Monday, 9 January 2017

BABY MICHAEL ALVEZ

Michael Alvez, a child with an infected facial haemangioma was found on the street of Lagos being used by his mother to beg for alms. He was rescued by prominent Nollywood actress, Kate Henshaw and two others, Temitope Oluwagbemi and Aramide Kasunmu. Kate being a Project Alert Ambassador, brought us in for proper organizational management of the case. The four, referred to as THE RESCUERS have been caring for Michael’s medical needs, with financial support from Friends of Kate Henshaw and members of the public.

Michael was first admitted at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH on March 16, 2016 but had to be discharged because of nurses’ strike in June 2016. He was however re-admitted November 2nd, 2016.


Michael recently clocked two on the 24th November, 2016 and it was celebrated it in the ward with other children. The journey towards recovery for Michael Alvez has been challenging but the dedication toward his recovery is an unflinching one for Project Alert & other RESCUERS.

EMPOWERING SURVIVORS

Mrs. Endurance Oguzie a survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse of her seven year old daughter by their husband and father respectively. She stood up against her husband and his family and sort help and justice for herself and her daughter. Project Alert provided both legal aid and financial support to Endurance. The husband was arrested, prosecuted and jailed; while we supported her with money to enable her start a business that would help feed and care for her four (4) children. Project Alert gave her a cheque of N92,000 to help start a foodstuff business

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

NFF Press Statement on President Buhari’s Public Misogynistic, Derogatory and Demeaning Comments about His Wife; Aisha Buhari.

The NFF and its partners, totally reject and condemn in strong terms the comments made by Nigeria’s President Mohammad Buhari on Friday the 14th of October 2016 in response to his wife’s interview on Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Mrs. Aisha Buhari, during the said interview publicly expressed discontent with Mr. President for not living up to expectations. In response to certain statements made by Aisha, President Buhari was quoted by the Associated Press (AP) as saying during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Ms. Angela Merkel, that “his wife should be taking care of his kitchen, living room and the other room” —meaning his bedroom. In his own words, President Buhari said, “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room”.
 
Mr. President’s comment connotes a nostalgic and repugnant invocation of historical patriarchal oppression and subjugation of Nigerian women, which has over the past alienated and denied Nigerian women access and a level playing ground to compete equally with their male counterparts both in public and personal spaces. Need we remind Mr. President about the role and contributions of women in our nation building vis-à-vis the socio-cultural, economic and political development of our beloved Nigeria?  We Nigerian women alongside our male counterparts have throughout the history of the development of this country resisted and will continue to resist every attempt made to diminish our contributions to the development of this nation. We will continue to fights against the entrenchment of patriarchal, socio-cultural and religious misogynistic structures that oppress and demean the status of women in our society. This demeaning statement violates right to dignity of every woman, recognised in section 34 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.
It is notable that Mr. President’s condescending comment relegating his wife’s role exclusively to his ’’kitchen and the other room’’ was made during a state visit to Germany, a first world nation with advanced democracy, headed by a woman (Ms. Angela Merkel)Ms. Merkel serves as a clear example that women can attain to the highest leadership position anywhere in the world if given the right support and opportunity. Ms. Merkel would not have become the German Chancellor if she as a woman was solely relegated to the kitchen or the other room. Ms. Merkel, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Michelle Bachelet, Thersa May, Doris Leuthard and other women in similar position demonstrates that women just like men, are capable of making important decisions in the ‘boardrooms and conference rooms’. 
 
