We stand with the Victims – Womanifesto blasts Women Affairs Minister, makes Demands

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Dear Hon Minister,

  1. We write as Womanifesto, a Woman’s Rights Movement of over 500 activists, practitioners, professionals, and NGOs, and formally condemn in strong terms, the audio and video statements credited to you, Hon. Uju Kennedy, as Minister of Women Affairs, in which you threatened the female law students of the University of Calabar for accusing the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Cyril Ndifon, of sexual harassment.
  2. Womanifesto is gravely concerned about your utterances on the UNICAL sexual harassment case and their implications for the interest and protection of vulnerable women. If you recall, Womanifesto sent a strong delegation to the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs in Abuja, on Tuesday, September 12, to express our disappointment and dissatisfaction over the way and manner the situation in UNICAL has been handled by you. The delegation highlighted the sadly alarming prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence in our society, and, even more so, in our tertiary institutions. Our delegation called on the Minister to desist from interfering in the case of sexual harassment against Prof. Ndifon and interfacing with the female student victims in the case, with the possible motive of silencing them.
  3. We were shocked that the Hon. Minister was heard in the audio recording threatening the students with dire consequences if they continued to pursue the case of sexual harassment against Professor Ndifon. According to the Hon. Minister, since the girls had admitted to you that they were not raped, it means they were not sexually harassed. Thus, it appears rape (penetrative sexual intercourse) is the only form of sexual harassment recognized by the Minister. It is shocking, to say the least, that a Minister of Women Affairs should hold such a narrow and erroneous view of what constitutes sexual harassment.The United Nations clearly describes sexual harassment as “sexual advances, requests for sexual favours and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, whether implicitly or explicitly”.
  4. In the audio, the Minister also insinuated that the students were being used and manipulated by some people to get Professor Ndifon out of office so “they” themselves could take his place.We note that Professor Ndifon, who is currently on suspension from the university, has gone to court to make a case against what he called a campaign to smear his image. The utterances of the Minister of Women Affairs on the case of sexual harassment against Professor Ndifon, therefore, can only be seen as taking sides with him. Our delegation was clear in explaining this issue to your good self during the meeting.
  5. Let it be stated clearly that Womanifesto outrightly condemns attempts to trivialize sexual harassment by narrowly reducing it to penetrative sex or rape. We demand a retraction from the Hon. Minister and an apology to the innocent students who have been bullied and traumatized by you.
  6. We believe the Office of the Minister of Women Affairs should be investing its energies in rallying support for victims and survivors of sexual harassment and all forms of gender-based violence, and mitigating all factors that could compound the vulnerability of women and girls.
  7. We are calling on the Human Rights Commission, ICPC, and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that those women and girls who have the courage to come forward when they have been sexually violated receive adequate protection and justice. We are also calling on well-meaning Nigerians to lend their support to efforts to rid our campuses of sexual predators who abuse their office and power to sexually exploit our young women and children who simply want to pursue academic aspirations.
  8. Womanifesto commends the Vice Chancellor of UNICAL for forging ahead to ensure that justice is done despite the uncomfortable circumstances. We are urging her to do all that she can to ensure that the students involved are shielded from exposure to any more vulnerable situations and harm than they have already endured. We are equally urging university authorities in UNICAL and elsewhere in the country to provide safe spaces where the voices of more students who have been victims of sexual harassment can be heard loud and clear. Bearing in mind that perpetrators tend to have a pattern of sexual abuse that sometimes spans their entire academic career, it is important that school authorities and law enforcement agencies encourage female alumni who were abused while they were in school to also come forward.
  9. We use this opportunity to strongly urge the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to immediately do the needful by assenting to the Sexual Harassment Prohibition Law. His continued delay in the face of frequent allegations of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and impunity on the part of lecturers in our tertiary institutions is very curious. Nigeria is a signatory to quite a number of International Treaties (and has, on her own, passed several laws) which aim to protect the rights of women and girls; these include the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the ILO Declaration on Sexual Harassment and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, among others. These are all compelling reasons for the President to expeditiously assent to the Sexual Harassment Prohibition Law.
  10. Your utterances, Hon. Minister, have no doubt done a lot of damage to the collective of Nigerian Women and girls and we hereby demand that you publicly apologise for meddling in the UNICAL sexual harassment case against Prof. Ndifon and attempting to silence the voices of the students who are victims of the harassment. We expect your commitment to justice and fair play. We expect no less from the office of the Minister of Women Affairs.
  11. As you are well aware, Hon. Minister, Nigerian women, activists and advocates have worked hard doggedly over decades to reduce women’s vulnerability and see the dawn of prosecution of perpetrators of sexual abuse and violence against women, as well as justice and healing for victims and survivors. We will not accept a situation where the most important public office that should be working with us to advance the interests of women and girls becomes a threat to the gains we have made over the years.
  12. We will spare no efforts in taking further action that may affect your position if you do not do the needful by taking steps to apologise publicly and retract your threats to the students and utterances on rape and sexual harassment. If you are seen to take steps to make amends, this will douse the tension that your utterances have generated and lessen the sense of intimidation that the victims have been subjected to.
  13. A Minister of Women Affairs cannot be seen to be working against women’s affairs. We stated this clearly to you when our delegation met with you on Tuesday, September 12. We are shocked that 3 days later, you have not taken any steps to retract your statements and make amends.
  14. As noted at the meeting, women in Nigeria are committed to ensuring that the Ministry of Women Affairs becomes a viable institution for the protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls in Nigeria. We hope the Hon. Minister will work with us in achieving this goal; that is our minimum expectation of your good self.
  15. Womanifesto stands with the victims and calls for justice for students all over the country that continue to face sexual and gender-based violence, including sexual harassment and rape.


