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The Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with the Women in Peace and Security Network (WPSN) held a one-day Technical meeting for the validation of the Rivers State Action Plan (SAP) of the United Nation Security Council Resolution (1325), on the 7th of July 2017, in the Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs.

The UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security was adopted by the Security Council on the 31st of October, 2000 as a comprehensive Political Framework which advocates for the protection of the Rights of women and their roles in peace building, conflict resolution and the assessment of the impact of violence of women and girls. Nigeria, as a member of the United Nations was mandated to adopt and ratify this resolution and domesticate it hence the development of the National Action Plan/State Action Plan which clearly stipulates the roles of different Ministries, Department and Agencies. Indeed, the overarching objective of the plan is the development of a National/State Strategic Framework and plan of Action for the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 based on the following priorities:






The aim of the validation meeting was to provide key sectors of Government and CSOs with a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of the framework for the Rivers State Action Plan on the UNSCR 1325. This process also gave credence to the consultative process of the development of the SAP and fosters multi-sectoral ownership of the Rivers State Action Plan. The SAP also will also serve as a working policy Document for the River State Ministry of Women Affairs on Women, Peace and Security.

The validation meeting started off with an opening prayer, after which introduction of participants and key persons. The Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs’ Permanent Secretary was recognised with all her Directors and other permanent secretaries from the following ministries:

  • Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning
  • Ministry of Social Welfare

Directors from the following Ministries were also recognised;

  • Ministry of Health: Dir. Planning research and Statistics
  • Ministry of Education: Dir. Women and Special Education
  • Ministry of Information: Dir. Information and Administration
  • Ministry of Special Duties: Dir. State Emergency Management Agency
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning: Dir. For Budget, Monitoring and Evaluation

The SA to the Governor on SDGs (and former commissioner for Women Affairs), Hon. Toru Ofili was also recognised alongside Pastor Dr. Mrs Nancy Chudi Nwankwo another former Commissioner for Women Affairs

The SA to the Governor on Conflict Resolution and the SA to the Deputy Governor on Research and Social Media were also recognised

The Permanent Secretary of the Rivers state Ministry of Women Affairs gave a welcome address, welcoming everyone and stressing the importance of due consultation on the SAP which will soon become a policy document for Women. Peace and Security in Rivers state.  

An overview of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 was done by the Director Women Affairs, who gave a brief history of the UN Resolution 1325, the National Action Plan developed and adopted by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and the process that led to the revision of the Rivers State Action Plan for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

The validation process started with Susan Bassey-Duke of Gender and Development Action Presenting the Revised SAP for deliberation, corrections and inputs. Discussions ensued and corrections and inputs were made and the importance of the SAP was reiterated through the course of the validation. It was pointed out that specific activities be outlined to be seen as target milestones to achieve the strategic objectives of each pillar of the Revised SAP. Duplicitous objectives should be streamlined and outlined more in strategies and activities. 

It was unanimously agreed that the implementing stakeholders should be expanded to include International and Local Development Partners.

During the discussions, it was highlighted that there should be synergy between stakeholders implementing related issues. The National Human Rights Commission has established Human Rights clubs in schools and the Ministry of Education Pointed out interest in this aspect which is also part of the SAP strategies for legal empowerment. The SA to the Governor on SDGs highlighted the importance of establishing formal and informal clubs and TOT for Human Right and legal education at the community level. She reiterated the importance of Gender Equality and an increased representation of women in decision making and peace processes, stating that the SDGs cannot be achieved without these reforms. The importance of including women in peace processes was stressed as the representation of women in leadership processes as well as peace conciliation was said to be insignificant in the state. Setting up of community Peace Corps was also highlighted as an activity that can improve peace in the community and work towards the gender inclusion in peace processes.

It was also suggested that a holistic early warning reporting and response mechanism for crisis management and Violence Against Women and Girls, should be developed to include all relevant stakeholders including the security agencies as first responders. Information desks for communities and local governments should also be a part of the plan to ensure there are safe and accessible and confidential points (mechanisms) where reports can be made.

