100 Women Groups Petition President Tinubu Over Utterances Of Women Affairs Minister, Uju Kennedy

Barrister Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, minister of Women Affairs

Hundred women groups led by Womanifesto have sent a strongly worded petition to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu over the actions of the minister for Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye.  

In the petition dated 17th October 2023, the groups drew the attention of the President to utterances and actions of the minster, which they described as highly unprofessional and embarrassing to the country.

The groups said they were shelved a planned protest and resorted to first writing the President to call Kennedy-Ohanenye  to order.

“Mr. President, we are constrained to bring to your attention, once again, the need to caution the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs, Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, about her utterances and actions and the potential damage that this might cause to the country and to the women’s movement”, the petition read.

“Several times, in the recent past, women’s rights stakeholders have had occasion to intervene in situations involving the Minister’s actions that fall beneath the expectations, mandate, and status of her office. Offers have been made, in vain, to support her capacity to appreciate the enormity of the responsibility associated with her mandate. Only last month, we had to call out the Hon. Minister for her interference in a sexual harassment case at the University of Calabar, which outraged not only women’s advocates but other men and women of goodwill; and she had to offer a public apology.

“Prior to that incident, on September 7, 2023, the Minister had called for a reduction in school hours so that Nigerian children could be subjected to child labour. Despite the public outcry against her position, she maintained her stance on a position that is not only untenable but also unacceptable. As you are well aware, Nigeria currently has over 13 million out-of-school children and the focus should be on how to get our children into school and prevent school dropouts. In addition, the country needs to take decisive actions to protect millions of our children who are being subjected to child trafficking and various forms of violence and child abuse. Yet, the Minister is advocating that even children in school be made to join the child labour force”, the petition further read.

The Womanifesto-led coalition also expressed disappointment at the minister’s threat to sue the United Nations describing her approach as belligerent and counter-productive.   

The petition read” “We are dismayed that only several weeks later, the Minister was on the news again on October 16, 2023, threatening to sue the United Nations (UN) for ‘money collected on behalf of Nigeria’, giving a 30-day deadline for the Body to account for the funds. While acknowledging that it is very important for public officers, such as the Minister, to hold all actors, including International Bodies, accountable for funds meant for human development, we strongly affirm that this should be done in a decent, decorous and respectful manner, in line with the norms of international relations; there are protocols and procedures for requesting for the information she requires and for applying sanctions, if and when necessary.

“The country has other ministries, accountability agencies and mechanisms through which the objective of holding international bodies accountable can be achieved. A belligerent approach such as was observed on the part of the Minister is not only capable of negatively affecting the spirit of cooperation and collaboration, which is badly needed to continue to advance the cause of women and girls; it is also capable of tarnishing the image of the country and also placing women’s rights actors in an internationally embarrassing position, with implications for our ability to be heard and taken seriously when we express voice on the international scene”.

PETITION  AGAINST MRS. UJU KENNEDY OHANENYE TO THE PRESIDENCY BY WOMANIFESTO  GROUP:

 17th October, 2023

Through the Chief of Staff to the President,

Honourable Olufemi Gbajabiamila CFR,

To

His Excellency,

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR,

The President,

The Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Your Excellency Sir,

URGENT NEED TO CAUTION BARR. UJU KENNEDY OHANENYE, THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, ON HER UTTERANCES AND ACTIONS

Your Excellency Sir,

We would like to first commend and thank you for the appointment of women into key positions in your cabinet. We are hopeful that during your tenure, you will do more to ensure that the number of women in appointive positions matches and surpasses the minimum threshold of 35% stipulated in the National Gender Policy.

Mr. President, we are constrained to bring to your attention, once again, the need to caution the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs, Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, about her utterances and actions and the potential damage that this might cause to the country and to the women’s movement.

Several times, in the recent past, women’s rights stakeholders have had occasion to intervene in situations involving the Minister’s actions that fall beneath the expectations, mandate, and status of her office. Offers have been made, in vain, to support her capacity to appreciate the enormity of the responsibility associated with her mandate. Only last month, we had to call out the Hon. Minister for her interference in a sexual harassment case at the University of Calabar, which outraged not only women’s advocates but other men and women of goodwill; and she had to offer a public apology.

Prior to that incident, on September 7, 2023, the Minister had called for a reduction in school hours so that Nigerian children could be subjected to child labour. Despite the public outcry against her position, she maintained her stance on a position that is not only untenable but also unacceptable. As you are well aware, Nigeria currently has over 13 million out-of-school children and the focus should be on how to get our children into school and prevent school dropouts. In addition, the country needs to take decisive actions to protect millions of our children who are being subjected to child trafficking and various forms of violence and child abuse. Yet, the Minister is advocating that even children in school be made to join the child labour force.

