Technical Workshop on Gender-Based Violence


The workshop commenced with registration at 9.05a.m  while Imam Busairi Salaudeen said the opening prayer at10:40am to formally start the meeting.


The programme was anchored by Barr. Aderonke Ige who invited to the high table the following dignitaries: Miss Yewande Ige representing the Oyo State Ministry for Women Affairs and Social Welfare; Barrister  Mrs. Grace Ketefe, the Resource person and the Principal Coordinator CAFSO-WRAG for Development Dr. Tola Winjobi. They were later joined by the Chairman, Oyo State House of Assembly House Committee on Women Affairs, Hon. Barr Yisau Azeez Adesope and Chairman House Committee on Works and Lands Hon. Wahab Oladejo.


A welcome address was given by Dr David Tola Winjobi the Principal Coordinator CAFSO-WRAG for Development. In his speech he stated some projects his organization has implemented which include:

  1. Achieving MDGs in Nigeria: “Protect Women from dying in pregnancy and Children from Dying at Infancy” Sponsored by United Nations Millennium Campaign
  2. Respecting the Rights of Female Bank Staff sponsored by Global Fund for Women, USA.
  3. House Bill Prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation in Osun State supported by Amnesty International.
  4. Building a shelter for women victims of Gender-Based Violence and Human Trafficking (ALC/Rotary of Italy)
  5. Research project on Street/Working Children in Urban Slum of Oyo State (Funded by UNICEF)

He made it known that Gender-Based Violence was topical and rampart in Nigeria. He shared some reported cases of a 50-year old man having sexual intercourse with 4 years old- a more or less infant girl with cases of rape rampart. He said right-based approach was the best way of tackling Gender-Based Violence.


The resource person Barrister Mrs. Grace Ketefe in her presentation made it known that the highest incidence of Gender-Based Violence occurred in the home and at the bosom of closely knitted family. Incidents of Gender-Based Violence such as wife battery, rape, and killing etc. were or increase in Nigeria, according to her. Only 6 out of 36 States in Nigeria have laws prohibiting and punishing offenses on Gender-Based Violence.

Below are some definitions given on gender-based violence:

Ekiti State GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE (Prohibition) Law 2011 defines Gender-Based Violence as the violence that affects a person or group disproportionately because of their sex.

United Nations Populations Fund Gender Theme Group, 1996 defines Gender-Based Violence as violence involving men and women, in which the female is usually the victim and which is derived from unequal power relationships between men and women.

In her findings, statistics on Gender-Based Violence prevalence in national and at the global level shows that:

  • Among women aged 15-44 years, Gender-Based Violence accounts for more death and disability than combined effects of cancer, malaria, traffic-related injuries and war.
  • Women who are victims of domestic violence are 12times more likely to attempt suicide than those who do not experience such violence.

The following constitute types of Gender-Based Violence:

  1. Physical Violence: assault and /battery, kicking, stabbing, human trafficking etc.

  2. Psychological Violence: any behavior that makes another person feels constantly unhappy or afraid, jittery or depressed, including verbal abuse etc.
  3. Economic Violence: Any act such as denial of funds, refusal to contribute financially, denial of food and basic needs and controlling of health care and employment.
  4. Harmful Traditional Practices: female genital mutilation, child marriage, dowry related violence etc.
  5. Domestic Violence: marital rape, confinement or detention against her will, verbal and emotional abuses etc.
  6. Sexual violence: any forceful engagement of another in a sexual conduct that abuses, humiliates or degrades the other person or otherwise defiles another person’s sexual integrity or a sexual contact of a person aware of being infected with HIV/STD. Examples include rape, sexual harassment, child defilement forced sterilization and pregnancy.

She also shared some strategies for curbing GBV which include:

  • Coordinated Responses to Gender-Based Violence: the responses are from the health, legal and social support all combined together to ensure that victims live a very rewarding and fulfilled life after experience.

  • Coordinated legal responses to victims of Gender-Based Violence will ensure that victim enjoys the following services:

  1. Referrals to/from police and social support sectors
  2. Effective Police/Justice statement –taking and documentation
  3. Ensure the safety of the survivor
  4. Prosecution of the perpetrators
  • Reintegration and establishment of the victim of Gender-Based Violence: to reintegrate the victims it is important to provide social support, provision of safe hosing/shelter, relocation services, if required and if necessary long-term psychosocial counseling and rehabilitation.


The following contributions to the discussions were made:

  • Imam Busairi of World Islamic Peace Foundation gave his contribution stating that suffering and smiling life style is applicable to Muslim women and Nigerian women in general.
  • Dr. (Mrs.) Dupe Ladapo representing Women and Children Aids Initiative also shared a story about a man who defiled her daughter and fight against any young men try or willing to be in relationship with her daughter.
  • Mrs.Tola-Winjobi also advised we stop stigmatization when we know someone who is a victim of rape while she also shared the case of a Quran teacher that raped one of his students.


