Month: February 2019

History of feminism

The history of feminism comprises the narratives (chronological or thematic) of the movements and ideologies which have aimed at equal rights for women. While feminists around the world have differed in causes, goals, and intentions depending on time, culture, and country, most Western feminist historians assert that all movements that work to obtain women’s rights should be considered[by whom?] feminist movements, even when they did not (or do not) apply the term to themselves.[1][2][3][4][5] Some other historians limit the term “feminist” to the modern feminist movement and its progeny, and use the label “protofeminist” to describe earlier movements.[6]

Modern Western feminist history is conventionally split into three time periods, or “waves”, each with slightly different aims based on prior progress:[7][8]

Although the “waves” construct has been commonly used to describe the history of feminism, the concept has also been criticized[by whom?] for ignoring and erasing the history between the “waves”, by choosing to focus solely on a few famous figures and on popular events.[10]

People and activists who discuss or advance women’s equality prior to the existence of the feminist movement are sometimes labeled as protofeminist.[6] Some scholars criticize this term because they believe it diminishes the importance of earlier contributions or that feminism does not have a single, linear history as implied by terms such as protofeminist or postfeminist.[4][11][12][13]

Around 24 centuries ago,[14] Plato, according to Elaine Hoffman Baruch, “[argued] for the total political and sexual equality of women, advocating that they be members of his highest class, … those who rule and fight”.[15]

Italian-French writer Christine de Pizan (1364 – c. 1430), the author of The Book of the City of Ladies and Epître au Dieu d’Amour (Epistle to the God of Love) is cited by Simone de Beauvoir as the first woman to denounce misogyny and write about the relation of the sexes.[16] Other early feminist writers include Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and Modesta di Pozzo di Forzi, who worked in the 16th century,[17] and the 17th-century writers Hannah Woolley in England,[18] Juana Inés de la Cruz in Mexico,[19] Marie Le Jars de Gournay, Anne Bradstreet, and François Poullain de la Barre.[17]

One of the most important 17th-century feminist writers in the English language was Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.[20][21] Her knowledge was recognized by some, such as proto-feminist Bathsua Makin, who wrote that “The present Dutchess of New-Castle, by her own Genius, rather than any timely Instruction, over-tops many grave Grown-Men,” and considered her a prime example of what women could become through education.[22] 18th century: the Age of Enlightenment

The Age of Enlightenment was characterized by secular intellectual reasoning and a flowering of philosophical writing. Many Enlightenment philosophers defended the rights of women, including Jeremy Bentham (1781), Marquis de Condorcet (1790), and Mary Wollstonecraft (1792).[23] Other important writers of the time that expressed feminist views included Abigail Adams, Catharine Macaulay,[24] and Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht.

Jeremy Bentham

The English utilitarian and classical liberal philosopher Jeremy Bentham said that it was the placing of women in a legally inferior position that made him choose the career of a reformist at the age of eleven. Bentham spoke for complete equality between sexes including the rights to vote and to participate in government. He opposed the asymmetrical sexual moral standards between men and women.[25]

In his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1781), Bentham strongly condemned many countries’ common practice to deny women’s rights due to allegedly inferior minds.[26] Bentham gave many examples of able female regents read more here.

Court bars FG from freezing Onnoghen’s accounts

The Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained the President,  Attorney General of the Federation and Nigerian Financial Intelligence from freezing the bank accounts of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen. Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu granted the order while ruling on a motion ex parte instituted by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project Ltd/GTE.

The AGF last month wrote a letter to the NFIU asking the unit to “restrict normal banking operations on certain accounts belonging to Onnoghen”.

The AGF said the order was in line with Executive Order 06 on the preservation of assets connected with corruption.

On February 8, 2019, however, Justice Ojukwu ruled that the AGF must obtain a court order before freezing the accounts.

The court ruled, “That the AGF shall obtain an order of court (ex parte) before freezing the accounts of Justice Onnoghen Walter Nkanu Samuel (in respect of exhibit 8) in compliance with the law if it was not obtained.

“That where it is shown that the order of court was obtained before the freezing of the accounts contained in Exhibit B, the freezing order shall remain valid.”

The court ordered that the order be served on the respondents pending the hearing of the motion notice.

The court adjourned the matter till February 13 2019.

