BIO SKETCH OF JOY NGOZI EZEILO [Ph.D.(Nig.), LLM (London), LL.B. (Nig.), BL, (Lagos), Diploma Peace & Conflict Res (Uppsala)]
Joy NgoziEzeilo is a lawyer, feminist and scholar/activist. She holds a Ph.D. in Law and acquired her legal education training from both University of Nigeria and University of London, United Kingdom. She is currently the Head of Department Public and Private Law; and teaches law at the University of Nigeria (Enugu Campus). She attended the International Institute of Human Rights and the International Centre for University Teaching of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. Furthermore, she holds a diploma in gender studies and also a diploma in peace studies and conflict resolution from CODESRIA, Dakar and the Uppsala University, Sweden.
Joy Ezeilo was appointed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children in June 2008 by the Human Rights Council, Geneva. As a high Independent expert, Joy Ezeilo monitors and reports globally on the situation of human trafficking to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the General Assembly and undertakes country mission as well as receive communications/allegation letters concerning trafficking in persons and violation of human rights in connection thereto globally.
Joy Ezeilo has served Nigerian governments at both the state and federal levels in different capacities; notably as the Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Enugu State (2003-2004), and a federal delegate to the National Political Reform Conference. Recently, she was appointed by the Honourable Attorney General and the Minister for Justice to chair the Committee drafting a Bill Elimination of Violence and by the Enugu State Governor as a member of the Governing Council of Citizen’s Rights and Mediation Centre, Enuguand also, of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA). Joy Ezeilo is actively involved in the Civil Society Movement in Nigeria particularly in the areas of human rights, democracy and good governance. She is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting and protecting the human rights of women and young people. She is the Convener of the South East Women Network (SEWNET), and the founder and moderator of the West African Women Rights Coalition (WAWORC) and has under that mandate initiated the “Say No to Violence against Women and Girls Campaign” among others.
Joy Ezeilo is a recipient of the prestigious British Chevening scholarship and a grantee of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Funds for Leadership Development. She has also received several national and international awards, including the International Visitors Award of the African Studies Association, USA (2001); Peace Service Award from the African Centre for Peace & Conflict Resolution, California State University, Sacramento for her pro bono legal aid work for poor and vulnerable women and girl(April:2006); Community Service Awards from Rotary International, Soroptimist International, and the Rotaract Club; and the Outstanding Performance Award from the Ezeagu Local Government Council, Enugu State. In 2003, His Royal Highness Igwe G. Eko of Ihe installed her as Chief Ada EjiEjeMba I of Ihe and in 2004, His Royal Highness Igwe J. Nnaji conferred on her the Ochendo title for her humanitarian work in Nigeria and beyond. Recently, her LGA- Ezeagu (October 2006) and home town honoured her with two Chieftaincy titles: NNE Ezeagu and Nzebuna chi.
In 1999, Joy Ezeilo was a Fellow-in-Residence at the Humanities Research Institute, University of California, Irvine and in 2001, she was invited to the University of California, Riverside, as a Regent Professor. She has served as a consultant/trainer in human rights, gender issues, HIV/AIDS, governance and conflict resolution to many international and national organisations including National Judicial Institute (NJI), UNDP, UNIFEM, UNICEF, USAID, MACARTHUR FOUNDATION, UNFPA, ILO, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Presidency, Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (MDG Fund), CRLP (now Center for Reproductive Rights), OSIWA, CODESRIA, British Council, Global Rights, Partners for Justice (formerly International Human Rights Law Group, DFID: Security Justice & Growth (SJG), and Partnership for Transformation of Health System (PATHS), SRIP/EU, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Abuja, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Center for Democracy and Development, West Africa (CDD) etc.
She pioneered the teaching of the course, “Women, Children and the Law,” at the University of Nigeria since 1997 and also the adoption of a curriculum and the teaching of Health Law/Reproductive Rights in Nigerian Universities through her organization WACOL. She has published extensively on a variety of topics in the field of law, gender, human rights, democracy, peace and conflict resolution in Nigeria and Africa in general.
Her recent work includes: Women, Law and Human Rights: National and Global Perspectives (2011), Human Rights Documents Relevant to Women and Children’s Rights in Nigeria (2008), Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism: Some Perspectives from Nigeria and Beyond SIGNS of Women, Culture & Society, Journal Autumn 2006 issue (vol.32, no. 1) Feminism and Human Rights at Crossroads in Africa? Reconciling Universalism and Cultural Relativism (See Pages 231-252). A Chapter in the book Difference and Dialogue: Feminism Challenges GlobalizationEdited by Marguerite R. Waller and Sylvia Marcos Palgrave: Macmillan (Comparative Feminist Studies) New York, USA 2005. Also, Amazons Go to War Without Weapon: Women and the Conflict in Escravos, Niger –Delta a chapter in the Book: Wages of Empire- Neoliberal Policy Repression and Women’s Poverty Edited Amelia Cabezas, Ellen Reese and Margaret Waller (2007) Paradigm Publishers USA (Boulder/London), Chapter 14, pp. 190 – 203. Joy also co-edited the book Engendering Human Rights, Cultural and Economic Realities in Africa published by Palgrave, Macmillan (2005)and has authored over forty (40) publications including books and journal articles.
It was in recognition of her outstanding contributions to nation building in the area of legal scholarship, advocacy, civil society movement and community service that Joy Ezeilo popularly called Ochendo was conferred with the National honour of Officer of the Order of Niger (OON) by Mr. President OlusegunObasanjo (GCFR) in December 2006.
Joy Ezeilo is married to a medical doctor, Augustine EzentaEzeilo, who is the Enugu State Director of Public Health. They have three children—Chidulue, Nnenna and Onyinye.Ezeilo’s hobbies include charity work, travelling, reading and dancing.