There were three technical groups in all each focusing on:

  1. Presentation of a bill on GBV

  2. Position paper on Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
  3. Manifestations of GBV and suggestions for curbing it

The first group worked on proposed bill. The following were amendments proposed:

 (1) LONG TITLE: A law to provide for prohibition and protection against GBV and related matter

(2) SECTION 2(5) 48hrs as opposed to 72hrs

(3) To be included in the bills:

(a) Punishment section

(b) Emergency monetary relief for victims who have suffering financially or monetarily

(c) “Attempts” should be provided for and penalized accordingly

(d) After- care services for the victim to include counseling, psycho- social support etc

The second group worked on the position paper. Below is the breakdown on the structure of the paper:

(1) Profile of the organization including vision and mission, and objectives

(2) Introduction to GBV

(3) Types & causes of GBV

(4) Data and Equivalence (Statistics)

(5) Addressing the issue (GBV)

(6) Challenges of GBV

(7) Conclusion

The third group worked on manifestation of GBV and suggestions for curbing it. The following key inputs were made:

The various dimensions of GBV were presented under the following sub-divisions

(i) Physical violence: assault, battery, acid bath, hot water bath

(ii) Psychological Violence

(iii) Economics Violence: women as bread winner, stopping a woman from working, financial deprivation.

(iv) Harmful traditional practices: inheritance, girl forced to marriage, genital mutilation, widowhood practices.

(v) Sexual Violence: forced sex, tying of hands, legs, mouth and the eyes.

(vi)  Institutional Violence: discrimination and marginalization at the work place, more men in decision making positions.

Suggestions for curbing Gender-Based Violence:

  1. Public enlighten and sensitization: involving media, print and electronic means, and sensitization training for police, health workers, and religious institutions.

  2. Stakeholders – governments, NBA, FIDA etc –  should ensure that culprits are bought to book.
  3. Overall sensitization of people.
  4. Establishment of GBV Unit in the High Court
  5. The legislative arm to make legislation on GBV while existing bill be passed into law.
  6. Create a better legal frame work to prosecute and punish GBV perpetrators (it should be a state case, and whoever tries to cover suit case up should be prosecuted).
  7. Promote positive cultural values through media, schools etc.
  8. Setting up peer educators in schools.
  9. Emphasize adequate sex education in schools and homes.
  10. Set up public counseling center on reproductive health and Gender-Based Violence.
  11. Provision of shelter to rehabilitate victims and give them protection.


Hon. Azeez Yisau Adesope and Hon. Wahab Oladejo came in during the formation of technical group on GBV and shared with us their interest in GBV. They were in support of the proposed bill on GBV. They promised to support the bill  when brought to the House for legislation.  They also told us the procedures for presenting bill to the house of assembly which includes forwarding our proposed bill to the House of Assembly and having a link in the House of Assembly that will hasten the proposed bill which ordinarily should undergo three readings before being passed into law.


All the participants were designated as advocacy champions on GBV. However, the workshop resolved to fast-track the process of campaigning and legislation against GBV by appointing the following organizations and individuals to do a follow up to the activities:

  1. Dr D. Tola Winjobi, CAFSO-WRAG for Development
  2. Barr. Miss Aderonke Ige, Justice Development and Peace Commission
  3. Barr. Mrs W. Funmi Odutayo, Legal Aid Council
  4. Barr Miss Ifeoma Obiajulu, Legal Rights Protection Organization
  5. Barr. Miss Oluwakemi Ogunsade, FIDA Oyo State
  6. Dr Mrs M.A. Ladapo, Women and Children Aid Initiative
  7. Sheik Imam Salaudeen Busairi, World Islamic Peace Foundation


A total number of twenty- six (26) participants, six more than the number originally envisaged, attended the workshop.


A vote of thanks was given by Mrs Deborah Salami while the closing prayer was said by  Dr. (Mrs) Ladapo M.A at 3:40 p.m.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Welcome Address at the Capacity Enhancement Workshop on Advocacy Skills for CSOs and the Media


I heartily welcome all of you to this twoday Capacity Enhancement Training on Advocacy Skills for CSOs and the Media on FOI Act Implementation in the South-West States of Nigeria.

As we are all aware, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was signed into law on the 28th of May, 2011 by President Goodluck E. Jonathan. It is the first law that empowers Nigerians with the right to access the records of public institutions (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) as well as the private sector, where they perform responsibilities of public nature. The Act which is a codification of the right to know and also a fundamental human right of every Nigerian citizen, grants all persons the legally enforceable right to access public held records. Moreover, the signing of the FOI Bill into law is an opportunity for the clearest demonstration ever of the power of civil society working together to influence public policy and initiate reform.

