which awarded N100M damages in favour of Ms Okere for the violence inflicted upon her by some naval personnel.

It is indeed sad and disconcerting that the SUN which should be in the vanguard to champion gender equality and gender parity is surreptitiously advocating for the extinction of this policy via its publication of 24th March 2010. The situation in Lagos State is justified by Article 4 of CEDAW which deals with temporary special measures and reinforced by the critical areas of concern under the Beijing Platform of Action.

Our Rights As Women by Bilkis Olagoke

Human rights are women's rights. Yes! right to life, right to education, right to marry without discrimination, right to equal pay for equal work, right to social security, right to take part in cultural life, right to inheritance,.......... The question now is: Do we really know our rights as women? Are we not allowing religion and culture to impose themselves on our rights? In what way do women themselves deny their rights? Is there a way out? The question could go on and on. But the fact still remain the same, we women also have rights and our rights must be promoted and respected at all levels.

Friday, March 5, 2010

PARENTS BEWARE by Oluyomi Oyeleke

I believe parents have been saddled with the responsibility of taking care of their children, though the harsh economic conditions of the country may prompt them to do otherwise or give an excuse to shift their responsibilities to so-called guardians who may be relatives, close acquaintances, friends or even strangers. The truth remains that it is rare to find someone who would care for your child the way you do.
Practices such as abuse, neglect, malnutrition and all forms of in-human treatment are experienced by these children who are left at the mercies of these wards.

More difficult to understand is the abuse(s) that takes place right under the noses of the parents. These classes of parents have their children under their roofs, yet they are either too busy or for whatever reason, fail to monitor closely or spend sufficient time talking with/to their children and learn about the activities that go on in their absence. A close example is repeated reported cases of rape. Perpetrators of this heinous crime are “loosely” allowed to have a degree of control over the child, thereby giving the person in question an upper hand though it shouldn’t be an excuse for any form of violation or abuse.

Parents should not only provide food, clothing and shelter for their children but also to provide their child with necessary information to know what is wrong and what is right.

Though we can’t change the past, we can try to change the future. Let’s stop the abuse.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Power of Information by Yewande Okoya

With recent developments unfolding day by day in all parts of the world, knowledge through information sharing is paramount in order to educate, inform and address several issues that longs for explanations.

BAOBAB for Women's Human Rights will continue to disseminate information to all (especially women) who desire to be the change. Individually, we need to break that chain of mediocrity, releasing ourselves from whatever dares to cause a barrier in knowing and addressing issues that affects our livelihood.

It is time we arm ourselves with the weapon that cannot be destroyed by anyone or anything except we allow it. This weapon is INFORMATION!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Child Abuse and Neglect - by Bilkis Olagoke

Child abuse and neglect according to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is defined as "Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in the death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm"

The issue of child abuse and neglect has now been recognized as a worldwide problem. Children are the most vulnerable people on the surface of the earth and they are frequently the defenseless victims of the most degrading abuses.
Children are usually abused by someone in their immediate family circle. This can include parent, brothers or sisters, baby sitters or other family adults and in some cases strangers.

There are different forms of child abuse, they are:
  • Child labour which includes street hawking, street begging, domestic servant and commercial sexual exploitation of children.
  • Physical abuse/neglect includes striking, kicking, burning, or biting the child, or any action that result in physical impairment of the child. deny of eduction and medical health care
  • Sexual abuse - examples are incest, rape, prostitution, paedophilia and sexual harassment
  • Emotional abuse / neglect also known as psychological maltreatment includes spurning terrorizing, isolation denying emotional responsiveness among others
There are laws protecting the rights of children. for example in Nigeria we have The Nigerian Labour Act, Laws of the Federal Nigeria 1990 CAP 198, The criminal code act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 CAP 77, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child (1989).

Despite the laudable actions by countries to improve the lives of the children by passing legislation to protect them, there is a need for parents, guardians, teachers and adults in charge of children to do more in terms of protecting these children from various abuses.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Debate over the Use of the Word ALLAH - by Asabe Audu

Recently both CNN and Al-Jazeera news reported the religious violence in Malaysia, which was caused by the court ruling allowing a Roman Catholic newspaper to use the word ALLAH to describe God.
I found this news item to be especially interesting, as a Hausa/Fulani Christian from Northern Nigerian, Arabic has the most influence on my language Hausa, which is spoken by over 24 million people and a second language to about 15 million or more, has borrowed numerous words over centuries of cultural trade with Arabs. In our Hausa Bible the word for God is Allah.
The word ALLAH has been used pre Islamic period by Christian Arabs to describe God. ALLAH is not an exclusive preserve for just Muslims. What I can deduce here is that there should be a demarcation between language and religion.

