Foundation begins calls to Legislate Femicide in Nigeria

As part of its strategies to end Femicide in Nigeria, The DOHS Cares for Vulnerable Women and Children Foundation is calling on the States and the National assembly to develop a bill on Femicide which will be presented to its host state, Lagos state House of Assembly through a protest march on the 4th of April 2024. The campaign has already kicked off virtually with the launch of the hashtag #CallItFemicideNG, which will shed light on the negative phenomenon that femicide constitutes.

According to the founder of DOHS Cares Foundation, Ololade Ajayi, ‘Femicide is a distinct form of gender based violence, motivated by hatred, contempt, pleasure or a sense of ownership of women and a misogynistic killing of women by men which may occur as a result of stereotypes on gender roles and unequal power relations, with harmful impacts including psychological and emotional damages on families and society as a whole’.

Citing several cases of femicide which The DOHS Cares Foundation had experienced, Ajayi said that the victims had not gotten justice till date and she had had to shoulder the burden of support of their dependents whose lives were forever marred by the incident.  Many femicide cases are usually ruled as Yahoo Yahoo killing or ritualistic killing, and in the court of public opinion, the blame is always thrown at the foot of the victims for being greedy or not discerning enough. This makes it easy for perpetrators to escape appropriate sanctions.

Documented victims of femicide in Nigeria includes Obiageli Anajekwu, Augusta Osedion, Damian Okoligwe, Ogochukwu Anene, Ndubuisi, Nana Fadimatu, Esther Aja, Ovye Yakubu, Evelyn Alifiya, Itunu Chigozie, Mercy Samuel, Osinachi Nwachukwu, Bimbo Ogbonna amongst a host of others.

In her words, ‘The Nigeria social justice literature on femicide is relatively silent: an oversight, largely attributed to patriarchal structures. The current concern on femicide neither falls within the purview of the existing law in Lagos state which is The Protection against Domestic Violence Law of Lagos State 2007 nor the Violence Against Persons Prohibitions Act 2015. In both laws, there are no provisions for the crime of femicide.

The legislation on femicide will help to connect the correlation between the history of domestic violence and death of victims and the impact of this includes:

  1. A coordinated and strengthened response to the pandemic
  2. Recognition of the term femicide which will help it to be considered as a distinct form of GBV
  3. Stipulated training of Law enforcement Officials on procedures when Femicide is reported (procedures include steps to consider such as history of abuse/ harassment when death occurs that aptly clarifies it as Femicide)
  4. Ensuring that police officers can issue a Femicide protection notice (this can protect minors who were under the guardianship of the perpetrator ) without approaching a court
  5. Sanctions

Prevention of Femicide.

The DOHS Cares Foundation urgently appeals to all women and girls, feminist groups, and allies to join them in ending all forms of violence against women and girls,  especially femicide in Nigeria, by marching with them on the 4th of April 2024 to present the draft of a bill on femicide to the Lagos State House of Assembly.

The march is supported by Het ActieFonds, an organization that supports the struggle for a sustainable and socially just world.

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