The non-collaboration of the Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation and the Ministry of Justice on access to justice for Women was also discussed under the establishment of a trust fund for Gender Based Violence under the VAPP Act 2015. It was stated that the Draft VAPP for Rivers state stipulates the Gender Based Violence Trust Fund be domiciled in the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Welfare also plays a significant role while the Ministry of Women Affairs is not properly integrated into this process. It was resolved that a proposal for a Bill to establish a Law for a Sexual violence and Gender Based Violence  Trust Fund to support and assists survivors and victims of Sexual Violence and Gender Based Violence should be pushed.

On setting up the Technical Committee, the Rivers state Ministry of Women Affairs was tasked with the responsibility of sending out letters of engagements and TORs to prospective committee members identified

The meeting came to an as stakeholders endorsed the Revised SAP, and call for the adjournment of the meeting by Hon. Toru Ofili and the Mr. Felix Odungweru, the Permanent Secretary of the  Rivers State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning


Official Commissioning and Handover of Confidential Gender Desk To Bayelsa Police Command

The official commissioning and handover of an equipped Confidential Gender Desk to the Bayelsa police Command to promote effective responses and practice change on incidences of  Violence against Women and girls (VAWGs) in the State on 21/7/2017.
This project was carried out with support from NSRP. The initiative behind this project was a feedback from series of training and awareness campaign carried out by GADA to Divisional Police commands in the state on:
1)Effective policing against gender-based violence
Strengthening Police Action in the fight  of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWGs)  
2) Effective use of the gender unit in increasing public confidence in reporting cases of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWGs)
3) Using available laws as resourceful tools for investigation and rightful prosecution of Violence Against Women And Girls(VAWGs)
4).Building collaborative effort with the  Police  towards eradicating Violence Against women Girls(VAWGs)
5) Promote  and build an effective reporting system and partnership with key responders of Violence against Women and Girls in Bayelsa State
6)Concept of Gender Based Violence as a human right abuse
 The State Commissioner of Police officially commissioned this Project






The Niger Delta (ND) Region located in southern Nigeria, comprises of nine states namely; Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers States. The region covers about 112,100 square kilometers, which is about 12% of the total surface area of the  Nation. On the Atlantic Coastline, it is bordered to the east by Cameroon. As by 2006 census, its estimated population was over 28 million, with women constituting 49 percent of the population (NPC, 2007).

Women in the Niger Delta belong every where , not just the Kitchen and the other room.  I wish they did.   But Women play a major role in sustaining family lives.  Just imagine if women stayed in the Kitchen and the other room what would happen to many families in the Niger Delta!!! Women in Africa are at the heart of development as they control most of the non-monetary economy (subsistence agriculture, bearing children, domestic labour etc.) and they play an enormous role in the monetary economy too (trading, wage labour, employment,) (Yawa, 1995) Women contribute to the  economy and to combating  poverty through both remunerated and unremunerated work at home, in the community and in the work place.

The Niger Delta produces all of Nigeria‟s oil and gas, both on land and offshore, and the petroleum industry is the “backbone” of the Nigerian economy. It accounts for over 90% of Nigeria‟s foreign exchange revenue and over 80% of total government revenue” (NDRDMP, 2006). Unfortunately this has been the bane of livelihood in the Niger Delta.

