Nigeria’s Usiobaifo, bags U.S. Embassy 2024 “Woman of Courage” award

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By Mark Longyen

The United States Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria has conferred its 2024 Woman of Courage award on Ms. Priscilla Usiobaifo, Executive Director, Braveheart Initiative for Youth and Women (BHI), an NGO.

This is contained in a statement issued by Ms. Aishah Gambari, the spokesperson of the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to Gambari, Usiobaifo’s recognition stems from her two decades of unwavering dedication and contribution to reforming laws and dismantling socio-cultural norms which perpetuate gender-based violence in Nigeria.

Speaking at the ceremony, Gambari said that the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, Art Brown, explained that preventing all forms of gender-based violence was a cornerstone of the U.S. government’s commitment to promoting democracy and human rights.

“This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Invest in women: accelerate progress.’ I’m proud of the United States government’s longstanding investment in women.

“Together with the government of Nigeria and our local partners, we’ve made significant investments in the lives of Nigerian women and girls, particularly in health, enterprise, and ending all forms of gender-based violence.”  

“The U.S. Embassy conferred the award as part of activities celebrating the 2024 Women History Month, in keeping with the U.S. government’s commitment to recognise and celebrate individuals who are advancing gender equality and equity,” Gambari quoted Brown as saying.

She further said Brown noted that the U.S. government was working with Nigerian partners to dismantle all the barriers and impediments to gender equality.

“Ending all forms of gender-based violence requires a whole-of-society approach to address the deep-seated socio-cultural norms underlying gender-based violence in Nigeria.

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“Today, we’re delighted to celebrate and amplify the work of a woman who is a fierce advocate for women’s rights,” Gambari also quoted Brown as saying.

The Embassy spokesperson said that Usiobaifo, in her acceptance speech, thanked the U.S. Mission for spotlighting her work and pledged to do more for women and girls.

“Young women, especially those who work in rural communities, can be unrecognized because of the locality of the work that we do. But here I am today as a testament that no matter where you are and where you do your work, your work speaks, and it speaks very loudly.

“I want to see this as a spur to do more for women for girls, for children in marginalized communities in Nigeria. I hope that an award like this will inspire government to become more accountable to their citizens and to promote justice for survivors of gender-based violence in Nigeria,” Usiobaifo said.

Gambari said that Sen. Ireti Kingibe, Senate Committee Chairperson on Women Affairs, in a remark at the event, commended the U.S. Embassy for Usiobaifo’s recognition.

Kingibe added that the award would motivate other young women to continue to do their best.  

Gambari also said that Mrs. Dayo Benjamin-Laniyi, FCT Mandate Secretary for Women Affairs, congratulated Ms. Usiobaifo for her courage and reiterated FCT’s commitment to end gender-based violence.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ’Woman of Courage’ award recognises women who have taken unusual risks, surmounted significant obstacles, challenged harmful practices, and fought gender-based discrimination. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng.com)

Edited by Sadiya Hamza

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