SDG 5: The council of traditional rulers in Nigeria renewed commitment to end gender discrimination and violence against women

The Council of Traditional/Cultural Leaders of Africa (COTLA) is committed to redouble its effort in ensuring violence against women, all forms of gender discrimination and harmful traditional practices come to an end in Nigeria.

Date: Friday, June 18, 2021

Abuja, Nigeria

The meeting with the council of traditional rulers has been a part of the resolutions at a meeting between the leadership of COTLA and UN Women in Abuja, Nigeria, on Wednesday, 17th March 2021, supported by the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

In his opening remarks, the Convener General of COTLA, HRM (Arc.) King Adedapo Aderemi, appreciated the efforts of the UN Women and reiterated their solidarity and commitment to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria. According to him, COTLA is committed towards achieving Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which seeks to end gender discrimination against women. He also pointed out that COVID-19 has exacerbated poverty in society, particularly for women who have had to face numerous challenges trying to care for the family.

Edited: COTLA Group - Traditional and Religious Leaders Photograph - Credit - UN Women - Faremi Olanrewaju
COTLA Group - Traditional and Religious Leaders Photograph - Credit - UN Women - Faremi Olanrewaju

“Due to lockdown, reports show an alarming increase in shadow pandemic-violence against women and girls. Poor access to services such as counselling, police protection, long term closure of schools due to COVID19 and bandits has exposed girls to GBV, child marriage, FGM and unintended pregnancy as well as health challenges such as HIV. In addition, child labour, sexual exploitation and abuse have increased; as COTLA we are not bystanders, we are active advocates for laws and policies, ending early and child marriage in our communities and creating safe spaces.", HRM (Arc.) King Adedapo Aderemi, Convener General of COTLA.

  Earlier in her welcome address, the UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Comfort Lamptey, highlighted the important role of traditional leaders in ending violence against women, gender equality and women empowerment. In her words, UN Women will keep on partnering with COTLA to ensure a sustained development process from the grassroots to the national and in effecting changes in negative social norms, stereotypes, and enhance women’s participation in decision making and leadership processes.

“COTLA is poised to address the issues of gender-based violence, child marriage, child abuse and other discriminatory and harmful traditional practices, and has decided to focus on progressive traditional institutions, identify allies in leaders, work towards shifting harmful perceptions of leaders who are not in support of gender equality and women empowerment.”, HRH Dr Haliru Yahaya Ndanusa, Deputy Convener-General of COTLA.

In a goodwill message, the Obong of Calabar, Royal Eminence Chief (Barr.) Edem Duke, through his representative, said the monarch is relentlessly working towards gender equality and women empowerment. He said his Palace has worked with the government of Cross River to ensure that out of 5000 political aides, women make up 50% of the positions in the state.

On gender-based violence, the Obong said he has repealed and amended obnoxious traditional beliefs and practices and upheld widowhood rights, among other reforms. He said he is working with Spotlight Initiative through FIDA to ensure access to justice and essential services to women who have been victimised.

Other speakers, including the Emir of Bwari, Alhaji Awwal Musa Ijokoro (II); HRH Eze Martin Nwali of Ameka Ezza South, Ebonyi State; HRH Eze Ngozi of Abia State; Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Mustafa Ubandoma, District Head of Girie in Adamawa and Alh Kabiru Chigari Alhassan, Sarkin Sudan, Sultanate Council of Sokoto, committed to ending GBV while also testifying to the incredible work the Spotlight Initiative has done in mobilizing and sensitizing local communities towards eradicating gender-based violence and discrimination.

UN Women and COTLA agreed to implement a strategic plan to accelerate the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.

More information:
  • Faith Bwibo - Communication Specialist, UN Women Nigeria - faith.bwibo@unwomen.org