Aisha was married off to a man 3 times her age in a small village in Nasarawa state when she was 13. As a child bride, she would often run away only to be dragged back to her husband’s house where she had to endure spousal rape, lashings and even the loss of her child.
About 3 years after her marriage, she had an altercation with her rival which led her to run away again. Before her return, her rival’s child fell into an open well and lost her life. When Aisha returned, she was accused of killing her step-daughter and the local security men were summoned. She was taken away to the city and handed over to the police who wrote a confessional statement for her and misrepresented her age.
When we took up her case, she had spent close to 3 years awaiting trial.
Aisha is one of the over 300 indigent pre-trial detainees who has been a beneficiary of our access to justice interventions since 2018. In addition to the injustice which is faced through trial delays. Our work is premised on the principles of human rights and human dignity with a dominant focus on supporting persons who are in contact with the criminal justice system.
Lessons from our access to justice interventions since 2018 informed our new strategic direction which applies a multi-pronged approach to bring about the change we seek. Now we provide direct support services to people behind bars while working with other stakeholders to galvanise change in Nigeria’s criminal justice system with lots of focus on corrections and police.
We believe a reformed criminal justice system is the bedrock of peace and security in our society.
We will continue to innovatively and collaboratively work with all actors to birth the change we seek to see.
To be a catalyst for sustainable correctional reforms in Nigeria and to see a more effective criminal justice system hinged on the ideals of human rights and human dignity.
Youth-led organization galvanizing for change in the criminal justice system using service delivery, data, technology adoption and evidence-based advocacy.
Human rights for all
We believe in the advancement of a just, peaceful and equitable society that puts humanity first based on the universal fundamental principles of the international humanitarian law and the human rights conventions.
We are open and accountable to the people and partners we serve, transparently sharing our results, stories and lessons. Integrity is embedded at the core of what we do. Open data and Open Justice is at the premise of our work.
We empower our direct beneficiaries to take charge of their lives irrespective of their circumstances. Our team is empowered to bring about the change we seek.
Pursuit of Excellence
We pursue excellence in everything we do.
Funke is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope Behind Bars Africa.
A graduate of law from University of Benin with a Masters Degree in Peace and Security Studies(in view). Funke has successfully represented several defendants wrongfully charged with capital crimes and misdemeanors. She is a Cornell University Centre on Death Penalty Makwanyane Fellow and has consulted for World Justice Project, Civil Society Suituation Room, Cornell University among others. She previously worked as a Programs Manager at Global Rights, an international human rights organization where she led interventions that amplified the work of grassroot advocates across Sub-saharan Africa.
Funke has an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Lagos Business School. She is a 2022 Fellow of the Rhize Global Coaching Fellowship, a 2022 Innocent Chukwuma Social Impact Fellowship and a One Young World Ambassador. In 2019 she graduated from LEAP Africa’s Social Innovators Program. In 2020, she was listed by Attic London as one of the lawyers changing the world for the better.
Samson Ojodomo Onuche
Legal Team Lead/Coordinator Hope Behind Bars Africa Kano State.
Samson, holds a Bachelor Degree in Law (LLB) from Kogi State University and a Barrister at Law (BL) from the Nigeria Law School Abuja. He is also a Master’s Degree Candidate in Public Laws (LLM) from Bayero University Kano. Samson is a Certified Professional Negotiator and Mediator (PNM) and a Dispute Management Analyst.
Samson has successfully demonstrated passion over the years in providing free Legal services for indigent and vulnerable persons interfacing with the Nigeria Criminal Justice System. His training has equipped him with the needed skills in Dispute Management, Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution in criminal Cases.
Samson has participated in several project aimed at reforming the Criminal Justice System in Nigeria. As a Coordinator and Legal Team Lead of Hope Behind Bars Africa, Kano, he has led several Correctional Centres Decongestions Projects. His advocacy has led him to author several International and Local Academic papers on the Rights of Pre-trial Detainees, Child Rights Protection, Press freedom and Clinical Legal Aid.
Igwebuike Rebecca Adanso is a Legal practitioner who have been in active legal practice for the past 9years
She is the Principal partner in Adanso Legal Consult and Dynasty Spectra
She has built a well over 9 years experience in providing business solutions, legal compliance and driving business goals for organizations.
She is also an MBA holder from Ahmadu Bello University with speciality in Human Resource Management. For the past 4 years she has worked with organizations to recruit, built and manage motivated workforce that drives business goals.
She has also been part of conversations bothering on personal development, recruitment and human resource management at radio and online platforms.
