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3 slides on Position of Women and Right to Freedom of …

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
Nigeria is a Federal system, with clear
demarcations of authority between the Federating
units (States) & the Centre.
- fundamental implications for legislation and social
cohesion
- 3 legal regimes,
- religious demography unknown

Nigeria an amalgam, over 450 ethnicities defined
by varied antecedents pre & post independence.
- sharp diversities in culture, religion, language, governance
systems & structures
 Constitutional freedoms and curtailments
- strong links between basic fundamental rights and religion

The Constitution in Section 38 (Constitution
of the FRN 1999) provides for freedom of
religion, including freedom to change one's
religion or belief, and freedom to manifest
and propagate one's religion or belief in
worship, teaching, practice, and
observance.

The Constitution prohibits state and local
governments from adopting an official
religion; however the same Constitution in
Sections 260 (1) and Section 275 (1)
provides that states may elect to use
Islamic (Shari'a) laws and courts.
.

The provisions of the Law guarantees ALL Nigerian
equal right to freedom of religion. However, it is the
enjoyment and benefits derivable from the rights
that is curtailed for one sex over or even by the
other sex.

Curtailed benefits are found in the 3 predominant
religions (Christianity, Islam and Traditional)
a)
Reduced opportunities for education, voice, political and religious
leadership in all 3 major religions
b)
Women prohibited or discouraged from certain religious practices due
to interpretations that are man based (an orthodox church like The
Apostolic Church precludes women from attending Night vigils; some
of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence prohibits women from going to
mosques)
c)
Interpretations of religious laws/tenets/principles to further subjugate or
discriminate against women (research findings under the IFL project)
Actualize constitutional rights
 Remove inhibitions grounded in religious
interpretations and social practices
 Create voice for women in private and
public spaces
 Enhance access to justice for violations
in all contexts
 Fulfill Nigeria’s obligations in international
human and women’s rights statutes

* Between 1999 – 2002, 12/36 states in Nigeria expanded the
Shari'a legal and social systems.
- Despite the acknowledged freedoms & benefits of
Shari’a, Muslim women aspirations are far from fulfilled.
•
IFL project (Phase I) examined the content of Shari’a law,
its application and administration vis-a-vis the level of
enjoyment of women’s rights especially in family law
matters as well their access to justice in the context of
Ijbar, Talaq, Khul, Nafaquah and Hadhana. Adopted
methodology: Dialogue, Scholarship/Research and
Sensitization
 African
Women’s Leaders Project
 Women’s Political Empowerment
Zonal Offices
 Gender Affirmative Action Issue
Based project
 Ten Centers’ Project
 Raising Her Voice Project
“Realising Women’s Rights through the Reduction of Ignorance, Poverty and Gender-Based
Violence in Ten States of Nigeria”
Location & Scope:

1st Phase Centres : Malumfashi (Katsina), Bashi (Bauchi), Suleja (Niger), Ozubulu (Anambra), Billiri
(Gombe)

2nd Phase Centres: Ugep (Cross River), Ado-Awaye (Oyo), Aramoko (Ekiti), Karu (FCT), Soba (Kaduna)
Project Cycle: 4 years commencing from 31st of July 2008 to 31st of July 2012
Stakeholders: Host Communities, 7 member CCMC Committee, One grand Patron and 2 Patrons per
Centre
Funder: Netherlands Embassy; Total Funds: EUROS 949,592.70
Project Objectives

Economic security for women through the instrument of adult education and skills acquisition towards
reducing poverty.

Increasing women’s access to Healthcare and Education through sensitization and awareness

Enhancing protection of women’s human rights through Legal aid counselling

Changing negative perceptions and mindsets through Community Advocacy and sensitization

Building women’s self-esteem
Outcomes/Successes:
 Successful commissioning of all the 10 project centres. (Dates)
 Established mechanism for reducing ignorance in indigenous women through
conscious advocacy and sustained activities such as training, awareness
creation, sensitization initiatives, capacity building etc
 Continued and successful collaboration with critical stakeholders – i.e. Govt
agencies (3 levels), educational institutions, agency for mass education, local
community traditional and religious leaders
 Enhanced capacities of WRAPA Supervisors to serve as supervisors and ParaLegal workers to deliver effective services to women in their local communities
 Strong indication for sustainability through the successful disengagement of the
centres, commencing from Bashi centre.
Challenges:
 Initial weak acceptance and support by some local authorities and communities
especially in Oyo and Bayelsa (initially among the 1st phase), which had to be
substituted with Gombe.
 Staff incompetence
 Inadequate financial resources for trainers remuneration
Next Steps
 Project winding up with communities taking over
 Replication in other states and locations
 Further monitoring of centres progress for a period of 12 months.
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