The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom’ Welfare Campaign invites journalists and media workers across Nigeria to participate in the Newsroom survey, designed to help identify the best media organization with quality working conditions in Nigeria. Read More
Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) once said: “A woman is like a teabag– you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
Today, society’s expectations of women are endless and, sometimes, unrealistic. More women are being criticized over their inability to do everything and be everything as this is what society interprets as empowerment and modernity.
The story of women in the struggle for equity belongs to no singular organization, feminist, NGO, charity, academic institution, or activist group in particular. However, it is the collective effort of people who care for human rights.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March, annually, to commemorate the valour of women across the world. This is a day when women from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds come together to memorialize their struggle for peace, equality, equity, justice and development. This day allows women to raise their voices for access to equal opportunities in any field she wishes to participate in.
There are too many unrealistic expectations of women: the expectation that she should be smart but keep it in check, she should be educated but not too educated as that will threaten potential suitors, she should be independent but not too independent so that the man in her life will feel needed, she should care for the children with little or no help while working and serving her husband with a smile and more.
Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” – Hillary Clinton.
In Africa, women are the victims of gross human rights violations. For example, there are six (6) countries in Africa that do not have laws protecting women against domestic violence. They include Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Lesotho, Mali and Niger. Other violations against women include early child marriage, female genital mutilation and even cultural and economic practices discriminate against women on the continent, till today.
In Nigeria, women’s rights remain largely trampled on. Despite the fact the there are laws dictating the rights of women in the county, there is a widespread lack of faith in constituted authorities to enforce these laws, especially in the cases of abuse. The judicial structure allows the presence of people other than the victims, witnesses and lawyers in court proceedings, which serves to intimidate victims of abuse, causing them to refrain from proceeding legally. Similarly, the requirements to prove rape cases in Nigeria form another hurdle against women (and men) who have been affected by this ghastly crime, and so far very little has been done to remove this obstacle.
Domestic violence and spousal rape are socially acceptable in most cases. Some people brag that domestic violence against their wives is an effective ‘disciplinary measure,’ while onlookers refuse to intervene, calling it a ‘family affair.’ Resultantly, women are encouraged to avoid taking such acts to court or making their sufferings public.
A report by UNICEF shows that 60% of the 13.2 million out-of-school children are girls. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) stated that only 45% of girls in Northern Nigeria are enrolled in school with the North accounting for 69% of the 13.2 million children out of school.
Some cultures, like the prevalent ones in the northern parts of Nigeria, still frown on sending girls to school because they believe it is a waste. Instead, they encourage parents to give out their daughters in marriage at a tender age. In the south, other customs insist on Female Genital Mutilation, which exposes girls to various health hazards and complications as she grows.
Although the law states equality, age-long traditions have placed women as inferior to men. The northern Nigeria penal code provides that an assault by a man on a woman is not an offence if they are married. The native custom, here, recognises violence against women as lawful if there is no grievous harm. However, who defines grievous harm? If grievous hurt is measured on a physical scale, what happens to the psychological trauma it leaves on the victim? As experts have proven, violence can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety. How, then, does the law protect women?
On March 16, 2016, the Nigerian Senate rejected a bill sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi, seeking to empower women politically and economically as well as grant them equal opportunity in diverse human endeavours. It was disappointing to see a bill that sought to tackle domestic violence and underage marriage was thrown out, but, it was not surprising. As parliamentarians continue to wash their hands off of this problem, the country’s women continue to bear the brunt of their inactivity.
In Nigeria, several public cases of violence against women have been recorded. These include the assassination of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, the wife of the Late M.K.O Abiola, the abduction of over 276 female government school students in the town of Chibok in Borno state by Boko Haram and the abduction of the Dapchi school girls. Also, the murder of Eunice Olawale, a Christian preacher murdered by Muslim extremists, the murder of Christiana Oluwatoyin, a Christian Nigerian teacher who was lynched by Muslim pupils, the abduction, rape and forceful conversion to Islam of Ese Oruru the arrest of Maryam Awaisu, an activist speaking up against sexual abuse of northern girls and so much more.
