My name is Mrs. Funmi Falana, I am a lawyer, I have passion for women rights. I have passion for the right of the children, I do also have passion for human rights, I have an organization that defends the rights of women, and we empower women who have been victims of discrimination and violence in the society. We also rehabilitate victims of domestic violence, we try to see how we can impact the life of the youth, and we have been of service to the less privilege by extending our services to the prisons in the area of legal assistance.
Funmi Falana in particular defend the right of women and children, if you want to measure her, you will associate her with the defense of the right of women and children and better condition for Nigerian women.
Our democracy is not working; the youths we were looking forward in passing the baton to are not encouraging. The love of money, violence is of dominance in their lives. It is discouraging looking at what is happening now, but we are still hopeful. Though there are societies that has passed through the stage we are passing right now, we must be hopeful, even the United State of America started somewhere before they got to the state they are presently. So, our need to proper orientation to better their lot, and the next generation.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT YOUTH AND LAWLESSNESS, DO THEY REALLY HAVE A CHOICE?
It is saddening because we thought the younger generation will do things a lot better even the politicians were no better. Fine, if we conclude that society has made them what they are, we are therefore exonerating their will power to change the society. When they identity the ills in the society they should determine to change the society, not to join the society.
So many people have pointed fingers at this administration especially at the judiciary in particular that it is very corrupt though the judiciary is an arm of the Government, if they say the judiciary is corrupt then the legislature is more corrupt. But it is unfortunate because the judiciary is supposed to be the last hope of the common man in seeking justice.
All the arms of government should be blame, but though the judiciary should be exceptionally honest and God fearing because they are like judge of the world, they should remember that there is a greater judge who would also judge them in return the way they are judging others so they should be careful the way they deal with the life of human being, that is why judges should not be corrupt.
We have been involved in this struggle for several decades; I am trying to see how we can stop the discrimination against women, all our laws both domestic and traditional lay emphasis on equality between man and woman that is what we are advocating.
A woman should be treated as a partner at home and not a subordinate, women should not be marginalize in politics and policy making, we should give women their right of place in the society, a girl child is not less important neither inferior to others there has been a lot of success in this struggle.
There is a law in the police act that says a woman in the police force must take the permission of her superior or commander before she can get married, she must bring the man before the commander, and the commander certifies that the man is okay for she to go along the wedding plans, we went to court on this basis because the men in the police force were not affected by this law, and the court said yes. It is inconsistence with the latter that the intent of the constitution section 42 of the constitution provides that right of freedom from discrimination, no citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by a reason of the circumstance of his or her birth right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
If a woman should go and bring her husband for approval this is a form of discrimination against her, because, she is entitled to her choice of marriage, so that law has been dispose/remove not only in the police but also in other paramilitary institution, so for this a woman can marry without taking permission or bringing her husband to be screened.
I am also a member of chattered institute of architect and so many other associations. Human right is basically the right guarantee to human being by virtue of law created by God, so it’s a fundamental right God gave to man. God gave you the right to live and its fundamental so all this right are there in our domestic law in chapters of our constitution. All this started internationally after the second world war, countries came under united nations, and brought out a declaration, that for human being to be able to live together without such terrible wars there should be agreement between them that such wars would no longer occurs, such that there need to be understanding and respect for individuals, for countries, between us in our interaction and relationship, so this was the first agreement amongst nations, this was how translated by law into each country’s constitution. Nigeria formulated and adopted this into our own chapter 4 of the constitution.
It contains fundamental rights of human being the need to respect each other so that we can live together irrespective of wherever we come from and who you are as a human being and citizen of the country. All this are put under the chapter 4 of the constitution which are the right to life, right to dignity, freedom from torture, right to freedom of expression, right to property, freedom from discrimination which is about ten of such, and there is chapter 2 of the constitution and this we called the second generation right, the first gave us the primary generation right, later we discovered how far we have gone beyond the first generation right, for us to respect this first generation right there must be second generation right they are also the social economic right they are under the chapter 2, that is the right of health, education, road, good government.
I would say under chapter 2 of the constitution our leaders have the duty to provide all this for the citizen such that this right guarantee to them can be respected. Under the chapter 2 the leaders have the duty to provide to the citizen but they now put a clause in the constitution that this chapter would not justiciable that you cannot take them to court base on the inability to perform this duty, and this is what we have been trying to respond to in the constitution the right for you to be able to take government to court for chapter 4, like the right to life, the right to food must be granted to me otherwise someone without access to food can die. We have foundations like the African chapter which is the regional one, the regions also form groups among themselves like the African Union and in this Unions, we have convention laws and the African Chapter which has been out under our laws as domestic’s law.
Motherhood as per my own experience, mine was peculiar, because while I was raising my children. I was entangled with my career and facing government intimidation concerning the incessant arrest and detention of my husband under the different military government of Buhari, Babangida and Abacha.
There were times, I would go to pick the children from school by the time I returned home I would meet the police with the mission of arresting my husband, sometimes I would be called in the middle of the night that my husband has been arrested and detained.
As a mother my life is divided into different parts, I would go to work but before you go to work, you have to prepare the children for school, prepare their breakfast, take them to school, go and pick them later in the day, and still return back to office to continue till evening. I would leave the office earlier especially as both of us are lawyers, in order to get home to prepare dinner, these shows the strength and vigor’s of a mother trying to keep the home, manage the man take care of the children and keep the home running.
I spend so much time in the church, I don’t have a social life aside the church, so if I am invited to a social gathering during the weekend, I may or may not attend because I consciously take time out to rest during weekends, my favorite food when I was younger was pounded yam and vegetable, but I don’t eat it often again because of old age, now my favorite food is beans and vegetables.
In Nigeria today, a lot is going on and I pray that there would be no revolution, because I am not an advocate for violence, but until these present probes on corrupt leaders, we need leaders with fresh mind and ideas who can take over from the crop of present politicians in order to sanitize the polity.
There should be public enlightenment for the youth, it is a means that would keep reminding of what is required of them, thank God for social media, but not all the news and ideas emanating from the social media are for public consumption, some are positively driven while some are negatively driven also. We need to give good orientation to take young generation. I believe God will rise up somebody that would take us to the promise land.
There was a time in my church we were interviewing people especially the youth on what they would like to become in future, the first male said he would like to become the president, the second male said he would like to become a governor, the third lady said she would like to become a medical doctor but the fourth lady amazed me by saying she would like to become of the wife of a governor, what happened to you becoming the governor yourself, why play the second fiddle, so the orientation we give to children is very important.
My advice to young women and ladies out there is not to see themselves as inferior to their male counterpart, they should rise up and take up their place in the society, they should get education, they should leave the crowd and stand out in whenever and whatsoever they put their hands in, they should compete with their male counterpart in a positive way.