The festival provided the opportunity to sensitize the attendees on issues
around Gender Based Violence, Sex and Gender Based Violence and Violence
Against Women and Girls.
Awards were presented to deserving stakeholders, influencers, state and
non-state actors, CSOs, ActionAid Nigeria, Vivian Efem Bassey, the Ezes of the
2 project communities, the Regent, Oforola Ancient kingdom Opi committee
members that excelled exceptionally in the discharge of their duties. 16 awards
on promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls were presented to the
groups first above provided while participant certificates were presented to 20
Opi committee members, 4 women teacher facilitators were presented with Teacher
counselors certificates that empower them to function as women teacher
facilitators in Oforola community secondary school, 4 Peer education
facilitator’s certificates that empower them to function as peer education
facilitators during and after the end of the project.
Highlights of the festival were cultural dance by the Adolescent girls club,
Oforola community secondary school, welcome song, match past by the adolescent
Drama presentation on teenage pregnancy and response was presented by the
identified women groups. News was caste by the adolescent girls club. The news
centered on the benefits of the SLOC project in the communities, harmful
traditional norms, the rights of women and girls and a commendation of the
contributions of ActionAid Nigeria and HBF SLOC project implementation in
Oforola and Olaukwu communities.
The women anthem was sang by the women members of the Opi committee, the
peer education facilitators, the women teacher counselors, the identified women
and girls groups members.
In attendance were the Ezes of Olaukwu and Oforola communities, the member
representing Owerri West constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly and
the majority leader of the Imo state House of Assembly, the Interim monitoring
committee chairman (IMC), Owerri west L.G.A, the Imo state chairperson FIDA,
the NHRC Imo state coordinator and barrister Ihunaya Okoroji of the legal
department, NHRC Imo state, reps of Alliance for Africa, Imo state committee on
ending violence against women and girls, (IPAD) Imo people alliance for
democracy, the media – darling fm, Orient fm and the Nigerian Newsguide news
paper), the secretary Olaukwu Owerri west council of traditional rulers
represented all traditional rulers in Owerri west L.G.A at the festival.
Eze Appolo Ekeocha, Olama 1 of Olaukwu and Eze Kingsely Ajoku, Eze Ola
II of Oforola Ancient kingdom pledged to give their continued support to the
project, the protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls. They
promised to invest materially and financially to the course of promoting
the rights of women and girls in their communities and beyond even after the
expiration of the tenure of the SLOC project in their communities.
The Sec. Owerri West Counsel of traditional rulers, Dr. Lucky Okoro, Oha III of Eziobodo community on behalf of all Ezes in Owerri West L.G.A promised to liaise with the Opi committee in Oforola/Olaukwu communities to establish similar committees in all communities. He said he will with other Ezes in the L.G.A hold a meeting with the Opi committee on a date that will be communicated to the committee after the Ezes must have meet on a date that will not be later than 3rd week in March, 2022.
The chairperson FIDA and the Imo state coordinator of the NHRC presented speeches while the Ezes of the 2 project communities, the ED HBF, presented their welcome addresses, the valedictory speech was presented by the Opi committee, chairman, Sir Emma Chukwu.
The Opi committee anniversary cake was cut to mark its one year of inception.
The adolescent girls club, Oforola community secondary school played a football match with the adolescent girls from Obinze comprehensive secondary school, Owerri west L.G.A to mark the end of the festival.
Interestingly, women and girls in Oforola and Olaukwu communities now inherit land from the various villages were they hail from as against the previous norm that provided for the exclusion of women and girls in land inheritance. The reformed bye-laws document is a handy tool for the enforcement of this right as survivors rely on it in instituting complaint.