Alliances for Africa facilitates the National Press Conference with the Coalition for the Domestication of the Maputo Protocol in Nigeria – Joint Press Statement

Joint Press Statement with Coalition for the Domestication of the Maputo Protocol (CODMAP)

Date: 26th July, 2023

With Immediate Release

Theme: Maputo @20: Advancing the Rights of Women; Nigeria’s Journey with the Maputo Protocol.

We, the members of the Coalition for the Domestication of Maputo Protocol (CODMAP) – A team of representatives of various feminist organizations, women’s rights groups and government institutions in Nigeria, stand united today to reaffirm our commitment to our vision through our urgent call for action for the domestication of the Maputo Protocol in Nigeria to advance human rights of women and girls in the country.

The Maputo Protocol, also known as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, is an essential legal instrument adopted by the African Union to preserve, protect and promote the rights of women on the continent. Nigeria, as a signatory to the Protocol, has committed to upholding and implementing its provisions to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment by ratifying the Protocol on the 13th of June, 2005.

It has been 18 years down the line, and we are dismayed at the inability of Nigeria to fully utilize this framework for defending and advancing women’s rights through the process of incorporating the provisions into extant laws to give it force of law. This has posed a great challenge for the general progress and development of women in Nigeria.

Notwithstanding significant progress in recent years with new policies and laws, Nigerian women continue to face various forms of discrimination, marginalization, violence, flagrant abuse and barriers to accessing their fundamental human rights which have been addressed and are contained in the articles of the protocol. CODMAP firmly believes that the full implementation of the Maputo Protocol is essential to address these challenges comprehensively and to ensure a more equitable and just society for all Nigerians.

Therefore, in the spirit of celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Maputo Protocol, we wish to highlight some of our key demands that require urgent attention from the government.

Domestication and Enforcement of the Protocol: We call upon the Nigerian government to fully domesticate and deposit the provisions of the Maputo Protocol by enacting national legislations that align with its provisions.

This will ensure that the rights enshrined in the Protocol are protected and upheld at all levels.

Political Participation and Representation: We urge for greater efforts to increase women’s representation and participation in decision-making processes at all levels of governance and leadership, including in elected positions and public offices. Through affirmative action, participative governance and the equal involvement of women in the political life of Nigeria should be promoted. The 2023 Nigerian elections are a typical example of the awful state of women representation in politics and governance in Nigeria. Women made up only 10 percent of over 15,000 candidates in the 2023 election cycle, representing eighteen political parties. At the federal level, women made up 9 percent of all candidates in the races for president, House of Representatives, and Senate. At the state level, women constituted 11 percent of all candidates running for governor and state houses of assembly.

The result of the elections is even worse as we all know. The domestication and implementation of the Maputo protocol is all we need to have this challenge addressed.

Access to Comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and right: We demand adequate, affordable and accessible health services, including adequate and accurate information, education and communication programs to women especially those in rural areas. This will greatly contribute to reducing maternal morbidity and mortality which is currently at the rate of 512 deaths per 100,000 live births in the country thereby improving women’s overall health and well-being.

Violence Against Women and Girls: Gender-based violence remains a pressing concern in Nigeria. The government must intensify efforts to prevent and address violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, sexual abuse and assault, harmful widowhood and traditional practices including denial of property and inheritance, female genital mutilation among others. This requires strengthening law enforcement to hold perpetrators accountable, providing support services for survivors, preserving their dignity and fostering a culture of respect and gender equality.

Access to Justice: Article 7 of the Maputo Protocol promotes Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Protection. This provision recognizes the right of women to a fair trial and legal protection. It stresses the importance of ensuring that women have access to competent and impartial courts and legal assistance when they seek justice.

However, we are concerned that there are outstanding court judgments against Nigeria for violation of Maputo Protocol

Dorothy Njemanze and 3 others Vs FRN and Mary Sunday Vs FRN, both by the ECOWAS court of justice. We therefore demand for damages awarded to the women who were violated to be paid without more delays.

Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment: We call for targeted policies and initiatives to enhance women’s economic empowerment, including access to credit, entrepreneurship opportunities, and equal pay for equal work. Although there have been improvements in girls’ access to education, disparities persist, particularly in the northern and in rural areas. To empower women fully, we must ensure equitable access to quality education and address barriers such as early marriage and cultural norms that hinder girls’ education. We must challenge deeply-rooted gender norms and stereotypes and engage communities to help transform attitudes towards women and girls to enable them to reach their full potential and participate equally in all spheres of society.

Protection of Rights of Women with Disabilities: The “Protection of Rights of Women with Disabilities” provision in the Maputo Protocol recognizes the unique challenges faced by women with disabilities and seeks to ensure their equal access to services, education, and employment opportunities. Women with disabilities have the right to live with dignity and free from all forms of violence and abuse and Maputo Protocol clearly addresses these specific issues, to promote gender equality and inclusivity in Africa while advancing the rights and well-being of women with disabilities.

This provision specifically addresses the rights of women with disabilities, emphasizing their right to access services, education, and employment opportunities, as well as their right to live in dignity and to be free from violence and abuse.

As we make our demands, we recognize the efforts made by various stakeholders in advancing women’s rights;  civil society organizations, governmental bodies, and individuals working tirelessly to promote gender equality.

We call upon the Nigerian government, and all stakeholders to re-double efforts in advocating for the domestication and implementation of the Maputo Protocol effectively. Collaborative action is essential to create an inclusive and gender-equal Nigeria where women can fully realize their rights and potential.

We commit ourselves to working together to overcome the obstacles ahead, advocating for policy changes, and fostering a society where women’s rights are respected, protected, and advanced in every sphere of life.

Thank you.


 Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA)

 Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)

 International Federation of Female Lawyers

 Cedar Seed Foundation

2 BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB)

 Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF)

 National Council for Women Society (NCWS)

 National Orientation Agency (NOA)

 Alliances for Africa (AfA)

 Centre for Gender Economics (GCE)

 Initiative for Gender Equality and Sexual Reproductive Health (IGE-SRH)

 Gender Studies and Chairperson Women in Academics

About CODMAP: Alliances for Africa established on May 12, 2022, the Coalition for the Domestication of the Maputo Protocol (CODMAP); a multi-stakeholder body comprising state and non-state actors; (ministries, departments and agencies) and feminist organizations working collectively with a vision to realizing a just and equitable society for women and girls. CODMAP seeks to achieve an ultimate goal of defending and advancing the human rights of women and girls which includes; better protection against all forms of violence, access to justice, economic and political empowerment among others through the domestication of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, better known as the Maputo Protocol.

About Alliances for Africa (AfA): AfA is an international, African, feminist-led non-governmental, human rights, peace and sustainable development organization. AfA was created to enhance, reconstruct and interface human right and development, with a vision to contributing innovatively to the task of tackling causes of endemic poverty and exclusion in Africa. AfA works with partners in, around and beyond the continent of Africa to advocate for the protection of human rights; promote women’s participation in leadership and governance; build institutional capacity, advocate for gender justice, equality and non-discrimination, as well as promote peace, security and conflict resolution interventions.

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