Legal Nigeria

Women lawyers unite for child rights at Lagos FIDA Week


The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Lagos State chapter has held its yearly Law Week with focus on children’s right to life and a stable home as a way to eliminate social conflicts, writes ROBERT EGBE.

Lawyers from across Lagos gathered in Ikeja recently for the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) week.

The yearly flagship event of the association was subdued last year because of the need to adhere to the Covid-19 pandemic protocols.

But, this time around, the event held physically and virtual, permitting lawyers who could not attend physically to participate from their homes.

Activities kicked off on June 16, a day internationally recognised as the Day of the African child. Thus, the theme was “African child’s right to life and a stable home: towards eliminating social conflicts in Nigeria”.

It featured a rich array of participants and guests, including Lagos State First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, who delivered a goodwill message; and Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mojisola Alli-Macaulay, among others.

FIDA Lagos chairperson Mrs. Phil Nneji set the ball rolling with her welcome address followed by a brief summary of the event by the Chairperson of the FIDA Law Week Committee, Mrs. Adejoke Layi-Babatunde.

A former Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa. delivered the keynote lecture, which focused on the theme of the week.

Atsenuwa reiterated the four principles which the Child’s Rights Act of 2008 and the Child’s Rights Laws adopted by some states are hinged on to include: non-discrimination, right to life and survival, right to express one’s views or be heard, best interest of the child.

She recommended that child’s right programming approach should be scaled up, grassroots advocacy on child rights law and partnership with other relevant agencies to work in cohesion towards achieving the best interest of the Nigerian child.

A panel session consisting of the following panelists, Chief Magistrate Kikelomo Ayeye, Maryam Uwais, Taiwo Akinlami and Babajide Ogunsanwo was part of the highlights of the occasion.

Topics ranging from “Impact of child rights laws on the safety and welfare of children in Nigeria: any appreciable progress?” “Ending child marriage: the effects and demerits of child marriage”; “Keeping our children safe in the season of insecurity; Analysing the future of the African child” were discussed by the panelists.

Others included “Career opportunities for female lawyers”, “Law as a business: leveraging technology to build a profitable law practice”, “Professional ethics and pursuit of excellence,” “Going the extra mile on personal and corporate standard” etc.

Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Welfare Committee, Yakubu C. Maikyau, SAN, who sent a goodwill message, urged lawyers to be sensitive to, and prioritise, the welfare and rights of the child in matrimonial causes.

Maikyau said: “The right to life does not guarantee the right to quality living, as the privilege to shelter does not guarantee a home. Thus, whilst the Constitution and other legislations may guarantee the form, it is upon us as humans, and more so as lawyers, to deliver on the substance of these rights.

“We must introspect, debate, and suggest necessary reforms of our laws to better serve the Nigerian Child.×343&×250%2C412x343%2C0x0%2C412x343&nras=3&correlator=7947848255210&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=657256975.1597155311&ga_sid=1624951335&ga_hid=229308577&ga_fc=0&ga_cid=1240137049.1624951011&u_tz=60&u_his=3&u_java=0&u_h=915&u_w=412&u_ah=915&u_aw=412&u_cd=24&u_nplug=0&u_nmime=0&adx=0&ady=5866&biw=412&bih=671&scr_x=0&scr_y=1269&eid=31060474%2C31060839%2C31061218&oid=3&pvsid=3549724715376300&pem=301&!a&btvi=3&fsb=1&xpc=aw6y4xoWVO&p=https%3A//×343&×250%2C412x343%2C0x0%2C412x343%2C412x343&nras=3&correlator=7947848255210&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=657256975.1597155311&ga_sid=1624951335&ga_hid=229308577&ga_fc=0&ga_cid=1240137049.1624951011&u_tz=60&u_his=3&u_java=0&u_h=915&u_w=412&u_ah=915&u_aw=412&u_cd=24&u_nplug=0&u_nmime=0&adx=0&ady=5882&biw=412&bih=671&scr_x=0&scr_y=1578&eid=31060474%2C31060839%2C31061218&oid=3&pvsid=3549724715376300&pem=301&!3&btvi=4&fsb=1&xpc=u8XlhXUHU4&p=https%3A//

“We must be sensitive to, and prioritise the welfare and rights of the child in all matrimonial causes that comes to us as counsel and arbiters.

