By Akanji Alowolodu, Bauchi
A new set of national officials of the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN) has been elected to run its ongoing campaign on sexual and Reproductive health rights and policies for the next three years.
The new officials according to a statement jointly signed by the President and PRO/Welfare, Ynka Shokunbi and Elizabeth Kah respectively, contained that the new officials were unanimously elected unopposed during the Network’s 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) held virtually on January 22nd, 2021
The Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman Dr Ejike Oji who is the Chairman, Association of Advanced Family Planning of Nigeria (AAFP) and Dr Ejike Oji Community Development Foundation, participated in the virtual meeting and appreciated the contribution of the Network to issues relating to Sexual and Reproductive Health and rights and policies in its ten years of existence.
He charged the newly elected officers to be upright and committed to uplift the principles of rights of women to their Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Also applauding the election of new executive committee, Chairman, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) and Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Agolabi, who is a member of the BOT, encouraged the exco to reach out more in promoting equity and access of women to reproductive health services that enhance their dignity.
She urged the leadership of the Network to put commitment on the front line of media advocacy for promoting gender issues “because there is still a lot of work to be done in eliminating gender based violence on all spheres of our lives as a nation”.
On her part, Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Abuja Branch, Dr. Hauwa Shekarau, who is the Legal Adviser and member, BOT, noted that the Network has shown in 10 years that it is a media advocacy group to be reckoned in the SRHR space.
She charged the new executive members to continue to strengthen the capacity of its members across the country through continued programmes of development and engagements so that more visibility would be given to issues of women, girls and persons rights to making informed decisions and right choices in their sexual and reproductive health.
The NRHJN was formed in April 2010 with the support of Ipas, Nigeria as a media advocacy group to be a communication bridge between SRHR partners and the public at a time when it was difficult for the public to appreciate the works of most partners, the importance of sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls and protection against gender based violence.
The concerted media advocacy of the Network has been instrumental to the birth of VAPP Law and its continued adoption in several states of Nigeria.The Network has also been on the front line in the Gag Rule campaign, access to Family Planning services/ Contraceptives of choice and eduction on elimination of harmful practices that violates reproductive health and rights of women especially gender based violence such as rape among others.
The Network is a registered media not for profit group with membership that cuts across all genre of the media and in 20 states with State Coordinators.
Others elected are: Nasir Yusuf Ibrahim, Vice President; Sekinah Lawal, National Secretary; Tosin Odusola, Assistant secretary; Julie Ekong, Treasurer; Nma Okereke, Financial Secretary; Sola Ogundipe, Program Advisor, Elizabeth Kah, Welfare/Publicity; Martins Ifijeh, Internal Auditor; Ijeoma Ukazu, Ex- officio (1); Joy Olabisi Akpaida Ex-Officio (2) and Legal Adviser, Dr. Hauwa Shekarau (Chairman NBA, Abuja Branch).