Blog

 Feb 21, 2019 5:00 AM

 

In 2017, the Bisi Alimi Foundation started its Media Justice Fellowship program as part of its approach to accelerating social acceptance of LGBT people in Nigeria. The fellowship program geared towards empowering lawyers and journalists in Nigeria and giving them the right tools to understand LGBT issues as well as report rightly and represent justly.

In the last years, the foundation has trained 22 fellows that have gone on to write over 20 articles and provide legal pro-bono services for LGBT individual and organisations.

We are therefore happy to announce our class of 2019. This class consists of six lawyers and six journalists from across Nigeria. These individuals have shown exceptional interest in the program and they are the finalist from over 90 applications we received for the fellowship this year, making it our largest application so far.

Please meet our 2019 fellows.

 

KHADIJAH MUHAMMAD ABDULHAMEED- Khadijah is a Legal Practitioner, and as well a Human Right activist based in Jos, Plateau State. She is currently undergoing a master of Law in the University of Jos fuelled with a passion to defend the defenceless and render her quota towards the development of humanity as well enhance herself with social Justice activities such as gender-based violence issues. She advocates to seek for change and ensure that all voices are been heard without any form of isolation or discrimination.

 

Joseph Agbro- He holds an Economics degree from Delta State University, Abraka and has worked as a print journalist with The Nation newspaper for the past 12 years, reporting arts, business and entertainment.

Despite coming into the profession by 'mistake', he has come to recognise and love journalism's inherent power in communicating information, entertaining and shaping of ideas and his goal is to continually put my media skills to the test in providing clarity with fact-based stories.

 

Kingsley ‘Mesor Momoh is a Journalist, actor, events compere and writer based in Lagos, Nigeria.

He is a member of the International Federation of Journalists and the Nigerian Institute of public relations who gets inspired by the fact that he is providing service to the world. He also mentors young journalists and students to become responsible information managers and promoters.

 

IDIKI GODDEY MONDAY KUKU- is a graduate of Rivers State University and a practising lawyer committed to self-improvement daily and living for the growth of humanity.

For Idiki, Being a lawyer creates an earnest opportunity to give back to society knowing that society has given him so many opportunities for his personal advancement and growth. To be a change maker, his voice will be a medium to reach a larger audience.

 

Samson Adegboyega Newton-  is a passionate litigation lawyer who has been in active practice for over 7 years.

He is motivated daily to pursue and seek justice and he abhors seeing the downtrodden and helpless denied justice. He intends to reach the pinnacle of his profession both locally and internationally.

He believes with his profession he can positively influence his nation and community by taking up the cause of those who have been unjustly dealt with and making sure they get justice.

 

Bolu Akindele-  is the Creative Director at Joy, Inc — a benefit corporation which mainstreams the research and evidence on human flourishing and positive emotions to transform the culture, tell new stories and build a new generation focused on the greatest happiness for the greatest many. At Joy, Inc., Bolu is focused on creative Intelligence as well as building and growing communities.

He also works as a writer and freelance journalist covering stories around religion, social justice, health and development across Nigeria and increasingly, West Africa.

As a storyteller who works at the intersection of identity, culture, religion and social justice, he is highly inspired by how stories and narratives are key drivers in combating exclusion, enabling change and creating more inclusive communities.

By pioneering platforms and telling the stories that champion diversity, inclusion and social change, Bolu hopes to, at the very least, move the conversation of social justice in Nigeria as an extension, Sub-Saharan Africa forward.

 

SESUGH EMMANUEL IVANDE - is a legal practitioner and a human rights activist working on peace, equality and justice. He is currently undertaking a Master of Laws (LL.M) programme in International law, Human rights and Humanitarian law in the University of Jos.

He is very passionate about human rights and equality and his driving force is that he hopes to see a world where every human being is seen to be equal and free to live without discrimination or threat. He represents victims of human right violations in order to get redress and is currently working on a project to ensure the Child Protection and Justice System is put in place in Plateau State, Nigeria.

He intends to lend his voice and skills to the fight and struggle for human rights in Nigeria and Africa at large most especially for the LGBTIQ community which has been marginalized and discriminated against in every sphere of life. He believes that as a lawyer, he can be a voice for the voiceless and an advocate to the vulnerable and helpless in society.

 

Mandu Umoh- is a media practitioner with over 10 years of Media experience with the aim to tell the African stories through the African Eye. With a curious eye, she derives joy in digging deep into issues that border on humanity and relationships and Issues that affect the common man and finding solutions using the media.

