How Olivia Chinonso Ihemeson Fights for Nigeria’s Women, Children, and Environment

There are still several remote communities in Nigeria where people are not well-aware of their rights or how the law operates. Quite often, this reality puts a lot of communities at a disadvantage, and Nigerian lawyer Olivia Chinonso Ihemeson is especially concerned with the welfare of vulnerable women and children. For this reason, she committed a great deal of her law practice to upholding the rights of women and children, especially those victims of abuse and other forms of violent acts. This one is one of the continent’s exceptional ability lawyers and advocates. 

In Nigeria, children as young as seven years old are being sent to live with families as domestic help while their parents remain in the rural areas to farm. These children end up being abused by their guardians or neighbors. Out of fear, most of these children never get the justice and protection they deserve. To help these young victims, Olivia actively gets involved in campaigns to create awareness about the law and how it protects them. 

Olivia is the principal partner in the Chinonso Ihemeson & Co. general practice law firm located in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Apart from specializing in vulnerable groups and gender rights, she is also an expert in environmental law, labor laws, and real estate law. What she thought was impossible for her to achieve, having come from an underprivileged family in her home country, turned out to be her greatest calling in life. Becoming a lawyer was a long shot for someone from her family, but she was gifted with a rare opportunity to make a name for herself, and she is honoring that privilege by serving society the best way she knows how. 

“As a lawyer, I have severally partnered with non-state actors, particularly Non-Governmental Organizations, in the fight to protect and preserve the physical and human environment of oil-producing communities in Nigeria. I am very much involved in the advocacy for host communities who are the proximate recipient and immediate sufferers to be empowered economically because their environment and ecosystem have been severely impacted due to negligence and toleration of destructive practices by oil companies,” Olivia shared. 

To actively take part in relevant discussions related to the environment, Olivia has a healthy working relationship with the Mangrove Forest Conservation Society of Nigeria (MFCSN), Rural Communities Development of Nigeria (RCDA), and Grassroots Coalition for Transparency and Good Governance (GCT GG). 

“I have been involved in a lot of awareness campaigns to many impacted communities in the Niger delta regions, and we encourage them to speak out and demand that companies operating in their area should conform to best practices in oil and gas exploration/exploitation activities,” she added. 

By educating people in communities, Olivia intends to empower them to help conserve Nigeria’s rich ecosystem. Her advocacy strongly discourages bush burning, indiscriminate deforestation, and the use of poisons/explosives in fishing. 

Olivia had the privilege of starting her law career in one of the leading law firms in Nigeria, where she was able to sharpen her research and analytical skills. She also finished her degree in one of the most respected academic institutions in the country. She is proud of where she came from and draws inspiration from the things happening around her. 

“I don’t want to be limited in my profession by the mere fact that I am a woman. I am also people-oriented and love volunteer work. I want the girl child to be able to look up to me and know that it is possible to be somebody no matter your background or humble beginnings,” she said. 

There is so much to be done when it concerns bringing Nigerians to the next level, and Olivia understands the magnitude of the work that needs to be undertaken. As an advocate with Extraordinary and exceptional ability, and by making it part of her overall mission in life, she hopes to one day see a more empowered, progressive, and growing Nigeria through her contribution.



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