WIFE of the governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, has lauded the contributions of women lawyers towards improvements recorded in child and women rights in the state, the country and the continent.
She gave the commendations at the African Women Lawyers Association’s parley, held at Victoria Island, Lagos, where she was also decorated as matron and mother of the African Child. The programme was part of activities to mark the annual general meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Mrs. Ambode said children and women in Nigeria and Africa faced a brighter future because of steady progress recorded in the area of their rights.
She recalled that Lagos State was the first to pass the Child Rights Law, following the footprints of the Federal Government, adding that the state had also passed a law against domestic violence.
According to her, “Lagos State has taken proactive steps in this direction. It was the first state in the country to pass the Child Rights Law after the Federal Government pioneered the process in 2003. Under the law, children are fully protected and those who infringe on those rights are apprehended and prosecuted.
“The state also has a law in place against domestic violence. The law protects women and children from all forms of violence in the home. Through these laws Lagos State has ensured that women and children are reasonably insulated from reckless rights infringements with impunity”.
She urged the lawyers to use the parley to evolve new ways of making more progress in gender equality, women development and child welfare, stressing that no society can achieve rapid development when children and women are relegated to the background.
Also speaking, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, represented by Mrs. Abiola Soladoye, praised the contributions of the women lawyers to the growth of legal practice, urging them however, to reinvent themselves and translate their numerical strength to positive actions.
In her welcome address, President of the association, Mrs. Mandy Demechi-Asagba, noted that the group stood for the protection, promotion and presentation of the rights and interest of women and children in Nigeria and Africa, stressing that they condemned all forms of violence against women, including sexual assault, child molestation, rape, child marriage, genital mutilation, abduction and other forms of discrimination and violence against them.
She said: “The association seeks to change the course of the 21st century, addressing key challenges as inequality, poverty and violence against women and girls, and stressed that violence against women and children is at its peak and requires emergency, desperate, deliberate and purposeful action before it is consumes by all.”
The guest speaker, Mrs. Nana Oye Lithur, who noted that child marriage was a global issue, urged the Nigerian chapter of the association to take the lead in the push for new laws to protect the rights of women and the girl-child from barbaric practices.
The parley was attended by prominent women lawyers including the first woman Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Lady Folake Solanke.