The war on African women is supported by foreign activists, with no regard for our lives
I know what life is like when access to sexual and reproductive services is limited. In Nigeria and across the continent, this must end now.
1 November 2019
In May, police officers raided a Marie Stopes clinic in Lagos, Nigeria’s capital. Witnesses said the officers harassed patients and accused them of illegally accessing confidential documents. It was the latest in a string of attacks against groups that support women’s reproductive rights. Nigerian feminists, women’s rights campaigners and LGBTIQ+ activists came together on social media to ask, “what is going on?”. A consensus was reached: there is a strategic effort to undermine our sexual and reproductive health and rights, with women’s bodies a key battleground.
Nigeria’s patriarchal conservatism is hardly news; women, girls and queer folks in this country are regularly and legally denied autonomy, the rate of sexual violence is high, while sexual and reproductive healthcare is extremely limited. Nigeria accounts for more than 10% of global maternal deaths, despite representing only 2.5% of the global population, and a 2013 study showed that only 16% of Nigerian women of reproductive age (15-49) have access to, and use, contraception.