Female police officers - by Wunmi akinbodunse

Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force gave a mandate to evict married female police officers living in police barracks with their civilian husbands from the police barracks. The mandate is based on the African belief that a man should provide everything for his wife including accommodation. This development is disturbing as it discriminates against female police officers since their male counterparts live with their spouses in police barracks. It is also worrisome that the Inspector General of Police whose duty it is to protect victims of human rights violations is spearheading such discriminatory policy. Nigeria is a signatory to various human rights instruments and a common thread that runs through all these instruments is the principles of equality and non-discrimination. It behooves agents of the State and non-state actors to uphold the said principles.

THE NIGERIA NAVY TO PAY A HEFTY SUM OF N100Million (Justice Prevails) by Wunmi Akinbodunse

Thank God for the democratic dispensation, the Lagos State Judiciary has demonstrated its capacity to deliver justice to the oppressed and rights of its citizens are no longer abused with impunity. Justice Oke recently ordered Rear Admiral Harry Arogundade and the Nigerian Navy to pay the sum of N100 Million as damages for assaulting a young woman Uzoma Okere and her colleague, Abdullahi Abdulazea on November 3, 2008 for allegedly obstructing Arogundade’s convoy which was caught up in traffic.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

OUR BODY: OUR BEING, OUR RIGHTS by Wunmi Akinbodunse

In celebration of the African Women’s Health & Rights day on Feb 4th, 2010, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights had a sticker & sensitization campaign at Ojota market to educate and sensitize traders on the need for women to be aware of their sexual and health rights (dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), need to use birth controls etc).
Fliers & leaflets on reproductive health rights were distributed at the rally. The campaign was done in the three major languages of Nigeria, which stimulated diverse reactions from the crowd, women, embraced the initiative, while most men had issues with the fact that women have as much rights as men.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dating Abuse

Dating abuse is a pattern of violent behavior-physical, emotional, or sexual-by one partner in a dating relationship toward the other partner. Dating abuse may be:


* Pinching, shoving, slapping, grabbing, etc.
* Intimidation (blocking doors, throwing objects)
* Use of weapons


* Unwanted touching
* Forced sexual activities
* Pressure to have sex
* Threats to find someone who will do what he or she wants sexually


* Put-downs, insults, and rumors
* Threats
* Possessiveness
* Overdependency
* Huge mood swings
* Humiliation
* Accusations
* Withdrawal of attention
* Isolation from friends or activities

You might be thinking, "I've never experienced anything as serious as being punched!" But hold on a sec.

In general, guys and girls don't usually start hitting their girlfriend or boyfriend out of the blue. It usually starts after a history of verbal and emotional abuse, which is far more likely to occur among young teens. If nothing is done about that abuse, it's likely to become more severe and start including sexual and physical abuse.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sharia police arrested for ‘rape’ - by Chibogu Obinwa

It is not new that the greatest form of violation of women’s human rights is through the control, subjugation, and total disregard of their sexuality. Women are vulnerable to sexual violence both in their private spaces and public –and worse still when the latter occurs within the ‘space’ that should be the safest for women to seek protection ‘Police Station’! On a daily basis we hear stories of Law Enforcement personnel raping women and girls whom have been placed under their protection. This was the case in Langsa Sharia Police Station, Banda Aceh, Jarkata, Indonesia where Police in the regency arrested two Sharia Police Officers, (also known as Wilayatul Hisbah), for reportedly raping a female detainee at the Langsa Sharia Police Station. According to the Police Chief, the woman was gang-raped by the three Sharia policemen during her interrogation. Now hear the irony: the victim cum survivor of the Police rape, who was a University student, was being interrogated for allegedly violating the 2003 Sharia Public Indecency Bylaw. For how long will women endure the pains of being violated by the same state agents responsible for their protection? How many more of these cases happening within Police cells are lurking in the dark, unknown to us, and how many of these perpetrators will be brought to justice and hopefully serve as deterrent for more? How long will women continue to be at the receiving need?These questions need urgent answers!