She seeks to effect a change in the world by giving audience to the voiceless in the society.

 

Niyi Oyedeji- is a graduate of the University of Ilorin and a journalist cum human rights activist. His work revolves around education, global health, gender, development and humanitarian issues. He holds Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism, Ibadan. Niyi believes in writing to make a difference and influence positivity in the society, hence why he centred his focus on human interest stories.

Niyi is a fellow of Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, REMOP for basic education. In 2018, he was selected among the 25 young Nigerians to attend the YOUTH RISE Academy fellowship in Abuja, Nigeria. As a fellow of the YOUTH RISE, he became an ambassador of the organization and has been going around in sensitizing people on drug use, drug abuse and decriminalization of drug in the country. Also in 2018, he was selected among the 40 journalists in the South West of Nigerian to undergo a 3-day training on election reporting hosted by the International Press Centre.

Niyi believes in the act of using his profession to tell the stories of the people in a way that would bring about positive change to them and the society at large. He is always of the opinion that the oppressed and the less privileged in the society can attain justice and freedom when their stories are properly reported in the media.

 

TAIWO OGUNMOLA-OMILANI-  started her journalism profession in 2007 and was inspired in this profession to achieve the dissemination of information to the public and educating them about the activities of government most especially on Education, Industry and politics.

Her aspiration as a journalist is to disseminate accurate and balance information that is free from hitches and to educate the public accurately.

 

Ngozi Oti-  is a legal practitioner currently practising in Abuja, Nigeria.

She obtained her BL from The Nigerian Law School Lagos in 2011 and since that time she has been active in the legal community, she has focused on cases involving domestic violence and abuse; crimes against women and children, naturally being a feminist and an activist, the LGBT community seemed the next logical cause to advocate for.

Ngozi is involved in a number of volunteer programs and regularly offers pro-bono legal services to victims of sexual violence and abuse, she is of the firm view that the world we live in today is rife with injustice and bias largely due to the fact that people are uninformed and underrepresented.

She seeks to use the knowledge gained at the Bisi Alimi foundation to galvanise her peers in the legal profession who are unaware of this grey area of the law into action and consequently create a stirring in the collective consciousness of our society about the LGBT community.

 

Agih Sylvester Isaac, Esq.- Agih Sylvester Isaac is a trained lawyer and an advocate of human rights. Born in 1985, Agih is passionate about social justice, equity and fairness. He hopes to give voice to the voiceless in the society through legal writing and representation. He is a legal practitioner, corporate and property consultant at S.I AGIH & CO (Elites Chambers).

  

As a straight Christian woman, I am defending LGBT rights in Nigeria

 Jul 17, 2018 7:45 PM

On May 28th 2018, an association of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria mobilized allies nationwide to observe a “National Day of Mourning and Remembrance” for victims of violent deaths across Nigeria.

Various Advocacy groups such as the Bring-Back-Our Girls campaign, the Not-Too-Young-To-Run, Internally Displaced Person groups” as well as organizations working with victims of forced evictions in Nigeria rallied crowd in various cities to observe the day.

A week prior to this, I sent a message to our UK office seeking permission for the Bisi Alimi Foundation to join the rally in remembrance of this day but more importantly, in remembrance of LGBT people that are victims of aggressive homophobia, from both state and none state actors. Although approval was granted, there was a bit of scepticism for safety reasons.

Our group (made up of direct organizations) was the biggest group gathered for this rally nationwide, and we marched through the highbrow Lagos singing, dancing and distributing fliers.

This event was so dear to my heart and our participation as the Bisi Alimi Foundation made me proud, I felt fulfilled to organize and be a part of exposing something that our society so desperately wants us to hide.

The amount of atrocities, deaths, homelessness facing LGBT persons in Nigeria is hidden. The 2016 Human Rights Watch(HRW) report suggests that the mob violence against Nigerian LGBT persons was on the increase; many of these victims were detained by the Nigerian police for as long as three weeks without charging them to court and eventually made to pay bribes of up to 100,000 Naira ($278) before release.  When enforcement agencies commit, enable or support an act of violence against any particular group, it fuels fear and paranoia, and in some cases death which leads to violations of human rights without consequences.

The punitive governance that creates stigma, marginalization, oppression and discrimination of LGBT persons have increased and enabled marginalized access to health care for men who have sex with men. This is impeding a sustainable solution to issues such as mental health as well as HIV & AIDS responsive care, support, methods and preventive strategies in Nigeria.