Mr. President Sir, we Nigerian women hereby categorically state that we are no less important than our male citizens. We matter equally. It is inexcusable and utterly condemnable to refer to the first lady of Nigeria and indeed any other woman as belonging to the ’’kitchen’’. It may interest you to know that Nigerian women make up 42.2% of the labour force (World Bank, 2014). Nigerian women contribute close to 70% of agricultural workforce (African Development Bank, 2015). Millions of Nigerian women are entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, farmers, traders among others. Nigerian women including your wife Aisha, constitute 50% of the country’s population and comments such as yours can never diminish or undermine our status and contribution to national development and growth. Mr, President Sir, your role as a statesman and leader of a polarized country such as ours, connotes that you must never been seen either in public or private to support ideas and positions that stifles 50% of the citizens of the country you head.  We equally admonish your follow up comments/confirmation of your earlier position to a journalist that your wife’s sole duty is to ‘take care of you’ is equally unacceptable. We believe that you are not physically disabled or incapacitated to warrant 24hours personal care and if that is the case, may we suggest you seek qualified paid professional care.

Mr. President it is needless to remind you that Aisha your wife, is a highly educated, influential and focused woman, from a family of politicians. We recall her contributions and indeed the contribution of other Nigerian women to the success of the 2015 elections, which ushered in your government. Mrs. Aisha Buhari successfully rallied the support of the mass of Nigerian women who make up approximately 50% of the total number of voters that voted to put your government in power. Need we remind you that women actively participated in political rallies, campaigns, voters’ registration and actual voting exercises. We have not forgotten about the promises you made to women during your election campaign speeches, we are eagerly waiting for you to fulfil them starting from appointing women equally in your ministerial cabinet.

The NFF and its partners are saddened and worried to note that the present political dispensation has the lowest representation of women in public office. Women make up roughly 8% of the overall membership of the legislature and only 7% of ministers currently serving in your cabinet are women. This is against the 31% in the immediate past administration.  We wonder if this dismal representation of women in decision making in your government has a direct link to your personal opinion of women and their role in the society. The dismal role of women in decision-making positions in this present administration is extremely discomforting.  Nigerian women were even further assaulted by the rejection of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill (GEOP) by members of Nigeria’s Senate on Tuesday the 15th of March 2016.  The GEOP Bill seeks to guarantee the rights of women to access equal opportunities in employment and education. It also seeks to guarantee equal rights to inheritance for both male and female children.

We note that in other progressive democracies in Africa, in countries like Rwanda women make up 63.8% in the Lower house of Assembly and 38.5% in the senate. In South Africa women represent 41.9% and 35.2% respectively. In Burundi women represent 36.4% in the lower Assembly and 41.9% representation in senate. Even Zimbabwe has 31.5% and 37.5% respectively. In the Nigerian parliament as presently constituted, women represent a dismal 5.6% in the Lower Assembly and 6.5% in the senate. Very far from the agitated 35%, Affirmative Action provided for, in the National Gender Policy 2006.

The NFF and its partners will like to use this medium to commend the courage, sincerity, and audacity of Mrs. Aisha Buhari to speak up, upon sensing that the government is clearly deviating from delivering the electioneering promises it made to Nigerians. Never in our history as a nation have we had a woman in that position use her power to express an opinion that threatens even her personal comfort. We hereby use this medium to call on President Mohammad Buhari to immediately
·         Offer an unreserved public apology to his wife and indeed every Nigerian woman and girls for the disparaging and demeaning misogynistic comment made about confining the role of women in the society solely to the domestics. 
·         Take concrete actions to demonstrate his government’s commitment to actualizing 35% Affirmative Action in all government institutions, structures and decision-making positions. 
·         Demonstrate a clear road map of implementing the sustainable development goal especially goal 5 on Gender equality.
·         Fulfil every electioneering promise made to Nigerian women and take steps to secure the lives of women and girls especially those in conflict situations.
·         Show public support for women’s right and gender equality.
 
We also call on the leadership of Nigerian legislature, not to relent in its commitment to ensure the immediate passage of the re-introduced Gender and Equal Opportunities bill presently before the senate. 

Signed,
Geraldyn Ezeakile
Nigerian Feminist Forum, Secretariat.

