Outcome of CEDAW review of Nigeria: more action needed to implement the WPS agenda
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reviewed the implementation record of Nigeria under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Convention), in July 2017. To inform such review, WILPF Nigeria, in coalition with seven women’s rights organisations submitted a report highlighting the gaps in the implementation of the Convention in Nigeria, with specific attention to Women, Peace and Security issues. This comprehensive joint report formulates recommendations on five themes: conflict prevention, discrimination and gender-based violence, women’s space in political and public life, the situation of rural women and the education of women and girls.
Isi Ikhimiukor and Dorothy Njemanze of WILPF Nigeria participated in the CEDAW Committee session, including in the Committee’s Informal Meeting with NGOs and the Informal Lunch Briefing with Committee members. On these occasions, they presented the coalition’s concerns and recommendations to the Committee members, many of which were reflected in the Committee’s questions to the Nigerian Delegation during the Interactive Dialogue.
The Committee, for instance, enquired about the implementation of the second National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 across all States of Nigeria; how Nigeria intended to monitor and halt the proliferation of small arms and light weapons; and Nigeria’s plans to deal with the violent clashes and deadly attacks arising from the competition for natural resources between farmers and Fulani herders in many areas of the country, which have had a dramatic impact on the lives and security of girls and women.
In its Concluding Observations, which formulate recommendations for action to Nigeria, the Committee has tackled a number of concerns raised by WILPF Nigeria and its coalition partners. For instance, on the issue of conflict prevention, the Committee recommended to Nigeria to ensure the effective regulation of small arms and light weapons, to allocate an adequate budget to the implementation of the NAP on 1325, to ensure the participation of women in conflict prevention, as well as to protect women and girls that are disproportionately affected by the attacks carried out by the Fulani herdsmen. Such protection should “ensure that perpetrators of such attacks, including gender-based violence, are arrested, prosecuted and punished with appropriate sanctions”.
Regarding discrimination and gender-based violence, the Committee called on Nigeria to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, Child Rights Act, and the CEDAW Convention in all States; to expedite the adoption of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill; and to address the root causes of trafficking of women and girls, including by addressing their economic situation. The Committee also made specific recommendations on the issue of women’s inheritance rights and on child marriage; and on access to legal support and safe shelters for women survivors of violence. These issues also respond to concerns raised by the Coalition.
In the area of women in political and public life, the Committee recommended Nigeria to use the on-going constitutional review to adopt legislation on temporary special measures in order to increase the participation of women in political and public life, education and employment; to provide adequate resources to the national machinery for the advancement of women; and to intensify awareness-raising in the media and film industry about discriminatory gender stereotypes.
Regarding the rights of rural women, the Committee recommended that Nigeria review land laws in order to ensure rural women’s access to land and to expand rural women’s access to credit and economic opportunities. Finally, on the issue of education, the Committee called on Nigeria to increase the budget allocation for the education sector.
In November 2016, WILPF Nigeria participated in the CEDAW Committee’s Pre-sessional Working Group. During that meeting, WILPF delivered a statement underlining a number of concerns to raise with the Nigerian government. These concerns were reflected in the Committee’s List of Issues. In particular, the Committee asked Nigeria for further information on its implementation of the National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the application of the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act outside the Federal capital territory, steps taken to address the under-representation of women in political life, measures to ensure rural women’s access to land and economic opportunities, and access to justice in gender-based violence cases.
WILPF Nigeria and its coalition partners will monitor the implementation of the CEDAW Committee’s recommendations at national level to ensure progress in the protection of women’s rights on the ground.
For more information about the issues raised by WILPF Nigeria and its coalition partners in this CEDAW Committee’s review, please read joint report on Women, Peace and Security.
 Arike Foundation, Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF), Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Initiative for Sustainable Peace, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), Women’s Right Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Women for Skill Acquisition Development and Leadership Organisation (WOSADLO)
 UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Nigeria, paragraph 16 (e) 21 July 2017, CEDAW/C/NGA/CO/7-8, available at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW%2fC%2fNGA%2fCO%2f7-8&Lang=en