The NFIU  last month discovered the identities of firms that paid $3m into the bank accounts of Onnoghen.

The allegations are contained in an interim report sent to the Office of the AGF. It is expected to be tendered in evidence before the Code of Conduct Tribunal should the case be allowed  to continue.

According to the document obtained   by The PUNCH, Onnoghen made huge transactions despite the fact that his salary and allowances were between N240, 202 and N751, 082.37 from 2005 to 2018. The document read in part, “Suspicious transactions including $800,000 Standard Chartered Bank investment subscription were uncovered. Another $630,000 was discovered to have been lodged in some of the accounts through what was rated as structured payments in tranches of $10,000 each.

“Most of the lodgements effected between 2012 and 2016 respectively, were undeclared in the Asset Declaration Form of Onnoghen.”

142nd Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Training Of ICMC To Hold In Asaba, Feb 18th – 21st.2019

The 142nd Mediation Skills Accreditation and Certification Course of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators has been scheduled to hold on the 11-14 of February, 2019.

The training is expected to take place Chadef Hotel, Anwai Road, by First bank, Asaba, Delta State

The course is a rich blend of legal and therapeutic disciplines, creating an inspiring learning experience.

In a statement by the Registrar of the Institute, Segun Ogunyannwo It is a 4-day program but in 5 parts which are

1. Theories
2. Practical sessions – Role plays
3. Accreditation Examination
4. Post Course Assignment
5. Induction Ceremony

Course fee: N150,000 (One hundred and fifty thousand Naira) only

Payment should please be made in favour of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators: Zenith Bank, Acct No: 1012451855 l look forward to the privilege of warmly welcoming you to the program.

For further enquiries Please call  Victor on 08063762350 or Irene  on 08066292907.


The Season of Dilemma

BY law, a citizen who is 18 years of age is entitled to vote and be voted for in any election. Indeed, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights in its Article 13 prescribes that “every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government of his country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with provisions of the law.” It is not going to be so easy for any Nigerian presently to freely and fully exercise this right, in the prevailing circumstances of the current season, due largely to a number of factors which shall hereinafter be considered.

It is the season of elections presently. By the guidelines released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold this Saturday on February 16 whilst the governorship and House of Assembly elections will hold on Saturday, March 2, 2019. But the question on every one’s lip is just one simple poser: who do we vote for? In the circumstance of the present day Nigeria, it would seem that political parties are having it easy with the electorate, just invading their space and spitting clearly empty promises. This is not strange though, considering the clear provisions of Section 221 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 that “no association other than a political party, shall canvass for votes for any candidate at any election or contribute to the funds of any political party or to the election expenses of any candidate at any election.” Clearly therefore, the status, ideology, appeal, acceptability and track record of the political parties should ordinarily determine the votes of the electorates. But guess what? That is not the way of politicians, at least not in Nigeria.

I recently had a chat with a friend who is involved in the political race and I asked him pointedly, how he was coping with Nigerian politicians. His answer resolved many other issues in my mind. He said the typical Nigerian politician is the one who is deliberately telling you a lie, he knows that you know that he has told a lie, but he expects you to believe him nonetheless.

Presently, it would seem that only the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are truly in the race. The African Action Congress (AAC) has performed incredibly well in its campaigns, which has cut across all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and even beyond, with Omoyele Sowore showing so much zeal and political enterprise, even as a first timer. But why on earth will I ever cast my vote for the APC? Why? A political party that is so clueless and insincere, with no clear direction or goal, but just to grab power for the sake of it. A political party that will openly deride, deny and renounce its own manifesto which it willingly endorsed and deployed to canvass for votes in 2015. A party of strange bed fellows, which has so perfected the game of imposition, dictatorship and impunity to the extent that there is virtually a court case arising from each primary election conducted by the party in every state. The basic yearning of Nigerians for restructuring the APC has deliberately truncated, the desire for state police has been recklessly frustrated by the APC and the demand for resource control by the people of Nigeria has been willfully bastardised by the party on the altar of political expediency and yet this same party wants to return to power! APC? Please, don’t even go there at all.

