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Scenes Around Nigerian Women In 2020

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A review of the events of the year 2020 in Nigeria, cannot be complete without remarkable happenings around the women. The Tide’s Women Desk takes a look at scenarios of events involving Nigerian women within the year under review.

Prof (Mrs) Blessing Esuru Ahiauzu was recently on the news for a good reason.This time, she has broken a record as the only person and woman to become a Professor of Library and Information Management in Rivers and Bayelsa States.
Prof (Mrs) Blessing Esuru Ahiauzu, who incidentally is the wife of the former Vice Chancellor of the then Rivers State University of Science and Technology, now Rivers State University,Prof Augustine Ahiauzu, was the lecturer, at the 67th inaugural lecture of the institution.
The distinguished audience at the occasion intermittently applauded and poured encomiums on her for her astuteness and brilliance, and the fact that she is the first Professor of Library and Information Management in the institution, made the honour conferred on her by the university at the event most significant.
No doubt, Prof Blessing Ahiauzu who rose from the ranks as a university Librarian from 1979 to 2017 to get to her current level, could not have achieved this great feat without hard work, humility, dedication and wisdom.
On his part, former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, who congratulated Prof Blessing Ahiauzu on her achievements, emphasised the need for awareness campaign on the importance of Library and Information Management to be taken to the grassroots Generation Equality.
The Government of Nigeria and UN Women launched the Generation Equality campaign in Nigeria. The Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, declared the campaign officially launched in the presence of a high-level UN delegation including UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed.

Amina Mohammed
Dignitaries at the launch included the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare; Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas; Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), Ms. Hanna Tetteh; Assistant Administrator, Director, Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa; UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon; Chief of Staff to the Deputy Senate President, Dr. Otive Igbuzor; British High Commissioner to Nigeria, H.E. Catriona Laing; Australian Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Claire Ireland; Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Carl Michael Grans and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Norway in Nigeria, H.E. Ingrid Skjølaas.
UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey introduced the campaign: “The Generation Equality campaign is rooted in a journey that began 25 years ago in Beijing, China when 189 countries gathered to adopt what is considered the most ambitious blueprint for women’s empowerment and gender equality to date – the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, with its 12 critical areas of concern. Today, 25 years later we have a chance to take stock of progress and also to chart a new path forward. It is in doing so that we launch the Generation Equality campaign.”
Women in End SARS campaign
Very fresh in our memories, is a leading role played by Nigerian Women in the recent past #EndSARS movement against police brutality and government violence in Nigeria, specifically seeking to abolish a federal police unit called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. One nascent women’s group in particular, the Feminist Coalition, has used digital platforms to mobilise funds and design strategies to support protesters across Nigeria.
The Feminist Coalition’s work in the #EndSARS movement continues a long history of women leading and supporting political mobilizations across Africa. In July, Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi, both under 30, formed the Feminist Coalition activist group alongside 12 other young women. The group advocates equality for women in Nigeria through a focus on advancing education, financial freedom and representation in public office. Based in Lagos, the group uses online platforms for its work.
The Feminist Coalition gained popularity when it took on a central role in the #EndSARS protests just two months later. It raised and managed funds for the movement, established a legal aid service made up of volunteers, and coordinated help lines to align efforts across the country.

Ndidi Nwosu
Ndidi Nwosu:
March 1, 2020, saw the end of a 40- year old Owerri-born Nigerian female powerlifter and Paralympic champion, Ndidi Nwosu, who became a professional powerlifter in 2008. Ndidi Nwosu won gold in the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016, gold in the 2018 Commonwealth Games which took place in Australia, where she sustained an injury that affected her spine and incapacitated her the rest of her life in spite of the series of surgery she had.
She gave up the ghost on March 1, 2020, led to her having different surgeries in Owerri, Imo State Nigeria.
Okonjo – Iweala
10 June – The World Trade Organisation accepts the nomination of two-time Nigerian minister Okonjo-Iweala as its Director-General.The global economy faces profound uncertainties, particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, faith in the efficacy of international bodies such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been weakened by a power struggle between China and the US.
As the process for appointing a new head of the organisation moves into its final phase, it is hoped that front runner Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala posseses the wherewithal to manage the international organisation, including designing and implementing reforms.
As the first woman and African to head the trade body, Okonjo-Iweala has shattered a couple of ceilings at the same time. She also has a chance to put Africa’s plans to build the world’s biggest free trade area on the top table, pointing to the productive and market opportunities on the continent.