“Finally, we must continue to defend the fundamental rights of the child where violated and be at the vanguard of prosecuting those that violate them, and on this final score.”

The activities of Day Two of the event were held virtually. They were anchored by Ifeoma Ben and Adefowoke Ayo-Ponle.

Speakers included Victoria Awomolo, SAN, (Career Opportunities for a Female Lawyer: Accessing Resources and Visibility), Titilola Akinlanwon, SAN, (Professional Ethics and Pursuit of Excellence), Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN, (Going the Extra Mile on Personal and Corporate Standards), Inemesit Dike (Law as a Business Leveraging Technology to Build a Profitable Law Practice), Abiola Longe-Abilonge (Your Money and You), Ifeoma Williams (Executive Presence: The ‘X’ Factor for Effective Networking in the Global Market Place), Chinasa Amadi (Your Health and You).

Activities consisted of a visit to FIDA Children’s Ward at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, and the Female Correctional Facility at Kirikiri, Lagos State.

Speaking during the hospital visit, Mrs. Nneji said: “FIDA is an NGO of all women called to the practice of law in Nigeria. And our core objectives include: to protect, promote and preserve the rights and interests of the indigent and vulnerable members of our society, especially women and children. So, we have been working with respect to touching the lives of children and that is because we very passionate about the women and children who are among the most vulnerable members of the society.

“We are in our Ward, Ward A4 of the Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti Children’s Emergency Centre here in LUTH, Idi-Araba to make presentations to the children. Ward A4 is for children with emergency cases like surgery; and over the years we have been very supportive, we have also discovered that most of these children are from the indigent members of the society, they don’t have resources to take care of themselves.×343&×250%2C412x343%2C0x0%2C412x343%2C412x343%2C412x343&nras=4&correlator=7947848255210&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=657256975.1597155311&ga_sid=1624951335&ga_hid=229308577&ga_fc=0&ga_cid=1240137049.1624951011&u_tz=60&u_his=3&u_java=0&u_h=915&u_w=412&u_ah=915&u_aw=412&u_cd=24&u_nplug=0&u_nmime=0&adx=0&ady=8671&biw=412&bih=671&scr_x=0&scr_y=4807&eid=31060474%2C31060839%2C31061218&oid=3&pvsid=3549724715376300&pem=301&!9&btvi=5&fsb=1&xpc=WiEnnmS61S&p=https%3A//×343&×250%2C412x343%2C0x0%2C412x343%2C412x343%2C412x343%2C412x343&nras=4&correlator=7947848255210&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=657256975.1597155311&ga_sid=1624951335&ga_hid=229308577&ga_fc=0&ga_cid=1240137049.1624951011&u_tz=60&u_his=3&u_java=0&u_h=915&u_w=412&u_ah=915&u_aw=412&u_cd=24&u_nplug=0&u_nmime=0&adx=0&ady=9030&biw=412&bih=671&scr_x=0&scr_y=4807&eid=31060474%2C31060839%2C31061218&oid=3&pvsid=3549724715376300&pem=301&!4&btvi=6&fsb=1&xpc=4W04vIqPXd&p=https%3A//

“We are just trying to put smiles on the faces of these poor people, it has become like our annual ritual because we do this every year. We bring things here based on their requirements, based on what they want, last year we were here, this year we are here again and all the items you can see here we bought them based on what they required from us and we are happy doing this.

“We very grateful to the good Lord that we are  able to meet their needs as you can see the fridge, the incubator, the gas oxygen cylinder, the freezer, the chairs and tables and so on just to support the hospital.”

The Law Week dinner marking the end of the Law Week took place on Saturday, June 19 at White Stone Hotel, Ikeja.

Guest speaker of the day, Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, was represented by Chief Chijioke Okoli, SAN, who noted that the success of any society or organisation is measured by how it treats the vulnerable. He commended FIDA Lagos for ticking all the boxes, as regards achieving its aims and objectives. He delivered the gifts from Chief Ngige to FIDA Lagos and also supported with his own token.

FIDA Lagos presented a cheque to the best student in its adopted school in Makoko.

This was applauded by all at the dinner, attracting more donations for the best student.

Among the dignitaries at the dinner were Mr. Layi-Babatunde, SAN, Some EXCO members of the NBA Nigeria; Mrs. Joyce Oduah, members of the Bench, NBA Lagos (Premier Bar), NBA Ikeja and others.

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