Peace Building and Women’s Rights in Nigeria: Current Challenges and Responses
This webinar will be a conversation between two leading women activists (one Muslim, one Christian) who work at communal, regional, national, and international levels to promote and protect girls’ and women’s rights in present-day Nigeria, especially in conflict regions. They will discuss their respective areas of strategic focus and advocacy, whether legal policy or peacebuilding, and assess recent achievements and ongoing challenges. Both speakers are highly attentive to the role of religion and culture in their work, notably the ways in which religious ideologies and cultural traditions shape perceptions of women’s subjugation or empowerment. Three key questions to be explored are:
1) Do women’s lives matter more or less in a country plagued by ethnoreligious conflicts and general insecurity?
2) Is there evidence of greater agency and leadership of women in response to the rise of interreligious and/or intercommunal conflicts in recent times?
3) Does an engagement with women’s lives provide a salient barometer for assessing SDG goals and development practices more generally in Nigeria?
In conclusion, the speakers will critically reflect on their experiences of working with government, religious leaders and a range of domestic and international NGOs to promote social harmony and women’s rights in postcolonial Nigeria, as well as their future advocacy work.
Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi is a feminist scholar with a PhD from the University of London in gender and humanitarian law. Abiola is an activist, human rights attorney and development expert, as well as serving as senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. Her work in Nigeria has contributed to the development of laws and policies in the North East of Nigeria despite the decade-long insurgency in the area. She is currently the Chairperson of the West African Network for Peace (WANEP), Acting Secretary of the West African Centre for Law and Religion Studies (WARCLARS), a member of the board of the African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS). She has written extensively on democracy, women’s human rights, political participation, peace and security in Africa. She also coordinates the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), a leading women and girls’ rights group in West Africa.
Khadijah Hawaja Gambo holds a BA and MA (Islamic Studies) from the University of Jos. She is a Certified Mediator and is currently a permanent Commissioner with the Kaduna State Peace Commission in Nigeria. She leads all community engagements relating to peace dialogues and mediation, interest-based negotiation and hosts other peace processes in Kaduna and neighboring states in Nigeria. She was a Political and Gender Advisor for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue from 2012 to 2016. From 2017 to 2019, she was a Consultant on Preventing Radicalization and Extremism Leading to Terrorism at the Cairo International Centre for Conflict Resolution Peace Keeping and Peace Building (CCCPA). She was a Countering Violent Extremism Consultant for The Presidential Committee on North East Initiative(PCNI) Nigeria. Khadijah is an active member of Mothers School, a Vienna-based INGO working with women across the globe to prevent and counter violent extremism. She is also a member of the Outcome Group for the King Abdullah Bin AbdulAziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) International Fellows Programme (KIFP).
Dr. Rosalind I J Hackett is Chancellor’s Professor Emerita, and Professor of Religious Studies Emerita at the University of Tennessee, USA. She is also Extraordinary Professor, Desmond Tutu Centre for Religion and Social Justice, University of the Western Cape, South Africa. She has taught and conducted research at the Universities of Ibadan, Calabar, and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria ,as been a visiting fellow and professor at Harvard University, the University of Cape Town, the University of Groningen, and the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. She publishes in the areas of indigenous religions, new religious movements, gender, art, human rights, and conflict in Africa. She is Past President and Honorary Life Member of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR). She currently serves on the Board and the Programme Committee of the African Consortium of Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS). She is a member of ACMCU’s Academic Council.