 About 80% of the economically active population in the landed area of Niger Delta form the agrarian labour force, using labour intensive technologies for production. They are mainly small farmers enduring low returns from agriculture due to inadequate investment in the sector, lack of investment credit and poor agricultural policies. Poverty is not only pervasive, it is widespread and on the increase. The conservative poverty line of N3,290 per person per month, shows that over 70% of the people live in poverty and 47% of the households are earning income levels below the cost of the minimum food basket which yields 2,700Kcal/day/adult equivalent AEU (estimated at N2,468 per person per month).  Women in the Niger Delta are often the most disadvantaged groups within rural communities.  The women in the Niger Delta  are primarily reliant upon  trading, fishery ( fishing), and  subsistence agriculture for their source of livelihood (common crops include cassava, yam and rice)


Livelihood refers to means of earning a living, income from a person’s environments which could include  physical, social, even meta-physical environment. This comes in the form of daily, periodic or regular job, work, employment, occupation, trading or /and business. Ellis (2000) views livelihood as comprising of assets, activities and access. Whereas Assets refer to

  • Natural,
    • (fish, forest, water, land)
  • Physical,
    • (buildings, roads, equipment, infrastructure
  • Human ,
    • (labour, experience, skills, education and health).
    • (savings, credit)
  • Social Capital
    • Market

Livelihood Activities comprising

  • Fishing
  • Agriculture (yam, cassava, rice, plantain, palm oil, palm wine, cocoa, vegetables, fish farming poutry, piggery, snailery etc)
  • Forestry
  • Trading


  • through institutions and
  • social relations, both of which are influenced by gender factors to the undoing to women livelihoods. In spite of available legislative and administrative frameworks for fostering gender equality in Nigeria, structural and cultural discrimination against women still exist. Relevant studies on women status in ND reveal abysmally low representation of women in institutions even those created for conflict resolution and peace building in the Niger Delta

These, together, determine the living gained by the individual or household. Livelihoods in the Niger Delta communities in Nigeria are varied, complex and dynamic. Environmental pollution, seasonal cycles of resource use and changes in access create conditions that bring challenges resulting in livelihood insecurity for rural households. “Nonetheless, the women, the main breadwinners in most of the households, continuously struggle against these stresses and shocks” Emem Bassey Inyang, 2013.


Aside livelihood insecurity, diversification is a major characteristic feature of livelihood of women in the Niger Delta, arising from their  need to evolve a strategy to overcome and survive the stresses and shocks they encounter frequently in their living and business environments. These include:

  • risk reduction,
  • response to diminishing fish supply from fishermen caused by the pollution of fishing grounds,
  • reaction to crisis situations, and
  • liquidity constraints (Barret et al., 2001).

The women also diversify to cope with shortfall of income following environmental shocks to their natural asset resource. When fish die as a result of oils pills, households must find other pursuits, whether in formal employment (e.g. wage labor), or informal employment (e.g. petty trading).

Diversification is also seen as a form of risk management (Barret et al. 2001). The implication of the “diversification as risk management” rationale is that the need for self-insurance is a function of the availability of substitute social insurance,  provided supposedly through transfers by the government, by non-profit agencies, by community or family members. Since social insurance can at least partly substitute for self insurance, one would expect greater need for asset, activity, and income diversification where social insurance is relatively scarce.



Best captured by a  fisher folk in the Niger Delta, pointing at the flame of a gas flare across from his mud and

thatch-roof home (This Day Newspaper, Feb 6, 2006).

  “These days, it is like a curse in the creeks of the Niger Delta. Fishes don’t grow, not even crabs or shrimps…we can’t feed our children and to worsen the situation we can’t sleep because of that light,”

  • Destruction of the natural resource, pollution of the land and  water bodies,  reduction in resource abundance,

The exploration and exploitation of oil in the Niger Delta has resulted in massive environmental degradation which has caused losses of livelihoods, displacement of communities resulting in untold hardship and poverty for the entire ND population, especially the women.. Oil spills and gas flares have constituted major sources of disaster to the communities. While the spills occur every now and then the flares are permanent features.  The major effects of the incessant oil spills include pollution of the fishing grounds, water courses, ground water, farmlands, and air, food poisoning, loss of biodiversity, loss of health, and subsequently death, while the effects of gas flares include depletion of fish stocks, deforestation, acid rain, loss of biodiversity and emission of carbon dioxide and methane (Ashton-Jones 1998; Ogbuigwe 1999).