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Signed on behalf of Women Groups

Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi

Co-Convener, Womenifesto



Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of Nigeria

Chairman, ICPC

Chairman, NHRC

Attorney General Federation

Office of the First Lady, Senator Chief Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu


Signed by


Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls

Above Whispers Foundation

Action Aid Nigeria

ACTS Generation GBV

Ade Grange Child Foundation

ADEM Community Human Development Foundation

Adinya Arise Foundation (AAF)

Advocate for Health and Development Initiative

Advocacy for Women with Disabilities

African Women’s Initiative (AWI)

Albertiqs Extra Helping Hands Foundation

African Research Group on Gender Association of ALIWE

Daughters Ajegunle Community Project

Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation

Alliances for Africa (AfA)

Amazing Grace Inspirations

Aminchi Women Cooperative Society

Amnesty International Nigeria

ARDA Development Communication Inc.

Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation.


ATATA Development and Empowerment Foundation (ADEF)

Affirmative Action Initiative for Women (NCAA)

Association of Nigeria Women’s Business Network (ANWBN)

Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture (AWITA)






BLECCA Foundation

Bring Back Our Girls

Briskila Emefesi Women Foundation (BEWOF)

Baobab for Women’s Human Rights

Cece Yara Foundation

Cedar Seed Foundation

CEE-HOPE Nigeria

Center for Economic Empowerment and Gender Activities (CEEGA)

Centre for Alternative Development and Self-Enhancement (CEADESE NG)

Centre for Health and Development in Africa (CHEDA)

Centre for Nonviolence and Gender Advocacy in Nigeria (CENGAIN)

Centre for Peace Education and Community Development

Centre for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN)

Change Managers International Network

Center for Women’s Health and Information

Centre for Media and Development Communications

Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center (CIRDDOC)

Citizenship and Human Development Initiative

Charity Women Spring of Salvation

Chedal Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society

Child Care and Adult Protection Initiative (CCAPI)

Choung-Dung Women Association.

Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigerian Society (CWEENS)

Christian Women in Nigerian Politics

Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR)

Community and Youth Development

Community Education Advancement of Peace and Development Initiative (CEAPDI)

Community Initiative for Healthy and Peaceful Society

Community Life Project (CLP)

Community Rescue Initiative (CRI)

Community Women Initiatives (CWI)

Country Associates Network (CAN)

Courageous People Health and Development Initiative (CPHDL)

Crestville Development Foundation (CDF)


Daria Media Foundation (DMF)

Development in Practice Gender and Entrepreneurial Initiative (DIPGEI)

Diaspora Womanifesto2019

Dinidari Foundation (DF)

Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)

Dream Alive Women and Orphans Support Foundation (DAWOS Foundation)

Dr. Oby Ezekwesili

Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives

Edo Women’s Development Initiative

Education as a Vaccine (EVA)

EiE Nigeria

Emerge Women (EW)


Empowerment and Action Research Centre (EARC)

Equality Through Education Foundation (ETEF)

Equity Advocates/ The Woman Today Newspaper

FACICP Disability Plus

FAME Foundation

Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON)

Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN)

Federation of Paralegal Network (FEDPAN)

Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)

Fembridge Development Initiative (FEDI)

First Future Leadership

Forward in Action for Education, Poverty and Malnutrition (FACE-PAM)



Gender Action Awareness Trust

Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN)

Gender and Development Action (GADA)

Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI)

Gender Awareness Trust (GAT)

Gender Development Initiative

Gender Equality Center

Gender Equality, Peace and Development Centre

Gender Technical Unit (GTU)

Gender Strategy Advancement

International Girl Child Advocacy and Education Initiatives

Girl Child Africa

Girl Child Education, Care and Rehabilitation

Girl Education Rehabilitation and Care (GERAC)

Girls Power Initiative (GPI)

Global Hope for Women and Children Foundation (GLOHWOC)

Green Spring Development Initiative

Gender Awareness Trust (GAT)

Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN)

Habiba Dangana (Hadis) Foundation

Heal Disability Initiative

Health Education and Human Rights Advocacy Initiative

Health Reform Foundation Of Nigeria (HERFON)

HEIR Women Development (HWD)

Help Initiative for Social Justice and Humanitarian Development

Hope for New Life (HNL)

International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria

Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD)