But come to think of it. As a voter, the greater dilemma is to even contemplate PDP as an alternative to the APC. So, if one does not vote for APC or Buhari, who or what then is the better option? A post is currently circulating on the social media, which is said to have been the headline of The Guardian of London, to the extent that APC’s Buhari is a “stingy dictator” whilst PDP’s Atiku is “a confirmed kleptomania.” PDP to rule Nigeria again? Let’s perish the thought. That political party that basks in election rigging and vote manipulation, with such brazen impunity as to totally eclipse any previous African record in leadership through fraud. This same political party that was in power from 1999 to 2015 and could not guaranty just 12 hours of power supply across the nation? Those that have been alleged to be sharing the national treasury freely, only among themselves and their cronies, they should come back again for the final kill? It is totally unthinkable that PDP will take charge at Aso Rock again.

But the voter still cannot ignore the APC and the PDP, as Kingsley Moghalu and Fela Durotoye have not been so visible, no major campaigns beyond television debates and interviews. They have not been able to reach out to the core of the voters, especially the illiterate ones in the hinterlands. Our own Mama that we thought would carry the banner to a higher level was mid-way ambushed by her associates, who are now threatening her with court action for alleged failure to give account of campaign funds. Some voters were looking towards the Duke of the Niger Delta, but just overnight, his people suddenly pulled the rug from under his feet. They tried at first to wrest his mandate through the court and when he survived that on appeal, they then unleashed the trump card, by openly adopting the candidate of another political party, whilst our friend was still busy campaigning! So, what exactly should a voter do in this season, especially on February 16?

The voter should first sit down and think. How did we get here? What went wrong? The party in power had promised to amend the Constitution to achieve fundamental reforms in our electoral system, but it failed to do so and we just sat down since 2015, either hailing or wailing. The ruling party had promised devolution of powers by which the elections February 16 would have become less competitive or attractive, but it just kept going round and round until it craftily foisted this situation of complete helplessness upon all Nigerians. So, the voter should accept first and foremost that this present situation is self-inflicted. As it is said in law, volenti non fit injuria, that is you cannot be heard to complain from an injury caused through a voluntarily act. We have been too passive as a people, tolerating the PDP for these harrowing 16 years and now gleefully enduring this monstrous APC for these four gruesome years. In simple terms, we are back to 2015, when the choice was between the Devil and the Dragon.

Many have said that they will vote for PDP and Atiku just to escape the killings across the land, the mindless propaganda of the ruling APC, which has so much polarised us as a people along tribal and religious lines like never before. Many others will rather prefer to pitch their tents with APC and Buhari, as a Devil known is far better than an Angel on the way. The real problem however is not even so much of the present dilemma but that it will continue even till 2023, after we must have accepted another four years of some visionless leaders, only to be back to square one. So, the other option then is whether to stay aloof. Can that be an option, for a patriotic citizen, who bears a civic burden to participate in all elections? The truth is self-evident that when good people stand aloof and do nothing, then they should be prepared to be led and ruled by people of the other side.

The other option for the voters now is not to be confused by the noises of election propaganda but to allow reason and sense to prevail. There has to be a critical assessment of the objective conditions of the Nigerian state since 1999 till now, to be able to assess the performance or otherwise of those canvassing for votes across the land. Who amongst them can be trusted and which political party has a working document that speaks to the real issues confronting Nigeria, that is binding and enforceable, not just based upon some trumpeted goodwill or alleged managerial capacity. So, I don’t envy any voter in this season at all, who is busy trying to resolve the knotty dilemma of who to vote for and which political party to support. But one thing is clear and certain that, the man to rescue Nigeria is not yet amongst these contenders. The search for that mystery man must start now and continue for the next four years, so that come 2023, we are not repeating the dilemma of this season. That indeed is the task before all voters, as we go to the polls this week and in March. By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa

Rights campaigner found dead in Kenya

A human rights activist who went missing last Wednesday has been found dead, Kenyan police spokesman Charles Owino has confirmed to the BBC.

Caroline Mwatha worked with a community group looking into allegations that police in the capital have perpetrated atrocities, including extra-judicial killings.

It is not yet clear how she died.

The BBC’s Ferdinand Omondi says sources indicate that Ms Mwatha’s body is at the City Mortuary in Nairobi.

Her relatives had been searching the city’s hospitals and morgues over the past few days hoping to find her. A vigil was also held for Ms Mwatha in Nairobi yesterday.