In the views of Emem Inyang et al, (2013) (University of Uyo) reporting on a study of three fishing communities, there has been  no coordinated, holistic compensation package, safety net mechanism or rehabilitation strategy for members of the communities of the ND to date, despite the massive wealth derived from the ND. “With the losses, and lack of access to their resources, the oil wells, farmlands, fish, forests, potable water, etc., and with the absence of any tangible assets, there is a high level of livelihood insecurity, insecurity of lives and property, and therefore a high level of vulnerability, especially for the women, who are left behind in those communities to fend for themselves and their households. For many of the women, their husbands have fled, seeking greener pastures elsewhere, and in the process have married other wives, and this has culminated in untold hardship for the “abandoned” wives and their children.  In order to survive, the women in the communities attempt to diversify their livelihood activities, deviating from their lucrative fish processing and trading businesses of former times, in order to cater for their livelihoods and those of their households.”

  • seasonal cycles of resource use,

There are two major seasons which affect livelihood activities in the Niger Delta: the rainy season from May to October, and dry season from November to April.  In some the riverine areas  fishing communities , about 10 years ago the traditional occupation of most of the population was in fisheries and fisheries-related activities, involving over 80 percent of the population either directly or indirectly. However, with the wanton destruction of the environment by oil companies such as Shell, Mobil and Chevron, occasioned by several oil spillages and gas flares on farmlands and its territorial waters over the last 30 years, there have been losses of livelihoods in the fisheries sector, leading to diversification into other livelihood activities by women in the communities.

  • The traditional division of labour gives women in Niger Delta fishing communities the responsibility of providing and managing natural energy sources required for the maintenance of the household, and environmental pollution poses a major challenge to achieving this, placing an extra burden on them.
  • Pollution increases the women-hours she will devote to fetching clean drinkable water, gathering forest and water products, which are crucial for food supplement, and firewood for domestic use (Ononge 2002). for sale, to earn an income.

Home front  

  • Niger Delta women are also involved in polygamous marriages and each wife is expected to cater for the welfare of her children (Omorodion 2004; Udong et al. 2010).
  • The extended family system also pervades the communities, compelling men who share incomes with their wives to distribute their incomes between the female-headed units within the polygamous unions, concubines and other extended family members like aged parents, brothers and sisters in school or pursuing training.

White collar jobs

  • Also, because the rural women are last on the list to be hired by the oil companies due to their lack of relevant qualifications, they suffer discrepant impoverishment, thereby deflating their gender status vis-à-vis men.


The economic crisis and security of life and property in the Niger Delta have been exacerbated by increased exploitation of oil and gas resources. These have further impacted the socio-economic lives of women in the Niger Delta who are twice victims of gender-based discrimination. They are underrepresented in politics, education and economics, including employed labour in the oil industry. The women are therefore struggling continuously against environmental pollution, lack of resources, seasonality and discrimination and gender based deprivations, which constitute stresses and shocks, in the process of ensuring sustainable livelihoods for their households. It is pertinent therefore to stress that for the status of women and their livelihood to improve in the Niger Delta, enhanced infrastructural development and provision of basic amenities to lighten the home burden on women and girls,  affirmative legislation, improved health facilities and systems, unfettered access to business financing, equal access to education for girls and women and sustained pressure by women leaders for increased representation of women in government and other decision-making positions, must be accelerated.



Ellis, F. (2000). Rural Livelihoods and Diversity in Developing Countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Emem Bassey Inyang &Ekaete Evans Udong (2013) : Livelihood Insecurity And Diversification Among Women In An

Environmentally-Challenged Niger Delta Region, Nigeria

 NDRDMP (2006). Niger Delta Regional Developmental Master Plan. Niger Delta Development Commission, Federal Republic of Nigeria

Nigeria Country Gender Report 2012

Federal Ministerial Platform Report, 2012.


This Day Newspaper, Feb 6, 2006

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