Our society and the media often act like as if any LGBT person killed deserves it. This shaped by the narrative of media and religious and political leaders that overtime has presented the community as an outcast. This engagement with the foundation has exposed me to knowledge and a reality, I would have in the past termed frictional stories.  

I still have friends and family members who think I am losing my Christian faith because I chose to work with an LGBT organisation and I always tell them that I know God differently and I feel it in the depth of my soul that if the pillar of Christianity; Jesus the Christ was alive today, he would be an LGBT advocate! I refuse to believe that any religion which claims to love will remain silent, indifferent or in support of the deaths, the kidnap, violence, oppression and discrimination facing the LGBT persons in Nigeria today

I did not arrive at supporting LGBT rights in Nigeria from birth; it was a journey I had to go through. As a straight woman living in Nigeria, I know the struggles and I know what it means to face oppression and it is this that has connected me to the struggle of LGBT persons in Nigeria. Most importantly, it is because, I myself have been a victim of oppression by a powerful structure and nobody wanted to stand with me, but I am alive today because a few decided that, as a human being watching what was happening to me and doing nothing was a crime against humanity. This is what I hope to do for every oppressed, victimized and marginalized persons in Nigeria.

As the tagline of Bisi Alimi Foundation states, we are working really hard to accelerate social acceptance of LGBT people in Nigeria, sometimes, it will be easy and sometimes it difficult and challenging, but one thing I am sure of is, change comes because people opt to do something. It is time for every human being in the world and every Nigeria to rise up and stand up for the LGBT persons, who in most cases are unable to speak for themselves.

I continue to have to explain why as a straight Christian woman, I am working with an LGBT organisation, but one thing is very clear to me, in years to come, our faith won't matter, our gender won't matter, our sexuality won't matter, what will matter will be our humanity, the love we share and the compassion we show, because, in essence, I believe this is what God is. However, this will not happen tomorrow if we are indifferent today

For long, LGBT interventions have mainly focused on working within the community and this is important. However, in 2018, it has become imperative that allies across Nigeria and globally be given the chance to speak up and be counted as the attacks and marginalization against LGBT requires urgent intervention.

This is why I feel that the work that we are doing in Nigeria is extremely important. Today, I am calling upon everyone who cares about LGBT human right to support our work and help us scale our projects scope and advocacy to penetrate more states in Nigeria by donating here

 

  

The Impact of Nigeria’s Anti Same Sex Marriage Act

 Feb 27, 2017 10:00 AM

LGBT flag

All over Nigeria, LGBTI people are facing huge daily challenges, with violence by the police and neighbours, and discrimination in employment, housing, education and health care.

In 2014 the Anti Same Sex Marriage Act became law. The law is one the most draconian in the world, mandating 14 years in prison for known and perceived homosexuals. In those parts of Northern Nigeria governed by Sharia, homosexuality is punishable by death – one of few countries in which this is the case.

In 2015, the media has intensified their negative narrative of LGBT communities as “immoral”, “deviant” and “un-African”.

These new narratives are shaping the opinions on Nigerians and informing their relationship with LGBT people everyday. With these narratives come the justification for arbitrary police arrest, extortion, detention and in cases support for mob justice such as the stripping naked, attempting lynching and burning and expulsion from the community as seen in Abuja in January 2015 and Bauchi 2014.

Whilst the violence is the most extreme manifestation of hatred legitimized by the law and fueled by the media, the consequences are even more far reaching. LGBT people have reported either being denied access to employment based on being single which is seen as being LGBT. Being in heterosexual relationship evidence by having a girlfriend or wife has also becoming the authentic vetting process for access to housing.

While cases of violence, abuse and discrimination of LGBT people appears to be on the increase in Nigeria, the support for the Anti-Same Sex Marriage Act actually appears to be declining. In 2013, NOI, Nigeria largest pollster recorded 92%[1] in support of the law. This was a drop of four points from 2010, which was at 96%[2]. In 2015, support for the law has fallen further to 87%[3]. The detailed polling results provide some cause for optimism, as those who know and LGBTI person reports much lower rates of support of the law.

LGBT activists have been undertaking campaigns and advocacy to fight stigma in Nigeria, increasing awareness of LGBT people and promoting equality. They have been working in particular areas – such as HIV/AIDS and particular places – such as Lagos. However, given the size of the problem more needs to be done. In particular, gaps exist in credible data to understand the scope of the problems and provide a basis for reasoned discussion. There is an immediate need for training of the media to better understand and report on LGBTI people, as well as training for police in interacting with the community. Finally, there is a need for a strategic approach to reach opinion makers – in the arts, politics, sport, business and religion – to speak out and act in favor of equality, as catalysts for broader changes in public opinion.


