Dr. Mfon Umoren Ekpootu is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. She started her journey into the academics in 198 1985 at the University of Calabar, Cross River State, where she bagged a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History with a second class upper division.. Dr. Ekpootu then proceeded for her Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Business Studies at Rivers State University of Science and Technology in 1998. In the same year, she earned her Masters of Arts (M.A) Degree in Economic History at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. In 2004, she was granted a Research Fellowship by SEPHIS International Research Fellowship (IRTP) at Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta (CSSSC), Calcutta, India which lasted from 4th January to 18th December, 2004. She then earned her Doctorate Degree (PhD) in Gender History at the University of Port Harcourt in 2008.
Dr. Ekpootu has served in various capacities at different organisations and committees where she employed her managerial and organisational expertise to advance her professional career. In 2009, she served as an Assessor at Excellence Local Government Initiative (ELGI) in Rivers State. She also served as the Ambassador for Peace at International Association for World Peace Advocates (IAWPA). From 23rd August to 26th August, 2010, she served as a member of Local Organising Committee for the International Colloquium on Slavery, Slave Trade and its Consequences, which was held in Oshogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. She was also a one-time Liaison Officer at Africa and Volunteer Services, Africa League of Legends Incorporated. In 2016, she chaired the Local Organising Committee of the 61st Historical Society of Nigeria Annual Conference in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She has also served as the National Treasurer and Financial Secretary of the Historical Society of Nigeria since 2014
As a great and prolific researcher in the academics, Dr. Ekpootu has carved a niche for herself in issues relating to gender, female sexuality and child labour. She has contributed to these fields of study by publishing articles in journals, writing contributing chapters in books and participating in local and international conferences which relate to women, children and gender mainstreaming in general. Dr, Ekpootu has a number of articles to her credit which have been published in several local and international journals. Some of her published works include:
- “The Body as a Tool: Negotiating the New Global Order by Female Youths in Nigeria” (2014) Laroussi Amri and Ramola Ramtohul (eds.) Gender and Citizenship in the Global Age, Dakar: CODESRIA (2014).
- “Contestation of Identity: Colonial Policing of Female Sexuality in the Cross River Region of Southern Nigeria” Inkanyiso Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. Volume 5, Number 1 (2013).
- “The Rafia Industry in Ikot Ekpene: A Historical Exposition” Kingsley I. Owete (ed.) An Introduction to African Culture and Technology Development (2013). University of Port Harcourt Press.
- “Major Isaac Adaka Boro as a Husband and Father: The Family Life and Temperament of the Revolutionary Icon” Stephen T. Olali (ed.) Before and Beyond the Revolution: Essays in Memory of Major Isaac Adaka Boro 10th September 1938 to 16th May, 1968. Historical Society of Nigeria and Office of the Chief Historian and Archivist, Bayelsa State. (2013).
- Interrogating Politics and Human Trafficking in Nigeria” (2012). Toyin Falola and Bridget Ieboh (Eds.) The Power of Gender, The Gender of Power: Women’s Labour, Rights and Responsibility in Africa, New Jersey: Africa World Press. (2013).
- “Getting Them Young: Child Labour in Ikot Ekpene form a Historical Perspective” Osita Agbu (ed.) Children and Youth in the Labour Process, Dakar: CODESIRA. (2009).
- “The Child Labour Debate: Another View through the Lens” AFE, Journal of Minority Studies, Volume 8, Number 1 (2006) pages 60-68.
- Fwatshak, S.U. and Ekpootu, M.U. (2005). An Assessment of Social Security and Welfare Systems in the United States since the Four Freedoms” Ejitiwu Nkpanom C. et al (eds). The American Society since the Four Freedoms. American Studies Association of Nigeria (ASAN).
- “Annang Women and Nationalism: The 1929 Women’s War Revisited” AFE Journal of Minority Studies. Volume 1, Number 1, (1997), pages 42-52.
- Aside from these publications, Dr. Ekpootu has presented papers on women, children and gender-based issues in several local and international conferences. Some of the papers she has presented include: ‘Geographies of Sexuality: The Transformation of Sexual Trade and Urban Space in Nigeria Since 1900’ Paper Presented at the 15th Annual Africa Conference on Development, Urban Space and Human Rights, University of Texas at Austin, 3 – 5 April, 2015.