Co-signed by; Women Africa (WA), Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nigera (WEAN), Centre for Mmadu on Human Rights (C4M), Alliances for Africa (AfA), Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), Women Crisis Centre (WCC) Lesley Agams, Equity Advocates (EQ) Echoes of Women In Africa (ECHOES), Arise Nigerian Women Foundation (ANWF), Gender and Development Action (GADA), Media Concern Initiative for Women and Children (MCIWC), Women’s Right and Health Project (WRAHP),Vision Spring Initiatives (VSI), Voice of Eve International (VOI),
 
About the Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF)
The Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) is a biennial public policy forum that brings together feminists from the six geo-political zones, government officials, and other strategic partners to deliberate on issues of key concern to the development of and emancipation of women in Nigeria. We can be reached via email at;nigerianfeminist@gmail.com, nff@alliancesforafrica.org and via twitter: @nff2008

Friday, 23 September 2016

RE: How My Husband Almost Killed Me After Separation With Three Children

ProjectAlert V went on a fact finding visit to Ivie Edobor this morning sequel to her story of almost being killed by her estranged husband John Edobor of Zenith Bank. In the team were myself, Benjamin Ocholuje Odeh (Head Legal); Maymunah Garuba Kadiri ( Psychiatric Doctor and Psychologist) who is an associate and Christy Dokubo Adelakun, a friend of the house.





We met Ivie in her living room and there she told us her story. It's very clear that her estranged husband went to her house with criminal intent. After being separated for two years (since 2014), during which time she moved back to her father's house with her three daughters until April this year when she finally got a place of her own; why would he go and wait outside her house up until midnight if he didn't have something up his sleeve? Why did he seat in a nearby bar to buy drinks for area boys while telling them that he stays abroad and rented the house for her and got information that men visit her? He got the sympathies of the area boys with the help of alcohol and they joined him in attacking Ivie and her friend.

For the records, the house is rented and paid for by Ivie ONLY. John had no business lurking around there. He had thrown her out of their matrimonial home in Ajah in 2014 along with their 3 daughters (maybe because she had no son). She moved on. He too moved on (or so she thought) as according to Ivie he now lives with a woman and even sent her some pictures. SO WHY STALK HER AND ATTEMPT KILLING HER?
The case has been charged to court and Project Alert will be hold watching brief. We invite as many NGOs as possible to join us.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

How My Husband Almost Killed Me After Separation With Three Children

You might be experiencing domestic violence if you’re in a relationship with someone who calls you unprintable names, insults you or puts you down, Prevents or discourages you from seeing family members or friends or threatens you with violence or a weapon, hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets. But In the case of Ivie Edobor who left the husband and moved on with her life, what is so shocking is that Ivie’s exhusband came one early in the morning when she was approaching her new home in the early hours of the day, after a night out.
The ex-husband John Edobor laid in wait, attacked her and her male friend. In the real sense of law, this is grievous bodily harm GBH, common assault against Ivie and her friend.
Read her own story:
Ivie Edobor is a mother of three, she has taken to social media to narrate what she went through in the hands of her husband, John Edobor, she wrote:
Dear friend, To shed more light on my ordeal, this is my story. Two years ago my husband kick me out of his house along with my 3 daughters ages 9, 7 and 4.
I was forced to move back to my father’s house and struggled to provide for my 3 children as he completely neglected them and even took them of his medical insurance provided by his office Zenith Bank Plc. After much struggle, I finally got back on my feet. Got a great job, enrolled my kids in a new school and rented an apartment for my 3 kids and I. About Easter time this year he decides he was to be part of my children’s life again.
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I allowed him access to the children as I felt we could be civil to each other for the sake of our children. At this time I had started putting my documentation together for the divorce process. Early hours of June 19th on my way back from a function, a friend had parked right in front of the gate of my apartment to press the bell for the gateman to open the gate and let me into the compound when suddenly he was rushed at and attacked by a man waving an object.  The first impression was that it was an armed robber trying to rob us. My friend(a man) pushed he away but he came charging back; at this point I looked out the opened door and realized it was John Edobor my estrange husband. Before we could react a group of area boys showed up but rather than saving us from the assailant, they joined him.
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The proceeded to be my friend on the floor giving John the opportunity to focus his attack on me. He used a metal bar(wheel spanner/ metal rod) to try hitting me on the head through the opened drivers door but I shielded it. Not satisfied with that, he turned to the passengers door dragged out to the floor. I landed on the floor with my legs extended where he proceeded to hit me on the leg continuously with the metal. When he was satisfied he was about going back to join the area boys who had gathered my friend when my neighbour who had heard my screams for help and seen from his window a man striking someone on the floor thinking it was an armed robber, numbed down his balcony with a machete to save whoever was being attacked. On getting down he was faced with my estrange husband whom he had prevented from entering my compound without my permission on 2 occasions so he recognized him. It was at that point he overpowered John.
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The area boys recognized him as a member of the security team for the street and backed off my friend. By that time I couldn’t stand up and my leg was bleeding profusely. I was rushed to the hospital where my jeans was torn off my leg to see the nature of my injury. The injury was so severe that my broken bone torn through my skin puncturing an artery in the process. Almost 3 months and 2 surgeries later, I have titanium plates and screws to keep my leg in place and I am unable to use my right leg. I still have my 3 children to care for and my life is at a stand still. The perpetrator was charged to court and released on bail 3 days later. Now he moves around freely carrying on with his life. Now is it wrong for me to cry for Justice.
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Source Dee Report