Shafkat Bose Adewoyin
Shafkat Bose adewoyin:
The nation was thrown into a sorrowful mood as the news of the death of a renowned actress, Shafkat Bose Adewoyin, hitted the news wave on June 23, 2020. Shafkat Bose Adewoyin, was a Nigerian Nollywood actress. She was best known for her role as Madam Tinubu in Efunroye Tinubu. Adewoyin played in stage plays like ORÍ (Destiny) and as “Mama Oni” alongside Adebayo Salami in Funke Akindele’s Omo Ghetto.

Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile
Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile:
A notable event in the women circle that can’t be forgotten in a hurry, in the year under review, is the death and burial of a 24- year old Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile, on July 14, 2020.Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile, born December 13, 1995, was not just the youngest female helicopter pilot, she was the first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigerian Air Force.
According to Nigerian Air Force spokesman, Ibikunle Daramola, Arotile died on 14 July 2020 as a result of head injuries sustained in a road traffic accident at the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna State, when she was inadvertently hit by the vehicle of a former Air Force Secondary School classmate who was trying to greet her.
Arotile was described as courageous, patriotic, nationalist and a role model for Nigerian youth.

 

By:  Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi

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Women

Ondo Women Protest Half-Naked Over Insecurity

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Hundreds of women across four local government areas in Ondo State on Saturday protested against worsening security challenges in the area.
The women, who took to the streets of Oka Akoko, Akungba Akoko and some other Akoko towns, demanded improved security from the state and federal government.
Recent spate of insecurity in the area include abduction of teachers by gunmen in Auga Akoko, the killing of a police officer at Oka Akoko last week, and the attack on 17 travellers on Ifira Akoko-Isua Akoko road by armed robbers among others.
Some of the protesters, who held brooms, were half-naked and chanting various solidarity songs along the streets.
Recall that Amotekun Corps also arrested no fewer than 17 suspected bandits from the North-West of Nigeria when they stormed Okitipupa area of the state.
The suspected criminals were found with dogs, cutlasses and charms as they wandered in the area without purpose.
It was the distress call by residents of the community to Amotekun operatives that led to their arrest.

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Women

Civil Society Calls For Laws To Harmonise NGOs’ Activities

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Some Rivers Civil society organisation under the aegis of Rivers network of NGO’s (RINNGOS) is calling on state governments in the country to come up with rules and regulations to harmonise and coordinate civil societies’ registrations for optimum performances.
This was part of the resolutions at a network Dialogue /Consultation with the theme “Strengthening State Civil Society Networks/Coalitions to Harmonise Regulatory Frameworks at the Sub-National Level”, sponsored by the European Union (EU) British Council and the Nigerian Network of NGOs.
The group also planned advocacy visits to ministries, departments and agencies in Rivers State with the view to canvassing for laws that will harmonise civil society organisations registrations in Rivers State.
According to a programme profile made available to newsmen at the programme, the objectives of the project include: raising awareness and supporting sub-national networking/coalitions of CSOs in European Union (EU) Focal States to collect and review existing frame work in their respective states to identify the gaps and opportunities for better harmonisation and coordination of CSO registration and regulations at the sub national level.
It also seeks to engage stakeholders to improve responsiveness between states ministries, departments and agencies and sub-national CSOs on the need for a harmonised regulatory framework.
It noted that the organisation aims to work in various areas such as: HIV/Aids, environmental protection, malaria, women affairs and others.
Declaring the event opened, the chairperson of Rivers Network of NGOs, Mrs Mina Ogbanga, said the event was to equip participants with the skills for advocacy.
Ogbanga said the task of changing the society is a collective one, adding that the Rivers Network of NGOs will work with every interest group to achieve success.
She said that the donor agencies were ready to fund participants to carry out projects in their respective communities.
High point of the event was the inauguration of four groups charged with the responsibility of embarking on advocacy visits to various ministries, departments and agencies in the states.