Inter Africa Committee (IAC)

Inter Gender Peace Foundation (IGPF)

International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) Women Network

International Hairstylists, Barber and Body Therapists (IHSTOBAN)

International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH)

International Women Communication Centre

Iyaniwura Children Care Foundation (ICCF)

Jamatul Nasir Islam, Women Wing

Jana Health Foundation (JHF)

Julie Oyegun

Foundation for Justice Development and Peace (FJDP)

Justice Development and Peace Mission (JDPM)

KMashi Gamji Women

Kebetkache Women Development And Resources Centre

Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND)

Kungiyar Tallafin Mata Development Initiative (KTMDI)

League of Queens International Empowerment (LQIE)

League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV)


Lift Initiative

League of Queens International Empowerment

Legislative Advocacy Coalition on Violence Against Women Initiative (LACVAW)

MBULA Women Association

Media & Teens Network

Media Concern Initiative for Women and Children (MODAC)

More Women in Politics

My Voice My Future NGO

Nasrul – Lahi-L- Faith Society (NASFAT)




Nigerian Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ)

National Centre for Women Development

National Council of Women Societies (NCWS)

NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women

Neighbourhood Care-Well Foundation

Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, NRHJN

Next Initiative for Gender Actions (NIGA)


NGAS Women Farmers’ Cooperative Society

Nigeria For Women Project

Nigeria Labour Congress, Women Committee

Nigerian Express

Nigerian Women Politics Forum

Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NTWF)

Non For Now

Ogayem Merciful Care and Support Initiatives (OMCSI)

Ogun Women Alive

Okwuzi Women Forum

Olive Community Development Initiatives

Onomese Foundation

Open Arms Initiative for Sustainable Development (OPAISD)

Osi Joe Touching Lives Initiative

Ovie Brume Foundation

Partners West Africa

Peasant Dragnet

Princess Olufemi-Kayode

Proactive Gender Initiative (PGI)

Project Alert on Violence Against Women

Ray of Hope Community Foundation

Relief Development Initiative Kaduna

Responsible Citizenship and Human Development Initiative

Sesor Empowerment Foundation

She Forum Africa

Safe Space Initiative

Save a Child Lend a Hand Foundation

Sheforshe Africa Initiative

She Mentors Initiative

Shout Global Health

Small-scale Women Farmers Organization of Nigeria (SWOFON)

South- South Professional Women Association.

Stand to End Rape (STER)

Stephanie Peace Building Development Foundation

Support for Needy Children and Women Initiative (SUNCHI)


THR Media

The Inclusion Project (TIP)

The Priceless Jewels Foundation


Tonia Bruised but Not Broken Foundation

Transformation and Development Center (TDC)

Transition Monitoring Group

Tunde & Friends Foundation (TAFF)

UC Women Commission

UTO Foundation

Vision Spring Initiatives (VSI)

Voice of Ogun Women (VOW)

West African Network for Peace



Widows Development Organization (WIDO)

Woman-Being Concern Nigeria (WBC)

Women’s Leadership Group (WLG)

Women &Youth Awareness Empowerment Network (WOYAEN)

Women Advocacy, HIV Prevention and Other Diseases (WAHPOD)

Women AT Risk International Foundation (WARIF)

Women Aid Collective (WACOL)

Women and Youth Empowerment for Advancement and Health Initiative

Women Youth and Children Upliftment Foundation (WYCUT)

Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON)

Women Education Advocacy and Development Initiatives (WEADI)

Women Empowerment and Initiative Development

Women Empowerment and Reproductive Health Centre (WERHC)

Women Empowerment Education and Peace Building Initiative (WEPBI)

Women Environmental Programme (WEP)

Women Farmers Alliance (WFA)

Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative (WOPEGEE)

Women for Women International (W4WI)

Women Foundation Initiative (WFI) Women Foundation of Nigeria (WFN)

Women in Action for Positive Development and Gender Enhancement Center (WAPGADEC)

Former Women Action Organization (WAO)

Women in Africa Initiative (WIAI)

Women in Agriculture (WIA)

Women in Mining (WIM)

Women in Politics Forum (WiPF)

Women Information Network (WINET)

Women Initiative for Democracy and Empowerment (WIDE)

Women Law and Development Initiative (WOLDI)

Women Law Development Center of Nigeria (WLDCN)

Women Lead Agric (WLA)

Women League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Women of Vision Development Initiative

Women Protection Organization (WOPO)

Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN)

Women, Infants and Children Care Initiative (WICCI)

Women, Youths and Children Advancement Program

Women Optimum Development Foundation-WODEF

Women Right to Education Programme (WREP)

Women’s Crisis Centre Owerri

Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP)

Working Moms Africa (WMA)

Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA)

Women Initiative on Climate Change

Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ)


Women Democracy Network Africa – Nigeria

WomenPreneurs (AWEBO)

Yiaga Africa

Youth Future Savers Initiative (YFSI)

Zonta International Club of Lagos 150MAWSP

100 Women Lobby Group (100WLG)

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