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

PRESS CONFERENCE ON BABY MICHAEL ALVEZ’s FIGHT WITH FACIAL HAEMANGIOMA

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press.

On behalf of Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Temitope Oluwagbemi and Aramide Kasunmu, I welcome you all to this press conference on baby Michael Alvez’s fight with facial haemangioma.

On March 16th, Kate Henshaw rescued very sick baby Michael and his mother of the streets of Lagoswith the help of two individuals named Mr. Temitope Oluwagbemi and Ms. Aramide Kasunmu, and got both mother and child admitted into LUTH. Kate an Ambassador of Project Alert, immediately called the Executive Director of Project Alert, Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma to intimate her on it and request Project Alert’s active involvement in the case.

On March 18th all parties met at LUTH, and had a meeting with Dr. Mofikoya, the consultant attending to baby Michael. Michael was diagnosed with ulcerated, infected facial haemangioma caused by vascular malfunction, worsened by the fact that night and day, sun and rain, his mother Mary was on the road with him, begging for help. Facial haemangioma is a benign condition (non-cancerous). The doctor informed us then, that Michael would have to be on admission for an initial one month for further tests to be carried out, and treatment to commence. That immediately raised the question: ‘’How would Baby Michael’s hospitalization and medical treatment be funded’’. It was at that point that the RESCUERS (Kate Henshaw, Project Alert, Temitope and Aramide) commenced a public fund raising to help keep Michael and his mother in hospital and pay the hospital bills. A dedicated account known as Project Alert. Baby Michael, was opened for donations.

Same day Baby Michael was admitted in LUTH, the Lagos State Social Welfare department, was notified. They referred us to the Social Welfare office in LUTH, headed by Mrs. Funmi Doherty. We had meetings with her and jointly we commenced work on seeing to the welfare and medical treatment of baby Michael in LUTH.

We would like to thank members of the public who donated their widow’s mite to help treat Michael. Your kind donations helped in paying hospital bills for the three (3) months Michael was on admission in LUTH, until when we had to take him out on June 20th, when nurses commenced strike action. Till date the strike is still on. We had to take Michael to Project Alert Shelter for continued care and close monitoring and strict adherence to administration of drugs and hospital appointment

WHY DID WE HAVE TO DO THAT YOU MAY ASK? WHY DIDN’T MICHAEL’s MOTHER, MARY TAKE HIM HOME AND CONTINUE CARING FOR HIM, APPRECIATIVE OF THE FACT THAT A GROUP OF PEOPLE HAD TAKEN UP HIS MEDICAL CARE?