Legal Coordinator, Edo State Lead
Emmanuel Okorie is a graduate of the University of Benin, Benin City, Edo. He is the Principal Partner at Loisa & Korie LLP. He is also the Head of Legal and the Edo State Coordinator of Hope Behind Bars Africa (HBBA).
His practice focuses on Esports, Sports Law, Tech, Tax, and Criminal Litigation.
He has represented over 120 indigent persons and secured the release of over 150 persons from the Nigerian Correctional Centers and other detention facilities. He provided free legal services to persons who were arrested during the Endsars Protests in October 2020 and tried at the various Mobile Courts in Benin City, Edo State.
As an active criminal litigation lawyer, he has in various workshops and training facilitated and presented specialised topics in criminal litigation aimed at building the capacity of young human right lawyers in Nigeria.
He also serves on the Board of the Police Duty Solicitors Scheme (PDSS), Edo State.
As the Programme Officer of PDSS, he participated actively in the release of suspects unjustly detained in various Police formations within Edo State.
As an active human right lawyer, Emmanuel Okorie is currently a member of the Human Rights And Extortion Committee set up by the Commissioner of Police, Edo State.
As a researcher, he has written and submitted articles on Sports Law and Betting to reputable Journals.
Emmanuel Okorie is committed to providing access to justice to indigent and vulnerable persons in our society who have been under varying degrees of incapacitation.
Abiola serves as a Research and Communications Intern under Hope Behind Bars Africa.
Abiola is a final year student of Law in the University of Abuja. She previously volunteered with Hope Behind Bars Africa in 2021 before her commitment and skillset earned her the role of a Research and Communications Intern.
As a part of the Core team of Hope Behind Bars Africa, she contributes her writing, research and communications skills to the work being done at the organisation.
Abiola currently serves as the Clinic Head of the University of the Abuja Law Clinic. She oversees the successful implementation of the projects under the Clinic by working with the Directorates under the Clinic. Most prominent of her duties under the Clinic is overseeing the implementation of the Reforming Pre-trial Detention in Nigeria (RPDN) Project, which provides access to justice to indigent and unjustly incarcerated inmates.
Abiola is also a member of Initiative for Legal Literacy and Education alias LawyerUp Initiative and My Intellectual Property Law Guide. She has successfully held many leadership roles within and outside her University.
Zakari Emmanuel Maikalma
Campaign and Mobilization
Zakari Emmanuel Maikalma is a Social Development Goals (SDGs) campaigner and a creative ‘Artvocate’, passionate about Social Justice with a work background that revolves around the Non-profit space, leadership, Content creation, Volunteering, and Brand Storytelling. Zakari is a firm believer in cross-cultural dialogue as a means to foster national unity. He uses the art of Spoken word poetry to articulately rant for a new Nigeria.
Currently, Zakari works as the Campaign and Mobilization lead, Hope Behind Bars Africa.
Zakari holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Abuja. An author, keen on bridging the gap between Gender inclusion, feminism, and active youth participation. This zeal led him to publish his first book, titled; The Autopsy (A Poetic Compendium), which was recognized by book for Peace award, 2020 in Rome, Italy. He is the Mobilization lead, ARTvocacy Movement. A creative youth-led movement that uses art as a tool to influence Nigerians to be socially conscious and active citizens.
Zakari is also a fellow at Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Open Mind Young Voices (OMYV) program, and a Street Project Foundation Ambassador.
Grace Okeke Eche is a Feminist and Changemaker who aspires to empower women and girls living in underserved populations to live abundant lives.
A graduate of Philosophy from University of Calabar with a certificate in Non-profit Leadership and Management from Lagos Business School as a Ford Foundation Scholar. Grace has led several interventions promoting livelihood for marginalised women and girls through her work. She is an SDGs awardee 2022.
Currently, Grace manages the operations of Hope Behind Bars Africa where she specifically leads interventions that promote access to justice for incarcerated women.
Winnie Ishaku, Programs officer for legal empowerment and open justice Hope Behind Bars Africa.
A graduate of law from University of Abuja.
Winnie has over four years experience in human rights and policy advocacy.
She was selected to participate in the Human Rights Youths Boot Camp (in Ghana) 2018 organized by Amnesty International Ghana and also a participant in the Climate Justice School 2022.
2019 Annual Impact Report
2020 Annual Impact Report
2019/2020 Audited Financial Statement
Funds for Global Human Rights. The Pollination Project. Subomi Plumptre Trust
Cornell University Centre on Death Penalty. Namati. Accountability Lab.ICSIF. LEAP Africa. National Human Rights Commision. Europa de. Nigerian Correctional Service. Unleash Plus. Civichive.