Adaora Nwajiaku

PhD Candidate
Adaora Nwajiaku photo
Dissertation Title
Canadian/Nigerian Engagements on Women’s Rights: Nature, Attainments, Problems and Prospects.

Personal and other-hand experiences as well as my early worldview led to my educational path. They shaped my general interests and framed my research topics as I pursued my first university and Master's degrees. Both theses written at these levels of schooling, dealt with the subject of gender-based violence.

My LLB thesis was dedicated to the study of domestic violence "privately" (by intimate partners), whilst my LLM thesis focused on sexual violence "publicly" (by UN peacekeepers, particularly in Africa). Now at a doctoral level, feminist themes continue to resonate throughout my work.

Interestingly, ongoing life experiences help strengthen my resolve to keep towing the path I am on- the path that strives to equate women with a full attainment of the rights that they so manifestly are entitled to.


Canada and Nigeria have a long history of bilateral relations, with Canada first engaging with Nigeria soon after the latter’s independence from Britain in 1960. They have, since then, maintained relationships of various forms -sometimes strained, usually friendly, sometimes apathetic.

For instance, Canada has been vocal about its commitment to working with Nigeria and Africa towards improving human rights situation in general, and women’s rights in particular. It has thus often criticised human rights violations in Nigeria, and in other African countries, and has condemned ‘anti-gay’ legislation that are prevalent in the region. Nigeria on the other hand, has equally lent its voice in support of the human rights of Canadians and was recently known for calling out Canada’s violations of its citizens (truckers) rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also questioned Canada's disapproval of some of the human rights violations in Nigeria. Both countries also contribute to women-oriented developmental assistance projects in each other's countries, even if to varying degrees.

With no prior in-depth studies of these past and continuing relations, and no attention to the dynamics (methods, processes, motives, forms, etc.) of these interactions, how can appropriate and better engagements be envisioned between the countries? How can mistakes be avoided or beneficial actions enhanced? The bilateral engagements stemming from these prominent yet different countries, who come from such critical world positions - Global North and South - have understated, serious implications for the people in both countries. They therefore deserve an over-due understanding of how they play out.

These matter especially when I consider the impact that the entirety of such taken-for-granted governmental interactions has on the lived experiences of Nigerian women who like most other women, already suffer multidimensional aspects of vulnerability and deprivation of rights. My research therefore explores the nature, attainments, problems, and prospects of these two-sided relations on the enjoyment of women's rights in Nigeria. I raise conversations around several theoretical considerations that are framed from international law perspectives, as well as African feminist perspectives.