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Making the Law Work for Men and Women: Advancing Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination in Nigeria’s Anti-Open Grazing Laws

Jane Ezirigwe


The realization of equality between men and women is a fundamental part of the international development agenda. This entails equal opportunities and elimination of all forms of discrimination. Discrimination can be embedded overtly or covertly in laws. Therefore, making the law work for both men and women demands an all-inclusive approach. In Nigeria, the crisis involving herders and farmers has led to the loss of lives and properties, internal displacement, and human right abuses including rape. In a bid to curb the crisis, ‘anti-open grazing’ laws have been made in some states. Most of the acts criminalized and offences prohibited were gender-neutral, despite a more embracing approach on gender sensitivity in lawmaking.
This article adopts an evaluative approach to assess inclusivity in the recent anti-open grazing laws in Nigeria. It argues that the laws covertly promote patriarchal benefits and boost hegemonic male dominance. Its aim is to reveal that gender-specific circumstances which reinforce sexual and gender-based violence against women, including rape, were ignored. This is notwithstanding the fact that the bodies of women and girls have been turned into battlefields. The study suggests that because society is not homogeneous, there is a need to reflect this diversity by updating these laws, to make them inclusive, in offering protection to women. It recommends that since equal opportunities come with equal responsibilities, the need to identify and prohibit the roles of women in the crisis becomes pertinent. This makes the laws work for both men and women, in pursuit of their agricultural endeavours

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eISSN: 2467-8392
print ISSN: 2467-8406