The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) Joined efforts with Women from across the 36 states of Nigeria ably led by the Women4women and He4She group to mount a nationwide action to sensitize the public and demand from the government, more deliberate action in ensuring gender equality especially in leadership positions.
This action caused a huge stir in Abuja as we took over the streets of the seat of power. We collectively had a new message for the public: No more second fiddle role in Nigeria.
This outdoor action urged women to no longer restrict themselves to working hard to ensure that men get elective positions but to embrace the new solution, which is for them too to learn how to occupy the driver’s seat.
Acting under the platform of Women For Women (W4W) and HE4SHE Group, this rally took place on May 10, 2018. The theme of the rally was: Pressing for Progress. Participants comprised former deputy governors, ministers, lawmakers, CSO leaders, ambassadors, notable business owners, retired public servants, students and women living with disabilities, accompanied by the police band. We marched through the streets of Abuja before settling at the National Assembly complex to submit our demands to the federal lawmakers. We all later converged at the Eagle’s Square, for the grand finale.
The movement comprising women with some men who were sympathetic to the cause turned out in hundreds, dressed in colourful attires, with the dominant colour being magenta (deep pink) and white, openly canvassed better recognition for women on the social, political and economic forte.
The movement called on government at all levels to create a level playing ground to enable increased participation of women in all spheres of national development. The W4W and HE4SHE also called on the National Assembly to take further steps to create an enabling environment for the elimination of violence against women and girls and curb the growing menace of sexual and gender-based violence.
The movement pointed out with regrets, that even with the landmark legislative achievement in enacting laws like the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP Act), the appetite to prosecute and enforce is limited. Offences against women and girls such as rape, sexual and emotional abuse, trafficking, and all other harmful practices against them are still perpetuated, primarily because of the patriarchal nature of the society.
The W4W and HE4SHE are uncomfortable with the decline or reversal of many of the gains of previous years as they record abysmal number of girls without formal education and increase in dropouts as well as women without access to health care especially reproductive health.
Also the number of women in politics has dropped drastically, elected and appointed representatives are few and there is total absence of deliberate action to advance the cause of women.
The gender policy of Nigeria, which guarantees 35 percent affirmative action in favour of women and the Constitution, which guarantees non-discrimination and parity for women are totally being ignored.
The movement expressed worries about the high incidences of unemployment, particularly among women and youth, which has further increased the poverty rate in the country. They decried the fact that the economic decline, the hope inspired by previous national programmes/actions is being deferred or abandoned.
On other fronts, the exposure of women to violent crimes, banditry, conflicts, internal displacements, exploitation by insurgents and militants, drugs and sexually induced crime/oppression and abuse have made the living environment for women and girls a matter of national emergency.
Yet, women are not helpless nor are they unmindful of their electoral power. Women are grateful for the partnership of men but challenge the leadership at all levels to act on these burning issues.
WRAPA is committed to working with W4W and HE4SHE in collaboration with men to press for progress in the realization of women’s empowerment and development in Nigeria.
The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) joined other CSOs and Nigerians on the 28th of May, 2018, a day to Nigeria’s democracy day, in carrying out a nationwide action aimed at commemorating Nigerians who have lost their lives in violent killings across the country and to demand from the government, a safer and secure Nigeria for Nigerians to thrive.
Informing this action are statistics that depict that: “In the first quarter of 2018 alone, in Benue State, no fewer than 534 persons lost their lives to the ongoing conflict between farmers and herdsmen. In Nasarawa State, at least 131 persons were killed. In Kaduna State, over 218 persons, in Taraba, at least 189, In Lagos, at least 45, in Rivers, at least 70, in Akwa-Ibom, at least 16, in Kwara, at least 54, in Kogi, at least 52, in Plateau, at least 87, in Adamawa, at least 67, in Zamfara, at least 75, and in Borno, at least 361 persons were killed. Edo State too has had it share of this horror, and we are talking about the first quarter of 2018 only.”
Nigerian CSOs frown at this killings, most importantly, frown at the lack of visible response to these killings by the government at its federal level. The National Day of Mourning was observed by a massive number of Nigerians who took to the streets across the country to demonstrate their disappointment at the way lives are being lost in Nigeria and the lack of efficient measures by the government to ensure safety and security of its citizens.
Notably among all locations across the country where these demonstrations took place were Lagos and Abuja which had the highest turnout of citizens showing their concern for lives that are being lost to violent and senseless killings and demanding a safer and secure Nigeria for Nigerians to thrive. CSOs involved in this nationwide movement included (but were not limited to); WRAPA, Global Rights, Enough is Enough, Red Card Movement, Nigerian Human Rights Commission (NHRC), WARD C, Reclaim Naija, Social Integrated Development Centre (SocialAction), CDD West Africa among others.
