Founder, WACOL
Founder, WACOL

Founder, WACOL

Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Ph.D. (Nig.), LLM (London), LL.B. (Nig.), BL, Diploma, Peace & Conflict Res (Uppsala). She is an activist and versatile legal scholar recognized as a leading authority in the field of human rights, especially on the rights of women and children in Africa. She teaches Law at the Department of Public and Private Law, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria and pioneered, since 1997,  the teaching of the Course, “Women, Children and the Law”  making her Faculty and University the first to do so. She was appointed in 2008 as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children, and served in that capacity globally until July 31st 2014. She was appointed in December 2013 by the UN Secretary General as a member of the Board of Trustees UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking. She is also the founding director of WomenAid Collective (WACOL), a national organization that promotes human rights of women and young people. She was a former Commissioner for Gender and Social Development, Enugu State, a federal delegate to the National Political Reform Conference and currently served also as a member of the Governing Council, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA). Joy Ezeilo is a recipient of the prestigious British Chevening scholarship (1995) and a grantee of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Funds for Leadership Development (1998). She has also received several national and international awards, including being conferred with the national honour of Officer of the Order of Niger (OON) in 2006 by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) in recognition of her outstanding contributions in the area of nation building, legal scholarship, advocacy, civil society movement and community service. Dr. Ezeilo is a visiting professor to several universities, especially in North America and a regent Professor, University of California, Riverside (2001). As a legal practitioner, barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, she takes on human rights cases on a pro bono basis, representing poor and vulnerable women and young people. She has delivered public lectures around the world on human rights, human trafficking, gender, peace, democracy and good governance, and has published extensively in similar areas of law. She has served as a consultant/trainer in human rights, gender issues, HIV/AIDS, governance and conflict resolution to many international and national organizations, including National Judicial Institute (NJI), UNDP, UN Women, UNICEF, MacArthur Foundation, UNFPA, ILO, DFID, EU, etc.

In April, 2013 she was recognized by Newsweek/Daily Beast International Magazine, USA as one of the 125 women of impact in the world for her work, especially in combating human trafficking–a modern day slavery.  Joy Ngozi Ezeilo is high Chief in Igboland and she’s popularly called – triple Chief, that is Ochendo, Ada eji eje mba, and Nze bu na chi.

Joy Ezeilo is currently on sabbatical as a research professor at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS).


Ms. Mary Idris Abubakar

Ms. Abubakar earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (Nigeria) in 1983 and in 2001 received an M. A. from the University of East Anglia, Norwich (UK) in gender analysis and development. She is a founding member of Women in Nigeria (WIN) and served the organisation in various leadership positions including National Coordinating Secretary), Chairperson of the WIN/HBF Rural Women Cooperative Project, and Regional Director of Rural Women Empowerment (RUWEM), North-East. For over twenty years, she has worked tirelessly on women’s issues, particularly the reproductive health and rights of women.

Professor Bolanle Awe

Professor Awe was educated at the Girls’ School, Lagos; St. Anne’s School, Ibadan; Perse School for Girls, Cambridge (UK); and Oxford University (UK). She is currently the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Professor Awe taught history and women’s studies at the University of Ibadan. She was a research professor of African history at the Institute of Africa Studies, and the founding director of the Women’s Research and Documentation Centre (WORDOC) at the University of Ibadan. For several years, she served as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation representative in Nigeria. A highly respected authority on Nigerian women, Professor Awe’s work has received national and international recognition, one of which was the 1999 Oodua Excellence Award for scholarship and public service.Although she has retired from university service, she continues to conduct research and serve her country in many capacities.

Professor Obioma Nnaemeka:

A multilingual, widely travelled scholar, cultural worker and social reformer, Dr. Obioma Nnaemeka is a full Professor of French, Women’s Studies, and African/African Diaspora Studies and Director of the Women’s Studies Programme (2000-2003) at Indiana University, Indianapolis. She studied at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Nigeria), the former Université de Dakar (Senegal), Université de Grenoble (France), and the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) where she earned an M.A and a Ph. D with distinction. She is the founder and current President of the Association of African Women Scholars (AAWS) and the List Administration of an internet discussion group on gender issues in Africa and the African Diaspora (AFWOSCHO). Professor Nnaemeka has received numerous national and international awards and delivered over one hundred keynote addresses and lectures in over thirty countries. Author/editor of eleven books and over sixty scholarly articles, Professor Nnaemeka has published extensively in the following areas: women’s/gender studies, African studies, human rights, literature, cultural studies, and global studies.

Justice Regina Obiageli Nwodo

Justice Nwodo earned a Bachelor’s degree in law (LL.B Hons) from the University of Middlesex (UK) in 1982, and a Master’s degree in law (LLM) from the London School of Economics in 1990. She was appointed a magistrate in 1985 and has since then held several positions in the judiciary including Chief Magistrate Grade II, Deputy Chief Registrar (Enugu State High Court) and Judge of the Federal High Court (Port Harcourt). She has many law-related publications to her credit and belongs to numerous national and international organisations.

Ms. Joy Ukamaka Ogbazi

Joy Ogbazi studied in the 1980s at Iowa State University, Ames (USA), where she earned a B.Sc. degree in community and regional planning and an M.Sc. in international development. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Nigeria (Enugu Campus). Ms. Ogbazi has over fifty journal articles and chapters in books and conference proceedings. She is a grantee of the Fund for Leadership Development programme of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She is an honorary member of the Women’s Advisory Board of the American Biographical Institute.

Professor Cyprian Okechukwu Okonkwo, SAN

Professor Okonkwo is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and the longest serving law professor in the Nigerian university system. He is not only an accomplished scholar and a master teacher who has taught and mentored numerous law graduates but also one of the greatest legal minds in the country. His academic record is yet to be broken at his alma mater, the University of Manchester, where he earned an LLB (First Class Honours) and an LLM. His long list of excellent publications has benefited the legal profession where he is often cited and in universities where his works are required readings for law courses. He is currently a member of the Nigeria Law Reform Commission and also the SJG/ DFID, Chairperson of Justice SectorState Reform Team, Enugu State.

Dr. Jerry O. Ugwuanyi

Dr. Ugwuanyi holds a B.Sc. degree from the University of Nigeria (Nsukka). Armed with a Commonwealth scholarship, he continued his studies in the Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology at the University of Strathclyde, where he earned a Ph.D. Dr. Ugwuanyi is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Microbiology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He has published scholarly works on food microbiology and fermentation. Although a seasoned scientist, Dr. Ugwuanyi is well informed and actively engaged in discourses on political economy.

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