Julie Okoh Abah: A Champion for Women’s Rights and Social Justice
Julie Okoh Abah is an environmental activist and female compere from Benue State, Nigeria. She is a passionate advocate for women’s rights and social justice and has spoken out against rape and other forms of violence against women.
In this interview, she bares it all about her struggles with rape cases and social injustice and discusses her work to help other women who have experienced similar trauma.
She is a powerful and inspiring voice for women’s rights, and her story is sure to resonate with anyone who is passionate about creating a more just and equitable world.
In a world clearly dominated by men, what motivated you to become an event Compère?
In life, we all have that tinge of what we actually are on the inside. I have always wanted to be an entertainer as a growing child, but during my growing years, it’s unheard of that you are not aspiring to be a doctor, a lawyer, or nurse but an entertainer, it skipped me then. I knew I had it so when the opportunity came, I grabbed the microphone. I just didn’t see men in 2007 when I started, I just saw me doing my thing. In a nutshell, I can say it was a passion
You have been spotted many times working as an environmental and gender activist. What has it been like?
Passion for humanity getting things done right standing up to the ills of society and speaking about them. I come from a coal mining community and yes, the people have coal but no royalties for what the company was taking and I didn’t want a repeat of Ogoni land so with that knowledge, I took up the fight, and thanks to social media we are here. For Gender, every woman needs a voice to speak where she cannot speak and I made myself available. It has not been easy working in these areas especially defending the girl child victims of molestation.
Can you describe your challenges as a woman in these roles?
Our judicial system especially, has been a challenge. You find a clear case of child rape and abuse; you follow up and you are frustrated with back-and-forth adjournment. It’s a huge challenge. As I speak, over 14 rape cases from spot to court no judgment, and all culprits walking free on the streets. But all the same, we keep pushing. I have used social media to raise awareness and it’s getting attention from some partners especially; I have a partner Global Initiative for Food Preservation and Ecosystem Protection GISEP they have been very helpful.
Would you like to highlight some of the most pressing environmental and gender issues facing Nigeria today?
The Environmental issues are Carbon emissions from fossil fuels. Secondly, the Mining Act has no provision for mining communities to benefit. If you must mine, give the host communities basic amenities to ease their lives. You can be making so much from deposits of solid minerals and all the people see are machines and the sounds of blast of rocks and mountains. Women are at the receiving end of all malfunctions of our society be it crisis or out of crisis.
What are some of the successes that you have achieved in your work as an environmental/gender activist?
Wow… successes have been huge to some extent with aid from partners, we gave the women market money up to 50,000 naira per woman and we formed them into corporative societies and we are seeing results. Then we have gone further to campaign for renewable energy using solar. We distributed to 65 households in Owukpa mining community in Benue state.
What are your hopes and goals for the future of environmental and gender activism in Nigeria?
My hope is Nigeria as a country should begin to migrate towards adaptation to climate change. I want to be able to mobilize communities affected by resilience to a changing climate and also to conserve our Ecosystem. People need to be aware of what climate change is about and its effects.
If you were to advise other women who are interested in becoming like you in the future what would you tell them?
Women, I tell them to check within themselves there is something they can do to improve and impact themselves and their community and generation.