Despite these enormous setbacks, some women in Nigeria have proven to the world that a woman can be anything and everything she wants. Women like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, breaking through in literature, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of United Nations, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Managing Director of the World Bank, renowned for being the first black female candidate to contest for the presidency of the World Bank Group in 2012, Folorunsho Alakija, one of the richest woman in Africa and, subsequently, one of the richest black women in the world, Ainehi Edoro, the brain behind ‘Brittle paper,’ and many more.
The celebration and commemoration of International Women’s Day help more women realize their potential and inspire others to achieve their potential. On this day, the world unites to appreciate women who make tremendous improvements to their communities and to the world.
Additionally, the day allows for advocacy on the work that still needs to be done to bridge gaps that exclude women and sensitise everyone to the need for equal access.
Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding, allowing us to build better futures for all.
Happy International Women’s Day.
The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) has announced that it is inviting journalists on the judiciary and anti-corruption beats on various media platforms to apply for its Investigative Journalism and Fact Checking training.
A statement by the organisation said the training will be held between the end of March and May 2019.
The PTCIJ noted that the aim of the training is to improve the practice of verification and fact-checking and also improve the capacity of the media in evidence-based tracking and reporting of corruption in the Criminal Justice and Anti-corruption sector.
“The training is being supported by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme funded by the European Union,” the organisation said.
“RoLAC is working in Nigeria to support the rule of law, good governance and fight against corruption at the federal level and in four focal states: Adamawa, Anambra, Kano, and Lagos.”
Launched in 2017, RoLAC focuses on reforming the criminal justice system, ensuring women, children and people with disabilities have access to justice, improving the performance of anti-corruption agencies and how they work together and enhancing the voice of Nigerians in curbing corruption.
The application runs until March 8 and could be accessed via this link.
PTCIJ was founded in 2014 to help strengthen investigative journalism, promote fundamental human rights and advocate for good governance and transparency in Nigeria.
A group advocating for freedom of the press has condemned the attacks on journalists and pressmen in the line of duty during the Nigerian Presidential and National Assembly elections held on Saturday the 23rd of February, 2019.
The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Abuja in partnership with the African Studies program of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Washington, D.C. is conducting a gendered analysis of the 2019 Nigerian elections.
As Nigerians across board head to the polls to exercise their civic duty in the 2019 general elections in less than 24 hours, it is important to note that attacks on journalists and observers covering the elections are a crime against democracy.
The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) has called on the MD/CEO of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, Dr. Marilyn Amobi, to immediately stop the victimization of two whistleblowers, Sambo Abdullahi, Deputy General Manager and Head of Internal Audit, and Waziri Bintube, General Manager and Chief Finance Officer.
The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) calls on the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to take action with regards to the corruption allegations against the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading PLC boss, Marilyn Amobi and the alleged victimization of the whistleblowers at the NBET office.
The travails of Messrs Abdullahi Sambo and Waziri Bintube at Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) began in June 2017 after the former wrote to the Ministry of Power, Works, and Housing challenging his redeployment in the company. Sambo maintains that his redeployment and subsequent predicament at NBET is not unconnected with his whistle-blowing on the MD/CEO of NBET, Dr Marilyn Amobi, whom he accuses of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds. Mr Bintube, who is an official in the finance department, co-authored the petition against the MD.
In Kaduna, Habiba, a young lady on the streets of Barnawa holding a baby and a stick of weed shares her story, “I did not decide to be an addict, my family were a trouble to me, I was treated ill from others, I didn’t feel loved by my parents so and I started to find solace with my friends and neighbours, who introduced me to a cigarette- like stick, I was 16 yrs old I did not like it at first but it gave me a good feeling, I was always smiling and my worries became less. I want to stop, I tried to stop but each time I go a day without codeine cough syrup or weed I become sad and depressed and I feel like the world is going to end – So I continue, stopping will be very hard for me. Sometimes I feel sick but I can’t stop”.
Theresa Justin, a woman who lives in Makurdi was only 41 when she was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in June 2017. She recalled feeling calm when the doctors told her because she had grown up seeing a woman in her neighbourhood who had survived breast cancer. “I didn’t even know there was a World Cancer Day” she said when informed about the relevance of this day.