Oby Nwankwo is a lawyer of over 30 years post call experience and holds a Masters degree in Criminal Law. After a brief stint in private legal practice Oby served in the Nigerian Judiciary for 23 years. Since her voluntary retirement from the judiciary in 2004, she has been in the forefront of the campaign for respect for women’s rights, gender equality and good governance. She is championing the domestication of CEDAW in Nigeria. She is a Human Rights activist, an independent gender and development consultant and a trainer/Facilitator. She has consulted widely for the United Nations, the African development Bank, GIZ and the Heinrich Boll Foundation. She has done extensive work in post conflict countries namely Liberia and South Sudan.
She has been involved in many research projects and authored several articles and publications on gender and women’s rights including Promoting an End to Impunity for Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in Africa presented at the Consultative Conference on International Criminal Justice organized jointly by the Hauser Centre of the Harvard University, the United Nations and Macarthur Foundation; Sept. 2009; “Current Issues on the Domestication of CEDAW in Nigeria” – Published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology – 2005; “Effectiveness of Legislation Enacted to Address Violence against Women in Nigeria” – Published at the UN DAW Website under Experts’ Meeting on Good Practices in Legislation against Violence against Women, Vienna, May 2008; Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS: Exploring the Intersection of the Twin Pandemics (2008); Affirmative Action Strategies: Perspectives from around the Globe (Eds.) Egwu Sam & Nwankwo Oby (2003); etc.
Oby has attended many courses in Law, international justice, gender, human rights, women’s rights including the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Washington College of Law, American University, U.S.A. (2003) and the Women’s Global Leadership Institute, Rutgers University, New Jersey (1999).
She is actively involved in the women’s rights movement in Nigeria. She is a past Chairperson and Project Coordinator of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA). She initiated and coordinated the FIDA Anambra state legal aid project for several years. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC) an NGO committed to the promotion of human rights, gender equality and access to justice, with offices in Abuja FCT, and three states of the Federation. On that platform, she represents Africa on the Steering Committee of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC). Oby is a member of the ICC Gender Justice Team and a past Advisory Board member of the Global Fund for Women. She is also the convener of two major coalitions: the National Coalition on Affirmative Action (NCAA) and the Coalition of Eastern NGOs (CENGOS), with membership of over 100 NGOs engaged in advocacy for the domestication of CEDAW and the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa and for increased participation of women in politics and governance in Nigeria.
Oby is one of the current 23 Experts of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva, Switzerland. She recently bagged the 2015 Women Have Wings Award, a monetary award for women of courage sponsored by the Tides Foundation in San Francisco, California, USA. The citation for the award inter alia stated: “Through working closely with the legislature, Nwankwo seeks to ensure that these landmark measures that protect and promote women and girls get integrated into policies and customs on a national and district level. This courageous work will benefit women and girls for futures to come.”