Your Excellency, we are dismayed that only several weeks later, the Minister was on the news again on October 16, 2023, threatening to sue the United Nations (UN) for ‘money collected on behalf of Nigeria’, giving a 30-day deadline for the Body to account for the funds. While acknowledging that it is very important for public officers, such as the Minister, to hold all actors, including International Bodies, accountable for funds meant for human development, we strongly affirm that this should be done in a decent, decorous and respectful manner, in line with the norms of international relations; there are protocols and procedures for requesting for the information she requires and for applying sanctions, if and when necessary. The country has other ministries, accountability agencies and mechanisms through which the objective of holding international bodies accountable can be achieved. A belligerent approach such as was observed on the part of the Minister is not only capable of negatively affecting the spirit of cooperation and collaboration, which is badly needed to continue to advance the cause of women and girls; it is also capable of tarnishing the image of the country and also placing women’s rights actors in an internationally embarrassing position, with implications for our ability to be heard and taken seriously when we express voice on the international scene.

Given the hardships that citizens are experiencing at the moment, of which women bear a heavy brunt, we cannot afford a drawback from the goal and gains of socio-economic advancement of women. Nigerian women constitute over 50% of the population and are in need of efficient leadership from the Ministry of Women Affairs, a leadership that prioritises partnerships and synergy with other women’s rights stakeholders to be able to effectively address the political and socio-economic challenges and disadvantages of women in our society. This requires that the Ministry builds on the efforts and gains that have been achieved.

It is disturbing for us to note, that as a Minister directly overseeing the rights of children, women and girls, Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye is, by her actions and utterances, portraying herself as an antagonist to the gains Nigeria has made over the years with the hard work of Nigerian Women and the Coordinating Ministry in areas of development and spheres of life in the country.

We strongly urge the Presidency to kindly use its good offices to call Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye to order. The mandate of the Ministry of Women Affairs includes guaranteeing equal access to social, economic and wealth-creation opportunities by all, irrespective of gender, with a premium on the protection of the child, the aged, and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). The Ministry of Women Affairs is a sensitive one, catering to vulnerable Nigerians. Any acts of recklessness or incompetence by that office portends dire socio-economic consequences for vulnerable groups and will negatively impact the welfare of children, women, and people living with disabilities.

There was to be a public protest against Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye by women’s rights organisations and CSOs, both within and outside Nigeria, but we have successfully asked that the protest be stalled while we write your good office. If no steps are taken to caution the Minister of Women Affairs, we may be unable to continue to delay such public protests. In the same vein, we had to step in to avert an international protest against her during the UN General Assembly due to her utterances and interference in the UNICAL sexual harassment case for which she publicly apologised.

This situation should not be allowed to continue, especially as it could cast doubts on the wisdom of the choice of Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye as Minister of Women Affairs by this Administration.

Your Excellency, we anticipate your urgent intervention and expect to see the Minister henceforth conscientiously and effectively fulfilling the authentic mandate of her office. And we assure you that she can count on our unalloyed support as women’s rights stakeholders if she commits herself fully to serving the interests of women, girls, and vulnerable sub-populations, as her office requires of her.

The undersigned are women’s rights activists, advocates, practitioners and organizations, including Womanifesto, Women in Politics Forum, 100 Women Lobby Group, Sustainable Gender Action Initiative.

Accept the assurances of our esteem.

Cc:

The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria,

 Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF),

Senator George Akume, CON

The First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Senator Oluremi Tinubu

Media houses

Signed by

Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi

Womanifesto

Ebere Ifendu

Women In Politics Forum

Felicia Onibon

100 Women lobby Group

Mufuliat Fijabi

Sustainable Gender Action Initiative

Amina Agbaje

FIDA

Sheila Ibrahim Audu

Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre                                     Ifeoma Madukolu                                                                                                     NCAA

Endorsed by

9jafeminista

Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls Above Whispers Foundation Action Aid Nigeria

ACTS Generation GBV

Ade Grange Child Foundation

ADEM Community Human Development Foundation Adinya Arise Foundation (AAF)

Advocate for Health and Development Initiative

Advocacy for Women with Disabilities

African Women’s Initiative (AWI)

Albertiqs Extra Helping Hands Foundation

African Research Group on Gender Association of ALIWE Daughters

 Ajegunle Community Project

Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation

 Alliances for Africa (AfA)

 Amazing Grace Inspirations

Aminchi Women Cooperative Society

 Amnesty International Nigeria

ARDA Development Communication Inc.

Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation. ASWHAN

ATATA Development and Empowerment Foundation (ADEF)

 Affirmative Action Initiative for Women (NCAA)

Association of Nigeria Women’s Business Network (ANWBN)

Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture (AWITA)

AWEP

ANWIB AWFAN FEBWE

FEDAN

BLECCA Foundation

Bring Back Our Girl

Briskila Emefesi Women Foundation (BEWOF)

Baobab for Women’s Human Rights

Cece Yara Foundation Cedar Seed Foundation

CEE-HOPE Nigeria

Center for Economic Empowerment and Gender Activities (CEEGA)

Centre for Alternative Development and Self-Enhancement (CEADESE NG) Centre for Health and Development in Africa (CHEDA)

Centre for Nonviolence and Gender Advocacy in Nigeria (CENGAIN) Centre for Peace Education and Community Development

Centre for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN)

 Change Managers International Network

Center for Women’s Health and Information

Centre for Media and Development Communications

Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center (CIRDDOC) Citizenship and Human Development Initiative

Charity Women Spring of Salvation

Chedal Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Child Care and Adult Protection Initiative (CCAPI)

 Choung-Dung Women Association.

Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigerian Society (CWEENS) Christian Women in Nigerian Politics

Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) Community and Youth Development

Community Education Advancement of Peace and Development Initiative (CEAPDI) Community Initiative for Healthy and Peaceful Society

Community Life Project (CLP)

Community Rescue Initiative (CRI)

Community Women Initiatives (CWI)

Country Associates Network (CAN)

Courageous People Health and Development Initiative (CPHDL) Crestville Development Foundation (CDF)

CWEMA

Daria Media Foundation (DMF)

Development in Practice Gender and Entrepreneurial Initiative (DIPGEI) Diaspora Womanifesto2019

Dinidari Foundation (DF)

Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)

Dream Alive Women and Orphans Support Foundation (DAWOS Foundation)

Dr. Oby Ezekwesili

Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives

Edo Women’s Development Initiative

Education as a Vaccine (EVA)

EiE Nigeria

Emerge Women (EW)

Empowerment and Action Research Centre (EARC)

Equality Through Education Foundation (ETEF)

Equity Advocates/ The Woman Today Newspaper FACICP Disability Plus

FAME Foundation

Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON)

Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN)

Federation of Paralegal Network (FEDPAN)

Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)

Fembridge Development Initiative (FEDI)

 First Future Leadership

Forward in Action for Education, Poverty and Malnutrition (FACE-PAM)

Forum of Nigerian Women In Politics (FONWIP)

FRED

 FEDAN

Gender Action Awareness Trust

Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN)

Gender and Development Action (GADA)

Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI)

Gender Awareness Trust (GAT)

Gender Development Initiative Gender Equality Center

Gender Equality, Peace and Development Centre Gender Relevance Initiative Promotion (GRIP)

Gender Technical Unit (GTU)

Gender Strategy Advancement

International Girl Child Advocacy and Education Initiatives Girl Child Africa

Girl Child Education, Care and Rehabilitation Girl Education Rehabilitation and Care (GERAC)

 Girls Power Initiative (GPI)

Global Hope for Women and Children Foundation (GLOHWOC)

Green Spring Development Initiative

Gender Awareness Trust (GAT)

Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN)

Habiba Dangana (Hadis) Foundation

Heal Disability Initiative

Health Education and Human Rights Advocacy Initiative Health Reform Foundation Of Nigeria (HERFON)

HEIR Women Development (HWD)

Help Initiative for Social Justice and Humanitarian Development

Hope for New Life (HNL)

International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria

Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD) Inter Africa Committee (IAC)

Inter Gender Peace Foundation (IGPF)

International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)

Women Network

International Hairstylists, Barber and Body Therapists (IHSTOBAN) International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH)

International Women Communication Centre Iyaniwura Children Care Foundation (ICCF)

Jamatul Nasir Islam, Women Wing

Jana Health Foundation (JHF)

Julie Oyegun

Foundation for Justice Development and Peace (FJDP)

Justice Development and Peace Mission (JDPM)

KMashi Gamji Women

Kebetkache Women Development And Resources Centre

Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND)

Kungiyar Tallafin Mata Development Initiative (KTMDI)

