By Sola Ogundipe
The Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, NRHJN, has described Dr. Hauwa Shekarau, its late founding /Board of Trustees member, and first female chairperson of the Unity Chapter, Abuja Nigeria Bar Association, as an Amazon and advocate of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.
In a statement to mourn the sudden departure of the lawyer and Gender Based Violence advocate, the NRHJN said Shekarau, a one-time president of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, who passed on recently, utilised her legal expertise to canvass and mobilise support for passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, VAPP.
The statement,signed by Mrs Yinka Shokunbi and Mrs Sekinat Lawal, President and Secretary of the Network, respectively, noted: “Dr. Shekarau was an Amazon and inspiration to many younger women as she offered consultations probono through her Women, Law and Development Initiative.
“As a Policy Advisor and later, Country Director, Ipas, Nigeria, the passion with which she took the campaign on sexual assault of the abducted Chibok Girls, the Gender Equity Bill amongst others in the Feminine Group was effectual.
“Safe space for medical termination of unwanted pregnancy occasioned by brutal sexual assaults, rape, incest, gender based violence among others were some passionate displays of our dear Hauwa.”
They noted that Shekarau was one of the pillars at Ipas, Nigeria as Policy Advisor when the Network was founded in 2010, and later the Country Director at the time the Network was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.
“The love Shekarau had for the Network right from it’s inception was so deep that it was natural to pick her alongside erstwhile Transmission Monitoring Group Chair, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi and the Chair, Technical Working Group, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, Dr. Ejike Oji as the BoT members of the NRHJN as the trio had in common, affinity for gender equity and equality.‘‘