Egypt ‘jails police officers over torture

An Egyptian court has sentenced three police officers to three years in jail for torturing a detainee to death, reports the privately-owned Youm7 newspaper.

It adds that a doctor was also given a one-year prison term for falsifying a medical report on the killing.

The court in the Sohag region, south of the capital, Cairo, heard that the officers had beaten their victim to death as they tried to force him to confess to a murder.

Human rights activists say torture is practiced systematically in Egypt’s jails.

Nigeria should eradicate FGM

The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2019 marked recently provided yet another opportunity to reaffirm Nigeria’s dubious reputation for misery.   By retaining its ranking as host to the third highest number of victims of FGM globally, amid other revelations, the sluggish pace of eradication efforts was exposed. Stopping the barbaric practice requires more concerted efforts by the three tiers of government and critical segments of the society.

A clarion call for concerted action by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, “to end FGM and fully uphold the human rights of all women and girls” should resonate with policymakers at all levels. With poverty level at a record high of over 70 per cent, female illiteracy averaging 55 per cent (over 70 per cent in the North) and the world’s highest out-of-school population for the girl-child, the Nigerian government should end the misery of our girls being subjected to genital mutilation.

FGM refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Curiously, experts agree that the primitive surgery has no benefits whatsoever for its victims; only multiple negative, harmful effects.  According to the World Health Organisation, apart from removing and damaging healthy, normal female genital tissue, it “interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies” and these risks multiply with increasing severity of the procedure. Immediate complications include severe pain, haemorrhage, genital swelling, fevers, infections (e.g. tetanus), urinary problems and sometimes shock and death. In the long term, victims can suffer continuous menstrual pain, child birth complications and vaginal problems: for some women, their lot is pain during sexual intercourse and inability to achieve satisfaction with their partners; psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and low esteem ensue.

Sadly, Nigeria is one of 30 countries, located mainly in Africa, Middle East and Asia, where this practice, performed between infancy and 15 years, is endemic. Of the 200 million girls and women living with mutilation, at least 20 million are said to be in Nigeria, meaning that one in every 10 FGM victims is here. UNICEF projects that, at the current rate, 68 million girls worldwide are likely to be similarly violated between 2015 and 2030.

Solving the problem requires going to the roots and changing the narratives and mindset that justify this age-long unwholesome practice. Research by UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund has identified cultural and social factors for the continued practice in Nigeria and elsewhere. More intensive sensitisation in communities should be undertaken to dispel the erroneous belief that mutilating girls is a necessary step in raising and preparing a girl for adulthood and marriage. The widespread fallacy that it discourages promiscuity should also be dispelled. This notion especially, explains why the South-West and the South-East regions that boast the country’s highest literacy levels also have the highest FGM prevalence levels, with Osun State posting 76.3 per cent in a 2015 survey, followed by Ekiti with 71.2 per cent. South-East states also have high prevalence rates. In Oyo State, where 21 communities renounced the practice last December, six out of 10 women aged 15 to 49 were victims. In line with the 2008 UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM, the various ministries of health in collaboration with non-governmental organisations should work ever more closely with communities, traditional authorities and faith-based organisations to achieve a mass buy-in to eradication efforts.

There should be zero tolerance for formal sector health workers who perform FGM. The UNFPA complained recently that 13 per cent of FGM in Nigeria is actually undertaken by medical professionals, a crime deserving of both criminal prosecution and disbarment from professional practice.

Luckily, the UN and Western nations treat this as a human rights issue. Global impetus has also been given to the eradication campaign by the prevalence of FGM among immigrant communities in Europe and North America.  At least 22 states in the United States have passed laws criminalising the practice, as have Australia, New Zealand, Canada and European Union member countries. Twenty-one other African states have also passed laws criminalising it, says the Centre for Reproductive Rights, a US-based non-profit.

Nigeria is making only slow progress, though the Goodluck Jonathan administration signed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act in 2015 criminalising FGM, among other violence against women. Sadly, outside the Federal Capital Territory, only Anambra State has domesticated the law and very few prosecutions, if any, have ever been brought against perpetrators, despite its continued practice.

Since many also wrongly ascribe the practice to religion, it is crucial to work with faith-based organisations to acquaint their adherents with unassailable evidence that neither Christianity nor Islam prescribes it; in fact, the practice pre-dates the establishment of both faiths in FGM-endemic regions.