League of Queens International Empowerment (LQIE)

League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV)

LEDAP

Lift Initiative

League of Queens International Empowerment

Legislative Advocacy Coalition on Violence Against Women Initiative (LACVAW) MBULA Women Association

Media & Teens Network

Media Concern Initiative for Women and Children (MODAC) More Women in Politics

My Voice My Future NGO

Nasrul – Lahi-L- Faith Society (NASFAT) NAWE

NNEW NAWORG

Nigerian Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ) National Centre for Women Development

National Council of Women Societies (NCWS)

NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women

Neighbourhood Care-Well Foundation

Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, NRHJN

Next Initiative for Gender Actions (NIGA)

NEWA

NGAS Women Farmers’ Cooperative Society Nigeria For Women Project

Nigeria Labour Congress, Women Committee Nigerian Express

Nigerian Women Politics Forum Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NTWF) Non For Now

Ogayem Merciful Care and Support Initiatives (OMCSI)

 Ogun Women Alive

Okwuzi Women Forum

Olive Community Development Initiatives

Onomese Foundation

Open Arms Initiative for Sustainable Development (OPAISD)

 Osi Joe Touching Lives Initiative

Ovie Brume Foundation

Partners West Africa

Peasant Dragnet

Princess Olufemi-Kayode

Proactive Gender Initiative (PGI)

Project Alert on Violence Against Women

 Ray of Hope Community Foundation

Relief Development Initiative Kaduna

Responsible Citizenship and Human Development Initiative

Sesor Empowerment Foundation

She Forum Africa

Safe Space Initiative

Save a Child Lend a Hand Foundation

Sheforshe Africa Initiative

She Mentors Initiative Shout Global Health

Small-scale Women Farmers Organization of Nigeria (SWOFON)

South- South Professional Women Association.

Stand to End Rape (STER)

Stephanie Peace Building Development Foundation

Support for Needy Children and Women Initiative (SUNCHI)

TechHerNG

THR Media

The Inclusion Project (TIP)

The Priceless Jewels Foundation

HERFESSIONS INITIATIVE

Tonia Bruised but Not Broken Foundation

Transformation and Development Center (TDC)

Transition Monitoring Group

Tunde & Friends Foundation (TAFF)

 UC Women Commission

UTO Foundation

Vision Spring Initiatives (VSI)

Voice of Ogun Women (VOW)

West African Network for Peace WEWE NETWORK AFRIQUE WEPDN

Widows Development Organization (WIDO)

Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)

Woman-Being Concern Nigeria (WBC)

Women’s Leadership Group (WLG)

Women &Youth Awareness Empowerment Network (WOYAEN)

Women Advocacy, HIV Prevention and Other Diseases (WAHPOD) Women AT Risk International Foundation (WARIF)

Women Aid Collective (WACOL)

Women and Youth Empowerment for Advancement and Health Initiative Women Youth and Children Upliftment Foundation (WYCUT)

Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON)

Women Education Advocacy and Development Initiatives (WEADI) Women Empowerment and Initiative Development

Women Empowerment and Reproductive Health Centre (WERHC) Women Empowerment Education and Peace Building Initiative (WEPBI) Women Environmental Programme (WEP)

Women Farmers Alliance (WFA)

Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative (WOPEGEE) Women for Women International (W4WI)

Women Foundation Initiative (WFI) Women Foundation of Nigeria (WFN)

Women in Action for Positive Development and Gender Enhancement Center (WAPGADEC) Former Women Action Organization (WAO)

Women in Africa Initiative (WIAI) Women in Agriculture (WIA) Women in Mining (WIM)

Women in Politics Forum (WiPF) Women Information Network (WINET)

Women Initiative for Democracy and Empowerment (WIDE) Women Law and Development Initiative (WOLDI)

Women Law Development Center of Nigeria (WLDCN) Women Lead Agric (WLA)

Women League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Women of Vision Development Initiative Women Protection Organization (WOPO)

Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN) Women, Infants and Children Care Initiative (WICCI)

Women, Youths and Children Advancement Program Women Optimum Development Foundation-WODEF Women Right to Education Programme (WREP) Women’s Crisis Centre Owerri

Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP) Working Moms Africa (WMA)

Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) Women Initiative on Climate Change

Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) WISCAR

Women Democracy Network Africa – Nigeria WomenPreneurs (AWEBO)

Yiaga Africa

Youth Future Savers Initiative (YFSI)

Zonta International Club of Lagos 150MAWSP

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