The preamble to the longish title of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 clearly sets out in a self-interpretative language the following as the objectives and thrust of the law as follows:

  • Making Public Records and Information freely available;
  • Provision for Public Access to Public Records and Information;
  • Protection of Serving Officers from adverse consequences of disclosing certain official information and;
  • Establishment of Procedures for the achievement of the above and related purposes.

The whole Act borders on the issue of the right of access of anyone to public record and information. Section 2(1) of the Act categorically declares and establishes the right of any person to access or request information “which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution howsoever described”, whether such information is in a written form or otherwise.

What is more to the above unprecedented right is the express provision in the Act at Section2(2) that an applicant, that is, any person seeking access to public record and information, need not demonstrate any specific interest in the information being applied for. This singular ancillary provision is most laudable having regard to the fact that before the Act, public institutions, offices and government agencies had effectively used the ground of lack of or insufficient interest as a Carte Blanche to refuse any application for information in the custody of government offices or officials.

Current Situation of the Act in Nigeria:

Since the act was signed into law, there is relatively low level of awareness of the FOIA among members of the public in Nigeria and especially in the southwest geo-political zone. The situation is worse in the northeast geopolitical zone for obvious reasons as many public servants are not aware of the Act while those that are aware do not know the import of the Act. Apart from Ekiti State, no other State in the Southwest has enacted a State level FOI Law. Many public institutions and officials are yet to fulfill their obligation under Section 13 of the FOI Act, requiring them to build the capacity of their workforce to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act. The free flow of essential public information as stipulated by the FoI Act is being hampered by the lack of official websites by some public institutions and lack of regular update of information by those who have.

Most private organizations including CSOs utilizing public funds, performing public functions or providing public services, erroneously believe that they are exempted from the ambit of the application of the FOIA.  Furthermore and worse still, some state governments also incorrectly opine that they are not bound by the provisions of the FOI Act. A bad example is that of the Attorney General for Oyo State who in April said that his State (Oyo) was not bound by the Act. Efforts were made to seek audience with him so as to educate him that the law of the federal republic takes precedence over those enacted by any state while each state is bound by the federal law.

Rationale and Objectives for the Workshop:

Apart from apathy from the CSOs, there is also skepticism among some of them about the safety and security of whistleblowers including the media. Though many CSOs are aware of the Act, many lack the skill needed as whistle-blowers to engage the public officials and the legislators on the need to implement the Act in their respective states.

The need to create public awareness of what Freedom of Information is and its connection to the daily lives of stakeholders is paramount. Media and the use of ICT bear much relevance in this regard. People need to see it being done and not to see what ought to be done. The demands to know and the knowledge of how to apply the information obtained in solving social, economic and political problems facing different people at different stages of life need to be addressed.

The overall objective of the Southwest FOIA Network is to contribute to the  promotion of freedom of speech and human rights, deepen democratic accountability and strengthen the rule of law in Nigeria. The specific objectives of the workshop, however, are to:

  • Strengthen the advocacy skills of the CSOs to lobby the law-makers in their respective states in drafting and passing acceptable state FOI laws consistent with the FOIA at the national level.
  • Provide a platform for generating discussions and relevant actions around FOIA implementation.
  • Identify with a view to partnering with relevant MDAs, the institutional bodies affected by the freedom of information law and development partners in ensuring unfettered FOIA implementation.
  • Increase the capacity and skills of CSOs and the Media to embark on relevant activities to increase the level of awareness on the FOI Act among members of the public including those at the grassroots.

I would like to use this medium to appeal to the federal government of Nigeria to, as a matter of urgency, declare a sincere state of emergency on our educational system. In view of the current impasse between ASUU and the federal government, the latter should accede to the request of the former so that our children could go back to school immediately. The federal government should desist from violating the provisions of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Act 2011 as it is evident that NUC has neglected its regulatory function by serving as an emergency contractor, constituting itself into a tenders board for the universities and colleges of education, and administering hostel development grant.

I also implore the media and CSOs to FOI the Federal Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to make available the details of the salaries and emoluments (including constituency allocations) of our federal lawmakers whose controversial jumbo pay package has been the highest in the whole world. While our legislators are living in opulence, over 70 per cent of Nigerians are suffering from poverty, about 5 million youths pass out from higher institutions without jobs while over 10 million children are out of school. Paradoxically, Nigeria is rich yet its people are poor. Poverty, hunger, starvation and preventable diseases are staring the critical masses of this country in the face as our leaders lack fiscal discipline while money that would have been used for development is being leaked into private pockets.

As CSOs and the media, we need to use FOIA to demand accountability from our public officials. We need to know how our resources are being allocated or spent; it is our right to ask and it is their responsibility to answer. We need to FOI MDAs, procurement and award of contracts; revenue allocation; environment on ecological fund; constituency allowances; infrastructural  development;  housing; agriculture; the Public Complaints Commission; MDGs Projects; Good Governance Team etc.

I wish us all successful deliberations.

Thank you for listening.

Enhanced by Zemanta