By: John Bibor & Oribim Ibama

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Women

Women And Harmful Practices

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The bill for prohibition of harmful practices against women at the National Assembly is a welcome development.
Severally, there have been talks, seminars, workshops, fora, arguments, bills and laws abolishing issues that concern women, especially violence.  But a lot has not been achieved to curtail the menace.
Violence against girls and women has been on the increase.  From time to time, it is either girls are denied access to father’s property or a widow is denied inheritance to husband’s properties.  Even when laws are put in place about things that will help women have their rights, some persons feel that culture and tradition do not permit.
We are aware that some women are rich and may not want to partake in the share of their late parents’ property, but there are vulnerable ones who need to be empowered, through perhaps, late parents’ property inheritance.
Some of the obnoxious laws were made before now without the consent of women. There was no representative to either argue for or against so as to be beneficial to women generally.  Some of the laws were so primitive that even when civilisation came, became difficult to change. Very unfortunately, it is the women that execute the laws made by men in their absence. Women are suffering it.
If the bill abolishing certain practices against women and girls will be passed into law by the National Assembly, it will be better for them.  For long, laws against female genital mutilation and circumcision have existed but some communities with their culture and tradition have refused to put a stop to it with reasons best known to them.
Circumcision of a full-grown girl or lady may not be the only way of attaining maturity. It is a harmful practice and the pain associated with it cannot be imagined.  This illegal operation is not performed in the hospital so the dangers inherent will be much.
For those who still practice it, the menace should be discouraged as that is not a proper way of ushering a girl into womanhood. A lot of women lose their lives due to pains experienced during the process. it was practised in the past when civilisation was not there, it is a different case, nowadays with science and technology proving it wrong, those who still practise not should resist.
It is a right step in the right direction and it is time the National Assembly and all stakeholders intensified efforts in dealing with persons who perpetuate evil against their fellow women.
If the bill will be passed into law by the National Assembly, it is welcome but the fear that comes to mind is implementation.  The issue has been dwelt on for decades, but it is still practised as big ceremonies in some communities.
When it comes to inheritance, a girl born into a family, married or unmarried will be denied access to father’s property but if it has to do with the demise of parents or sickness, the woman and the husband will be mandated to provide a cow for the burial rites or offset medical bills.
If the National Assembly makes laws concerning the well-being of women, community heads, molecular leaders, women groups and associations, religious organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations NGOs and civil society organisations (CSOs) should create more awareness through the media to sensitise rural dwellers.
In this digital era, it should be forbidden that a woman loses her spouse and she is mandated to drink water used on the late husband.
The items in the bill to be passed into law by the National Assembly are in order as it concerns women.
A legal practitioner,  Tam Jacobs, said if one forcefully shaves a woman’s hair with the intention that she is mourning her late spouse, she can sue that person for assault.
He said if the woman is forced to drink water used on her late husband’s body, she can also sue for attempted murder.
According to him, several cases of girl-child inheritance have been won and documented in the law court but some cannot claim it.
“Even a widow who is handicapped may not be able to make attempts so NGOs, CSOs should be in the forefront to support them and ensure that the laws are implemented at the grassroots level where they are practised”, he said.
A pharmacist, Eno Amos said any culture that does not add colour and value to life should be abolished.
She added that implementation can be easy in the cities where awareness has been created but expressed fear that it may not be easy in the rural areas where culture is really practised.
A business woman, Agnes Ugwu, said tradition and culture were made by man and not God and wondered why people who claim to be educated still follow the tradition of ancestors who never went to school.
Ignorance also comes to play here.  If you have watched a documentary showing female genital mutilation and the gory experience the young women go through, is something else.  Some of the perpetrators claim that the practice has existed for ages. Women have to learn more about issues that concern them.
A nurse, Rosy Ekeocha, said it is not about culture but about the behavior of a group of people in the community who force it on others.
According to her, let people change their behaviour and leave culture alone.  It doesn’t happen in every family and if any family allows it that’s their business.
She said we are in the 21st century, certain culture and tradition need to be reviewed to ensure that they allign with today’s reality.
Culture is dynamic she said, but that implementation of laws relating to the vulnerable in the society calls for concern.
We should not behave the way people behaved five dacades ago, after all, we do not dress the way our forefathers dressed.  Time has evolved and things are getting better as it concerns women. We are getting more exposed and more enlightened about issues that concern is.  Information is moving round as the world is a global village.
Talking about culture nowadays, we wear shoes whereas our forefathers never had any.  They walked barefooted
far distances to get family necessities but things are better now as we are mobile.
That should also happen to culture and tradition.  There are certain aspects of our culture and tradition which are practised today that have expired long ago. We should get rid off them.
It is expected that the bills abolishing obnoxious practices against women and girls in the society will achieve expected results when passed into law at the floor of the House.

By: Eunice Choko-Kayode

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