We were shocked at the news of the demise of one of Nigeria foremost gender advocate – Oby Nwankwo. The women’s agenda has lost another giant and we mourn along with gender advocates, women organisations and groups across the world, especially in Nigeria.
For over two decades, Oby Nwankwo worked on ensuring social justice and the promotion of human rights, not only for women but for all Nigerians. Apart from founding Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), Oby Nwankwo was also an international consultant on gender and development. Her nomination as member of the Steering Committee of Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and UN Expert Committee on CEDAW were other strides that saw her work for human rights at the international scene.
Oby Nwankwo before her death was on the forefront of the advocacy for the passage of the Nigeria Gender and Equal Opportunity (GEO) Bill. The GEO bill if passed would have provided a legislation that would eliminate all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex and gender in private and public spaces, affirm women’s rights to equal opportunities to realize their full potential and provide protection for their bodily integrity and human dignity. Though, the bil is yet to be passed, her effort under the auspices of CIRRDOC and other women groups in pushing for the bill at the National Assembly will not be forgotten.
As we bid this amazon farewell, it is important to note that her dream of an equal opportunity society should not die. We at the Nigerian Women Trust Fund will continue to fan the embers of this dream.