Aid agencies say that laws alone will not end the practice: more critical change agents are the political will to enforce legislation and persuasion. The federal and state governments should, like Western countries, see FGM as a human rights issue and accord priority to its eradication. Egypt, with second highest prevalence rate of 87 per cent, is achieving some success in reducing it among younger women. Civil war has hampered efforts to tackle Somalia’s case, with the world’s highest percentage of FGM at 98 per cent.  A combination of resolute government action, pro-active policing and collaborative efforts with aid agencies is helping to change attitudes in Ethiopia, a study for the British Department of International Development has found.

All our 36 states should domesticate and rigorously enforce the law. We should, as recommended by the UN and relevant treaties, treat FGM as a violation of fundamental human rights of the child and women. There is also a need to amend the Child Rights Act to criminalise any form of mutilation and violence against school-age females and the law, passed since 2003, should be domesticated by the states that have not done so.


JusticeForOchanya: Benue govt asks court to refuse Ogbuja bail

The Benue State government has urged a Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court to decline a bail application being sought by a senior lecturer at the Department of Catering and Hotel Management of the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Mr. Andrew Ogbuja, who is being held at the Federal Prison in Makurdi over the alleged rape to death of a 13-year-old girl, Ochanya Ogbanje. Ochanya died on 17 October last year due to complications arising from the alleged sexual molestation she suffered at the hands of the accused senior lecturer and his son, Victor Ogbuja, who now at large. 

Ochanya’s death provoked national outrage and demonstrations across the country where human rights activists called for the arrest and prosecution of the culprits. 

Following the nationwide protests and popular anger, Mr Ogbuja, who was granted bail under shady circumstances after being remanded by a Makurdi Upper Area Court, was re-arrested and re-arraigned before Magistrate Isaac Ajim following the death of the minor.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, the prosecuting lawyer, Mrs. Awashima Addingi, told the trial Magistrate, Mr. Isaac Ajim that “the prosecution is vehemently against the accused person’s bail application.”

Addingi who represented the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, predicated her objection on the ground that the offences against the defendant were not bailable as they carry capital punishment upon conviction.

“Going by Section 341 of the State Criminal Code, the offences which the accused was brought to court is capital in nature; he is not entitled to bail.”

The prosecuting lawyer further submitted that Section 35 (7) of the 1999 constitution stipulates that where there is sufficient suspicion of the commission of crime by an accused person, his right to liberty can be suspended.

She urged the court to discountenance Mr. Ogbuja’s lawyer’s claim that his client’s case had “special circumstances” that would warrant granting the accused bail.

Addingi added that the legal advice from the state’s Ministry of Justice showed “there is substantial evidence against the Ogbujas for the rape and death of Ochanya’s.”

However, Ogbuja’s lawyer, Mr. A. A. Onoja, argued that there was no valid charge against his client before the court.  He argued that the court was clothed with the requisite power to admit Mr. Ogbuja to bail. 

“Our submission is that there is no valid charge before this court against our client. The only way the court can be intimidated into refusing our bail application is for the prosecution to place a charge before the court.

” We urge the court to discountenance the legal advice against our client, as it did not disclose any material evidence against him,” Onoja said.  Subsequently, the court adjourned the suit till February 8, 2019, for Mr. Ogbuja’s counsel to serve some court processes he tendered before the court on the prosecution.

It would be recalled that the prosecution had at the last sitting informed the court that the legal advice from the State’s Attorney-General stated categorically that “there is a prima facie case” against the defendants.

In the legal advice, which was sighted by our correspondent, the Attorney-General asked the police to intensity efforts to arrest the second defendant, Victor Ogbuja, who has been on the run since the news of Ochanya’s rape and death broke.

Marked: MOJ/LEG.3CR/39/100, dated January 10, 2019, and addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command Headquarters, Makurdi; the Attorney-General said: “Arising from the health condition of the deceased due to multiple rape and sexual abuse resulting to grievous injuries confirmed by medical reports, it is our legal opinion that a case of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide punishable with death under Sections 97 and 222 of the Penal Code Revised Edition (Laws of Benue State) 2004 has been made out against the above named accused person and shall be prosecuted accordingly.”