Betty Abah is a women and children’s rights advocate. Over the years, she has carved a niche for herself for securing justice for the oppressed in the Nigerian society, mostly women and girls. She is also a journalist having practised in Nigeria namely at Newswatch and TELL Magazine and at the Rocky Mountain News as a Fellow of the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships (2006),
winning several local and international awards.
Abah founded the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE- HOPE), a non-profit working for the rights and development of marginalised young people, especially girls as a response to wide-spread violations of the rights of young people across Nigeria. She obtained a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Calabar (1999) and an MA in Literature in English from the University of Lagos (2012). She worked with the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria where she headed the women’s campaign desk and coordinated projects on women’s environmental rights across the Niger Delta region and the African sub-region. Abah’s journalism and later, activism, has won her several local and international awards including the Nigeria Media Merit Awards, Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, Red Ribbon Awards for HIV Reporting, Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting etc. Her international awards and fellowships include the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships, USA, the John Knight Health Reporting Fellowship, USA, the Kaiser Family Foundation Fellowship, USA Global Tobacco Control Leadership Program Scholar (Johns Hopkins/Bloomberg School of Public Health), Johns Hopkins University, Women of the World Unite Award, USA etc.
Over the years she has immersed her herself in fighting several social justice causes prominent among them being #BringBackOurGirls Ese Oruru, #JusticeForEjigbo3, #JusticeForOchanya. In October 2019, she edited a book documenting the unprecedented campaign (Ochanya). Her work in the engagement and development of thousands of young people in informal communities especially Makoko, the popular Lagos fishing community, has been the subject of several major local and international media reports and documentaries. Over the years, CEE- HOPE has spread its operational tentacles to Ogun, Plateau, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Benue and others.
In 2017 she was named one of the 100 most impactful Nigerians in the inaugural YNaija #WOKE100 Awards. The same year she gave a TEDx Talk at the TEDx Surulere women event in Lagos on teenage pregnancy. In 2019, Leading Ladies Africa listed her as one of ‘100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria’ and USA-Nigeria Law Group named her ‘Anti-Corruption Woman of the Year’ in their Courage Awards category. She was awarded a Visiting Fellow (Human Rights Defenders Fellowship) at the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York, England in the 2019/2020 session.
Abah has authored six books including Go Tell Our King (poetry), Sound of Broken Chains (poetry), and Mother of Multitudes (biography).