Nigerian Musical sensation and icon Innocent Idibia, popularly known as “2baba” who joined the nationwide action at Unity Fountain Abuja, in his solidarity message was quoted by WRAPA as saying “Anyhow e be we no go keep quiet, we must talk about it and hold our leaders accountable cos na emergency situation we Dey”. Other prominent CSO leaders including Oby Ezekwesili gave their solidarity messages and expressed their disappointments at the state of security in Nigeria and advocated for a safer, more secure and fairer Nigeria.
The National Day of Mourning was largely propagated in media spaces, most especially on social media with the hashtags #NigeriaMourns #NationalDayofMourning #OneDeathTooMany.
Nigeria Civil Society Organizations commemorated three individuals with rare sterling qualities of selfless service for the good of all on Friday the 25th May, 2018 at the Electoral Institute, Abuja. These individuals are Tajudeen Abdulraheem PhD, Winnie Mandela, & Prof. Abubakar Momoh, who in their lives shared a common link of courage, conviction, struggle and giving back to humanity. The most common feature that binds all three was their demonstrated commitment and struggles against injustice within the context of continental, national and institutional levels.
A string of commemoration activities scheduled for Abuja Nigeria, featured a lecture with the theme Pan African Liberation: The Emancipation of Women and the Humanization of the Male’’. The Lecture was delivered by Prof. Horace G. Campbell, a notable international peace and justice scholar and Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. He is also the Kwame Nkrumah Chair at the Institute of African Studies University of Ghana, Legon. This took place at the Electoral Institute, Airport Road, after Bolingo Hotel Abuja within the hours of 9.30am to 12.00pm.
The late trio of Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, Abubakar Momoh and Winnie Madikizela Mandela, stand out as activists, pan Africanists and gender advocates who lived their lives fighting for human causes. Their individual determination made visible their issues, and civil society celebrates their struggles. The lessons from their lives are being promoted as learning and a motivation for generations to come. Nigeria and Africa has lost but with history and the constant reminder of what they stood for, a ray of hope remains for the continent and its people.
Pan Africanism for Taju was a calling. He kept faith with the potential of Africa. He faced the odds of speaking for a continent ravaged by the stranglehold of imperialism and corruption. He was the founding chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Development and helped found “Justice Africa”- a platform for intellectual reflections and collective action for a free and prosperous Africa. His position as Secretary General of the Pan-African movement gave him international status and access to African leaders, but little protection from the rulers in his own country. Paradoxically, his lifelong commitment to the growth of Africa was truncated by his call to glory on 25th May 2009, notably, the Africa Day of Liberation. He left behind a clarion call “Don’t agonise, Organise!”
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was a global icon of female courage with a substance for doggedness and conviction for freedom and social justice. She had an indomitable spirit that could not be broken. She had un-common principles hardly associated with the women of her generation. Popularly known as “Mother of the Nation” by her supporters, Winnie was a major force in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. She ran a life full of twists and turns. From family to society she suffered and overcame trials never losing focus of her conviction for a free South Africa that has all her people black or white, old or young, men or women enjoying equal opportunity on a level playing field. Winnie remained the public face of her husband, Nelson Mandela during the 27 years he spent in jail. Winnie served as a Member of African National Congress where she headed the Women’s League, which became a force to reckon with at the end of the apartheid regime, leading to the prominence of women in the governance structures of South Africa particularly the emergence of a constitution that gave critical rights and protection to women. Winnie died on 2 April 2018.
Abubakar Momoh was a combination of scholarship and political activism. He was a celebrated and distinguished scholar and academic. Momoh’s research and teachings traverse many universities in Africa, Europe and North America. His high aptitude and restless spirit for national development saw Abubakar working across the academia, serving in government technical committees at national and regional levels. Momoh was fearless. He believed in the sanctity of democracy as a means to an end for a just and egalitarian society. He was appointed Director General of The Electoral Institute, an independent research and knowledge development arm of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission where he worked tirelessly to revive the vision of the body and raise the role of learning and experience in elections planning and management in Nigeria and across the continent. Momoh is a scholar and an activist who walked the talk. He will be remembered for his brush with death during an election, which put to test his conviction for credible elections in Nigeria; no matter the odds. Ironically Momoh died on 29, May 2017, Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
The Commemoration event featured solidarity messages in commemoration of the Trio from CSO leaders round the world as well as mentees, friends and family.
