Joe Okei-Odumakin

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Joe Okei-Odumakin
Josephine Obiajulu Odumakin.jpg
Josephine Obiajulu Okei

(1966-07-04) July 4, 1966 (age 55)
Zaria, Kaduna, Nigeria
OccupationWomen's rights activist

Josephine Obiajulu Okei-Odumakin is a Nigerian women's rights activist. She is the president of the human rights groups, Women Arise for Change Initiative and the Campaign for Democracy.

Early life[edit]

Odumakin was born in Zaria, Kaduna on the 4 July 1966 and she grew up in a Roman Catholic household.[1]


She received a bachelor's degree in English Education in 1987, followed by a master's in Guidance and Counseling and doctorate in History and Policy of Education from the University of Ilorin.

Activism and arrest[edit]

She has frequently been arrested for her activism, detained 17 times during the military rule of Ibrahim Babangida[2]

She was involved with over 2,000 cases where a woman's rights had been disregarded. The cases included extrajudicial killings of women or their husbands by the police. The rights of their children were also ignored by the Nigerian school or even hospital authorities.[3]


In 2013, Odumakin was presented an International Women of Courage Award from the United States Department of State.[4] The award was made by Michelle Obama and John Kerry at the US State Department's Dean Acheson Auditorium in celebration of International Women's Day.[3] In the year 2019, Dr Odumakin facilitated the training of participants at the 10th Civil Society Organisation Professionalism, Effectiveness and Therapy (CSO-CPET) Workshop themed Mobilising Women for Change. The training is bi-annual, and it is aimed at building capacity and promoting excellence among civil society groups, inspiring and driving professional ethics in the business operations of CSOs and creating new solutions to the prevalent challenges faced by private organisations.[5]


Being the executive director of the Institute of Human Rights & Democratic Studies; the founding president of Women Arise for Change Initiative; the chairman of the Task Force of the Citizen Forum; the president of the Centre for Change in Community Development & Public Awareness; the president of the Centre for Participatory Democracy; and spokesperson for the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria, she is also recognised as a courageous fighter whose consistent challenge against human rights abuses has exposed her to harrowing experiences under the most repressive regimes Nigeria has ever witnessed.[6]


She was married to Peter Yinka Odumakin.


  1. ^ Dapo Akinrefon; Charles Kumolo (April 13, 2013). "17 times in detention, Joe Okei-Odumakin opens up: I met my husband in prison". Vanguard. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  2. ^ Dapo Akinrefon & Charles Kumolu. "17 times in detention, Joe Okei-Odumakin opens up: I met my husband in prison". Vanguard. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b Woman of Courage Award, 11 March 2013, Retrieved 3 February 2016
  4. ^ "2013 International Women of Courage Award Winners". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  5. ^ "2019 CSO-CPET workshop sponsored by Access Bank". CSR-in-Action. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  6. ^ Hallmarks of Labour foundation. "Dr. Josephine Obiajulu Okei-Odumakin". Hallmarks of Labour foundation. Retrieved 17 February 2017.