The Minister of Women Affairs, Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye has advocated for equal opportunities for female lawyers in Nigeria as part of measures to provide a level playing ground in the nation’s judicial sector.
She made this statement at the parley organized by the African Women Lawyers Association held in Abuja with the theme: “The Role of the Nigerian Woman Socio-Economic and Personal Development”.
According to the minister, women make up to 40 per cent of lawyers in Nigeria. She added that only four per cent of women have been conferred with the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), with only 29 female SANs out of about 690 Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
Speaking further, Ohanenye stated that evidence suggests that there are relatively few law firms owned or headed by female kawyers while only five branches of the Nigeria Bar Association are currently headed by women out of the 128 branches of the NBA across the country.
She also revealed that only six women have ever been on the bench of Nigerian’s Supreme Court, one woman has been the Chief Justice of Nigeria while two women have held sway as Presidents of the Court of Appeal.
The minister, who is also a member of the bar, sought the collaboration of the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) and also enjoined them to raise the bar in their participation, involvement and professional practice in order to change the narrative in the Judicial sector.
The AWLA Chairman in Nigeria, Mrs. Efosa Etomi in her remarks eulogised the minister for her unwavering commitment and hardwork towards the development of the country. She emphasized that the resplendent presence of Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye ignites inspiration as her journey traverses realms of empowerment, education and humanitarian acts.
Other guests who graced the occasion include Mrs. Roli Bode George, Mrs. Olivia Agbajoh, Mrs. Margeret Nwagbo, Mrs. Lolia Emakpore in addition to a cross-section of women lawyers those who came from other countries across Africa.