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  • Context

    Nigeria, formally known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is one of the thee Voice focus countries in West Africa. It has more than 500 ethnic groups, languages, and cultures which makes it a diverse country. Other than its rich culture, it is known to have the largest economy in Africa. The “Giant of Africa” has a mixed economy with abundant supply of natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, and transportation sectors.

    Albeit all economic progress Nigeria is experiencing, social exclusion and discrimination towards the Voice target groups persist. This 2017 Context Analysis summarises the struggles faced by people living with disabilities, LGBTIs, women facing exploitation, abuse, and/or violence, age-discriminated vulnerable groups, and indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities.

    Civic space

    In order to fully grasp the situation of the Voice marginalised and discriminated groups, it is crucial to discuss civic space in Nigeria. According to Civicus Monitor, Nigeria has an obstructed civic space. This implies that a dynamic civil society exists, but activism is heavily monitored by the State.

    Civil society organisations can be the catalyst of equality and inclusion in Nigeria. With their bottom-up approach in advocacy, they can build linkages with community-based groups within their coalitions and networks. They can represent the needs of the marginalised and discrminated groups to key stakeholders in the government side. However in 2016, regulations pertaining to civil society registration and funding limits the space openly available to CSOs.

    Status Quo of Voice target groups

    People with disabilities are among the poorest and socially excluded groups in Nigeria. Certain regions in the country have various notions about them, yet they are deprived on accessing services enjoyed by their able-bodied counterparts. They lack access to quality education, healthcare and community support, spatial rights, economic opportunities, and services tailormade in their special needs.

    Policy-makers and the general public still has this misconception about people with disabilities as those needing charity. Despite the passage of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill, there still lacks social protection schemes for them. The exclusion is intensified with the continuous dispelling myths about them perpetuated by the media.

    Similar to some other African countries, Nigeria criminalises consensual same-sex relationships and activities especially among men. The lives of the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders, and Intersex (LGBTI) peoples are under constant threat: they are prone to harassment, violence, and discrimination. It is dangerous for them to be open as it leads to intense exclusion in all spheres of life.

    The Nigerian law is intolerant of LGBTIs. Notwithstanding declarations of collective democracy, political parties still exclude LGBTI rights in their agendas. These indecencies are also reflected on the religious and cultural leaders in the country. They hold strong moral standpoints that promotes violations on the fundamental human rights of LGBTIs.

    The country has ratified numerous international conventions protecting women facing exploitation, abuse, and/or violence. While policies and laws are existing in the Nigerian government, full implementation of such laws are weak which makes women and girls on a dangerous situation. Traditional practices and customs are still being practiced towards girls. There is still male preference within households. The heteronormative ideals imbibed by the Nigerian society limits women’s full political participation.

    Nigeria is no exemption in marginalising age-discriminated vulnerable groups such as the youth and elderly. For elderly people, they only benefit from pension schemes only if they had formal and government employment. Corruption makes it difficult for them to claim their pensions.

    They struggle for survival. There is limited government-owned homes for old people and some elderly ended up on streets. Younger family members are known to take over the lands of their elderly parents.

    Children living in poorest households are prone to child labour. They are also most likely to experience malnutrition and deprivation of basic needs. Their situation likely leads them to be out of school. Socially, in some parts of Nigeria, children are branded as witches which leads to high cases of deaths.

    Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities are synonymous in Nigeria. They are always at the middle of conflict due to their ancestral domains and resources. They have been deprived of their territories, economic and political autonomy, and customary beliefs which makes them unique in their own ways.

    The summary of the context analysis is available here.

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Voice Nigeria
Oxfam Nigeria
11 Ganges Street
Off Alvan Ikoku Way, Miatama
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel: +234 708 662 5290
nigeria@voice.global

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