The Women’s Rights Advancement & Protection Alternative (WRAPA), has stepped up its efforts in the advocacy for the Gender & Equal Opportunities Bill (GEO Bill), despite frustrations from the law makers in bringing the bill to public opinion, as depicted in the most recent postponement of the public hearing of bill which was set to take place on the 19th of February 2018.
Aside the fact that this is the second time the Public Hearing has been scheduled to hold without success, it also portrays the degree of importance the hallowed chambers place on the Bill. This is a loud and clear message from parliament to Nigerians that closing the equality gap between men and women, boys and girls is not a priority. The GEO Bill has faced strong opposition in recent times largely due to a lack of understanding of the proposed bill, its provisions and what it hopes to achieve for all Nigerians especially as it relates to achieving Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals to which Nigeria is committed.
WRAPA has stepped up its efforts in its advocacy for the GEO Bill despite road blocks in its advocacy for the Bill. WRAPA has constantly been in all media spaces sensitizing Nigerians on this Bill and what it aims to achieve as well as mounting adequate pressure on the Government and other Law makers for the passage of the Bill. WRAPA has joined forces with other concerned organizations and stakeholders to carry out rallies, outdoor campaigns and road walks. Part of these efforts in the advocacy for the GEO Bill were visible in the just concluded International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018 campaign as well as other online campaigns afterwards.
WRAPA is hereby calling on men and women of good will to join this campaign in order to prevail on the National Assembly to move forward with the consideration of the Bill and give men and women a chance in sustainable development.
Please click to https://wrapanigeria.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GEO-BILL-SB-301-Revised-15-June-2016.pdf to download a copy of the #GEOBill.
The Women’s Rights Advancements and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) Nigeria, With support from TrustAfrica, is conducting a one year (September 2017 – August 2018) scoping project aimed at data and documentation to provide a more comprehensive review of the nature and prevalence of SGBV incidents within the context of the insurgency. The project is mapping existing interventions and their effectiveness in providing documented evidence derived directly from engagements with survivors in camps and host communities.
The project has successfully completed its Data Collection stage, whereby Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Survivors were being interviewed. Data Collectors who were engaged by WRAPA were on the field in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps and host communities in Borno State, North-East Nigeria to carry out this process. The project is now in its Data Analysis Stage.
This project is being done with the objective of achieving appropriate documentation to support the advocacy for accountability of actors in the conflict and to provide programming content towards psychosocial support for Sexual and Gender Based Violence survivors.
The International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women was marked all over the world on the 8th of March, 2018. The IWD also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The IWD has occurred for well over a century and prior to this Socialist Party of U.S.A, U. K’s Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for gender parity. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere in the world.
WRAPA as a household name in its work around advancement and protection of women’s rights and in fulfilment of its mandates to protect and promote the rights of women and girls, actively participated in this global campaign.
To join the rest of the world in Commemoration of the IWD 2018, WRAPA seized the media by employing broadcast and new media concepts in conducting both sensitization and engagement processes across the country and the world at large.
WRAPA carried out a 3-Day Online Conference and Radio Talk-Show tagged “INCREASING CRITICAL MASS OF VOICES FOR GENDER PARITY IN NIGERIA”. This Programme cut across sensitive issues such as Access to Justice for Women and Girls with the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill (GEO Bill) in Focus, Access to Safety and Security for Girl-Child Education with the insurgency in Dapchi, Yobe State in Focus and developing a zero-tolerance culture towards Violence Against Women (VAW).
WRAPA resource persons, whom are high-level Development Practitioners and Gender Experts were deployed to engage the public on these sensitive issues via the Online Conference medium and the Radio. The Online Conference took place on the Twitter platform with the hashtag #LetsTalkGBV and #PressForProgress, which was the global theme of this year’s IWD.
WRAPA recorded over 22,000,000 impressions (Number of times posts/messages with the #LetsTalkGBV were seen online) and 400 attendees from Nigeria and other parts of the world and as such #LetsTalkGBV trended as the No. 1 topic in Nigeria on Twitter on 8th of March 2018.
WRAPA participated and recorded successes in other activities to commemorate the IWD 2018, among which Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi (MFR), WRAPA Secretary General was interviewed live on CNN on the Dapchi Insurgency crisis on the 8th of March. Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi was also Live on BBC Hausa TV and Radio and the Nigerian Military Radio. WRAPA enjoyed benefits of a partnership with Women FM as they were also instrumental in information dissemination across their networks which boosted visibility and engagement of the programme. WRAPA was also live on Wazobia FM and Vision FM