Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Rights activist and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Professor Joy Ezeilo, SAN, is the guest for this month’s Ikengaonline town-hall meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 28, 2023.
The Distinguished Law Professor, and Emeritus Dean of Law at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, will be speaking on the topic, The Forgotten Victims: Combating Human Trafficking, Sexual Assault, and Gender-based Violence in South-East Nigeria.
The two-hour virtual meeting slated for 7:00 pm West African Time (WAT), will be co-hosted by Dr Osmund Agbo; and Dr Chido Onumah.
Participants are to register ahead of the explosive show via the link: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpcO6urzspHNLGlogzvusw9iA_GEZOB9v-
Upon registration, the link, the ID as well as the passcode for the meeting will be automatically sent to the registrant’s email address.
Professor Ezeilo is the Chairperson, Sexual Assault Referral Network (SARC) ; and Founder, Women Aid Collective (WACOL), which provides free legal aid and assistance to women and children in especially difficult situations.
She will during the town-hall, talk about some of the practical ways to tackle the menace of human trafficking, sexual abuse and gender-based violence in the South East.
Professor Ezeilo will also discuss some of the global efforts against the monster and how victims could be encouraged and re-integrated into society.
Commissioners for Women Affairs in all five South Eastern states as well as heads of relevant security agencies involved in the fight against humanity trafficking and sexual abuse would also make inputs during the meeting.
The meeting would be transmitted live via Urban Radio 94.5 FM Enugu, Omalicha 91.1 FM Owerri; Ikengaonline Facebook; YouTube and other social media platforms.
Ikengaonline monthly town-hall meetings are meant to discuss topical issues affecting the South-East zone of Nigeria in particular, and the Nigeria state in general.
Several other distinguished Igbo personalities have also featured in previous editions of the monthly show.
Professor Ezeilo is a versatile legal scholar recognised as a leading authority in international human rights, especially on the rights of women and children in Africa.
She pioneered teaching women, children and the law in 1997, including developing a curriculum for the education of human rights, health law and reproductive rights in Nigerian Universities with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, National Universities Commission (NUC) and Faculties of Law.
The former Commissioner for Gender and Social Development, Enugu State, also pioneered advocacy and the development of sexual harassment policies for educational institutions and workplaces.
Professor Ezeilo has served as a Member of the United Nations Civil Society Advisory Board on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (Feb 2019 to Feb 2021).
She was appointed in December 2013 by the UN Secretary-General as a member of the 5-person Board of Trustees UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking managed by the UNODC Vienna, Austria. She is also the Chairperson of the Sexual Assault Referral Network (SARC) in Nigeria.
The Professor of Law is also a Co-Chair Africa Advisory Committee, Human Rights Watch, Africa Division, and Council Member Human Rights Institute of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Professor Ezeilo was a federal delegate to the National Political Reform Conference, and also served as a member of the Governing Council, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) between 2012 to 2015 and also Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) 2018- 2021.
She was appointed in March 2022 as a Member of the Governing Council of the recently reconstituted NBA Human Rights Institute (NBA-HRI).
The erudite scholar served in the Governing Council of the NBA Women’s Forum (NBAWF) from 2019 to 2022 and was recently appointed (April 2023) to the NBA Legal Education Committee.
As a scholar, feminist and activist, Prof. Ezeilo has worked in over 120 countries worldwide, delivering public lectures and organising and participating in conferences and workshops.
Prof. Ezeilo is a visiting professor to several universities, especially in North America, including a fellow-in-residence, University of California, Irvine, and a regent Professor at the University of California, Riverside (2001).
She has delivered public lectures globally on human rights, human trafficking, gender, peace, democracy and good governance.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria has published extensively in similar areas of law, with over 70 academic publications and more than 350 conference papers – published and unpublished.
She has served as a consultant/trainer to many international and national organisations, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women, UNICEF, UNFPA, MacArthur Foundation, UNFPA, ILO, British Council, DFID/UKAid, European Union, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC)/EU, Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, National Assembly (Senate) on Constitutional and Electoral Reforms, and the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
The Law Professor served as Chairperson of a Committee to draft a bill on the Elimination of Violence in Society set up by the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo. This bill has transformed with contributions of CSOs and gender-focused organisations to the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015.
Prof. Ezeilo, SAN, has an enviable public service record and has served and continues to serve on the board of several national and international organisations.
Her humanitarian work has impacted thousands of lives, especially providing free legal aid and pro bono services to over 60,000 women, children and the poor in the last 26 years. She founded the Women Aid Collective (WACOL) and Tamar SARC, providing free legal aid and assistance to women and children in especially difficult situations. WACOL started running Nigeria’s first safe house in 1998.
Through her personal efforts and dedication, she built in 2002, the first ultra-modern private shelter for abused women and girls victims/survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. A project she is still very proud of as her first building experience in life.
In view of her intimidating resume, expectations are high as she takes the centre stage Thursday to deliver the Keynote address during the September edition of the monthly Ikengaonline town-hall meeting.
Ikengaonline is a South-East-focused online media outfit which aims at giving voice to citizens of the South-East, parts of Rivers and Delta states, and highlights the challenges facing the region.
Ikengaonline is a publication of Ikenga Media and Cultural Awareness Initiative (IMCAI), a non-profit entity that seeks to promote positive socio-cultural values, accountability and good governance through media and public education.
It is part of the Collaborative Media Engagement (C-MEDIA) for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project, a multi-level intervention for media independence and government accountability, managed by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) and supported by MacArthur Foundation.