This brings us to the concerns we have about the ability of Mary and her family to care for Michael, and whether it wouldn’t be best for Michael to be placed in a home. The concerns are as follows:

1.      Mary since last year had been begging on the streets of Lagos Island with the baby, claiming to seek financial help to enable her seek treatment for her son. She was even aired on Television Continental, TVC sometime in Nov/Dec 2015, which resulted in people donating. One single donation of N450k by a lady stood out. So how come Mary was still on the street with the child till March 2016 when Kate Henshaw and Temitope Oluwagbemi saw her? Why wasn’t the baby in hospital?
2.      While in hospital, we received reports from other mothers in the ward and the nurses about Mary’s restlessness and aggressiveness to all including her baby. On April 24th, she fought a hospital maid and threatened to burn down the ward. Mary is a commercial sex worker and got pregnant with Michael in the course of work. She felt caged in the hospital. She was sent out of the ward by the matron and nurses, and we had to beg that she be allowed in, after she promised to be of good behaviour.
3.      In same April, we went visiting the home address in Ikorodu that Mary gave us. We met her aged mother and brothers, all with no visible sign of means of livelihood. We found out that Mary had 3 other children, and was in the practice of disappearing from home for months,getting pregnant along the line, delivering the children and coming back home to dump them with her aged mother, who has a bad leg.
4.      On the night of June 9th, she walked out of the hospital, leaving her baby behind. In the early hours of June 10th, we received a call from the ward that baby Michael had been abandoned by his mother. Immediately we called the hospital Social Welfare department and her senior sister Syndi. We gathered at the hospital and met with Mrs. Doherty, Head Social Welfare, LUTH, where it was decided that Mary not be allowed back into the ward and the family pleaded that their mother and a 16 year old niece come stay with Michael in the ward instead. As the meeting was going on, Mary appeared very dirty and smelling.
5.      On June 20th, about a week after LUTH nurses had commenced their strike, we had to go pick Michael and mama from the ward, as all patients had been discharged and they were the last people remaining. Not wanting a roll back on the medical gains we had made on Michael’s health, and with a mother more interested in prostitution, we had to decide to take Michael to Project Alert shelter, where he still is with mama (his grandmother as his carer). This has moved our initial mission from only caring for Michael’s medical needs to feeding and housing Michael, mama and the 16 year old who assists mama in running around (going to market etc).

The road to full recovery is a long one for baby Michael. At the last hospital appointment we had with Dr. Mofikoya on Thursday July 21st, he stated that taking out the growth through surgery will leave a hole on Michael's face as according to him,the tissue under the growth is abnormal. He said the tissue is not healthy and that is why surgery is not a good option at LUTH. The treatment plan he thus has for Michael is continued administration of the drugsPropanolol (tablet) and Nylol Gel (cream)for gradual compression and shrinking. But that according to him, will take a long process.  He used an example of a patient (a boy) he has been treating since the child was a baby and the child is now 10yrs and they are still on it. He said that is the treatment they can give Baby Michael in LUTH.

Thus with this long road to discovery for Michael; a clearly unfit mother; a grandmother who is not strong enough and capable of caring for Michael; and the need for good and hygienic management of Michael’s ailment, WHERE SHOULD MICHAEL BE PLACED? WHO SHOULD CARE FOR MICHAEL? We the RESCUERS are committed to baby Michael’s medical costs. However the social welfare issues surrounding his mother, circumstances of birth, and the family in general are HUGE.


Thank you and GOD BLESS.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Project Alert on Violence Against Women support child victim of Domestic violence



Project Alert on Violence Against Women with support from Mrs. Oby Ezekweshili, former Federal Minister provided financial assistance to an indigent family in Ikorodu. Our attention was drawn to the Abiade's family by a concerned citizen who reported that the 6 year old daughter of the family, was being battered regularly by biological mother. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the mother was facing severe financial challenges which made her to be intolerant and violent to her 6year old child. Based on the report received, Mrs Oby Ezekweshili, who is very passionate about issues bordering on violence against women and young girls, decided to support the family with some money to help boost the family income and empower the woman, so that financial handicap would not be a reason for her abusing her child physically.

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