[1] http://www.noi-polls.com/root/index.php?pid=287&ptid=1&parentid=66
[2] http://www.noi-polls.com/root/index.php?pid=128&ptid=1&parentid=14
[3] http://www.glaad.org/blog/study-acceptance-lesbian-gay-and-bisexual-people-increasing-slowly-nigeria

  

Charity Launch Celebration

 Aug 17, 2016 10:00 AM

Speakers: Justine, Jonathan, Bisi and Kapil

Speakers: Justine, Jonathan, Bisi and Kapil

On Thursday, 4 August, Bisi Alimi Foundation finally celebrated its official UK charitable status!! We are so excited about this and all the work we could do with this new status.

With this huge step, the Foundation will gain greater recognition around the world, thus increasing our probability of success. Moreover, becoming a charity means that you, our supporters and allies, can keep track of how your financial support is used.

Indeed, we should all celebrate!!

Our official launch was a great success, thanks to our friends at Baker & McKenzie! We turned their office in London into a celebration venue. It was amazing! We had friends of the Foundation, and allies from other organisations who support our work and believe in our vision.  And let’s not forget the champagne… O’la la!

Speakers: Justine, Jonathan, Bisi and Kapil

One of our board members Kapil Gupta, opened the evening. What was so special about this is that Kapil is the Projects Information Officer at Human Dignity Trust, and he introduced our new charity and the work we do. Oh, did we mention Jonathan Cooper was also a speaker that night? He secured the Foundation’s first project funding! Yeah, he did! Justine Thompson, the Senior Inclusion & Diversity Manager at Baker & McKenzie was also there to party with Bisi Alimi, our Executive Director.

Before the drinks though, our speakers detailed the work of the Foundation and stressed its importance. Over finger snacks, they discussed both previous and future projects, and emphasized  the need for funding and general support.

UK charity status

We’re so excited about what’s to come, and we invite you to watch out for some of our new projects, including an event discussing the role of allies in eliminating homophobia in Nigeria, a report on the impacts of homophobia, a second Social Perception study of LGBT people and a training session for journalists in Nigeria.

Thank you for your continued support. We will continue to keep you updated as we strive to make Nigeria a better and safer place for LGBT people.

Staff of Bisi Alimi Foundation: Zuzana, Bisi and Nathalie

Staff of Bisi Alimi Foundation: Zuzana, Bisi and Nathalie

  

Exposing LGBT persecution in Nigeria

 Oct 23, 2015 10:00 AM

On the 22nd October 2015, The Bisi Alimi Foundation in partnership with Human Dignity Trust and All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights organised an event at the House of Commons to shine the light on the plight of LGBT people in Nigeria.

On the 22nd October 2015, The Bisi Alimi Foundation in partnership with Human Dignity Trust and All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights organised an event at the House of Commons to shine the light on the plight of LGBT people in Nigeria.

The event that was held inside the Thatcher room drew crowd from politics, media, civil societies and other interested members of the British public. The speakers for the evening included Nick Herbert, the chair of the APPG on Global LGBT, Olumide Makanjuola, Executive Director of Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs), Nigeria and Bisi Alimi, the founder and Executive director of Bisi Alimi Foundation. Bibi Bakare chaired the session.

The speakers raised the need for global partnership with Nigeria on the need to reduce the persecution of LGBT people in the country. There was also call on the British MPs with Nigerian parentage to do more in supporting the government and politicians in Nigeria through engagement, mentorship and networking activities.

In attendance were Baroness Baker and Baroness Featherstone, Nick Herbert MP, Keir Starmer MP and Chi Onwurah MP

This is a first in the series of events, Bisi Alimi Foundation will be putting together globally and locally in Nigeria to raise awareness of the increasing persecutions of LGBT people in the country.

In a 2015 survey carried by the foundation in partnership with TIER and NOI, founds that support for the Anti Same Sex Marriage Act of 2013 has dropped from 96% in 2010 to 87% in 2015. 30% of Nigerians age 16-26 years says they will accept someone they know is LGBT.

However, 90% of Nigerians still believe homosexuality is a choice and over 70% believes that LGBT people should not be allowed to have access to health.

LGBT rights at House of Commons

  

 

 
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