- Participant, 58th/59th Annual Congress of the Historical Society of Nigeria, Nsukka 22 – 25 September 2014
- Participant HSN Colloquium on the Amalgamation and Nigeria’s Centenary, Abuja 18-20 February 2014
- “Women in Local Governance in South-South, Nigeria: Gender Mainstreaming as an Enabling Tool for Women Empowerment” Paper presented at the Historical Society of Nigeria, 1st South-South Zonal Conference on Local Government Administration in South Nigeria Landmarks, Problems and Prospects. Yenegoa, 17th August, 2013.
- “Sexualising the City: Female Prostitution in Nigeria’s Urban Centres in Historical Perspective” Paper presented at the Conference on Prostitution in World Cities, 1600 to Present. International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, 25th to 27th April, 2013.
- “Nigeria Video Films and Female Spectatorship: Deconstructing the Male Gaze” Paper presented at the 12th Annual Africa Conference on Poverty and Empowerment in Africa, University of Texas, Austin, 30th March to 1st April, 2012.
- “Interrogating Politics and Human Trafficking in Nigeria” Paper presented at the 10th Annual Conference on Women, Gender and Sexualities in Africa, University of Texas at Austin, Texas, 26th to 28th March, 2010.
- “The Body as a Tool: Negotiating the New Global Order by Female Youths in Nigeria” Paper presented at the CODESIRA Gender Symposium on Gender and Citizenship in the Age of Globalisation, 8th to 11th October, 2008 in Cairo, Egypt.
- “Prostitution in the Cross River Region in Nigeria” Paper presented at the CODESIRA Extended Social History Workshop on Gender, Ethnicity and Culture, Dakar, Senegal, 6th to 27th March, 2006.
- Participant CODESIRA Advanced Policy and Research Dialogue, Abuja, Nigeria, 17th to 18th October, 2004.
- “Getting Them Young: Child Labour in Ikot Ekpene form a Historical Perspective” Paper presented at the Workshop Children and Youth in the Labour Process, Dakar, Senegal, 4th to 29th October, 2004.
These researches conducted by Dr. Ekpootu have contributed immensely to the fields of gender mainstreaming, female sexuality, human trafficking and child labour. Years of embarking on rigorous researches and participating in numerous conferences, symposia, seminars and workshops has honed her research skills and made her an authority in her field of study. Her enthusiasm and passion for academics and researches on her fields of interest are still aflame as she is currently researching on two topics. The first is “Beyond Victims: Women and Crime in Niger Delta” which seeks to examine women’s crimes in relation to their assigned roles in the society, with particular reference to the Niger Delta. The second on-going research is titled “The Myths of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in Nigeria” which seeks to investigate the complexity and multi-faceted dimensions of commercial sex in Nigeria.
In addition to these, Dr. Ekpootu has two unpublished works which are currently undergoing review. The first unpublished work is titled “Child Labour, Women Trafficking and Forced Labour in Contemporary Nigeria” which is currently being reviewed for publication as a contributing chapter in the forth-coming volume of Groundwork of Nigerian History. The second work is titled “Sexualising the City: Female Prostitution in Nigeria’s Urban Centres in Historical Perspective” which has been submitted as part of the urban overview of prostitution in Global cities from 1600s, being a project sponsored by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
All these years of hard work and tenacity in her chosen career has earned her a position as the Senior Lecturer in the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, University of Port Harcourt where she is currently employed. Although she was formerly the Departmental Exams and Records Officer at the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies from 2008 to 2009, she currently serves as the student adviser and community cordinator in the same Department. She represents the Faculty of Humanities as the Quality Assurance and Quality Control officer. Dr Ekpootu is affiliated to several institutions; locally and internationally, some of which are: Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN); Nigeria, The Council for the Development of Social Sciences Research (CODESIRA), Dakar, Senegal; African Studies Association (ASA) United States of America. In conclusion, Dr. Mfon Umoren Ekpootu is a great researcher whose passion for research and analytical skills have been sharpened over the years by immeasurable national and international exposure in the academia.