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CRC@30: ‘Nigeria still grappling with implementation of laws protecting women, girls’

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Senate re-Introduces South West Development Commission BillBy Chioma Obinna

With six out of every 10 Nigerian children experience some form of violence according to the Violence Against Children, VAC, report, a legal practitioner and Chairperson, Child Protection Chairperson Cross River State, James Ibor has decried the poor implementation of laws protecting children, women and girls against any forms of violence.

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According to Ibor, who spoke during a  Two-Day Media Dialogue in Ibadan, Oyo State on “End Violence Against Women and Girls in Nigeria”, 20 years after Nigeria passed the Child Rights Act, CRA, into law, the implementation is still less than 20 per cent.

The Human Rights advocates who noted that VAC report by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, revealed that Nigeria has six out of 10 children experience violence said statistics worldwide have shown that Nigeria is topping the chart for abuses against women and girls.

“We have positive legislations that support the protection of women and children. For instance, we have the Violence against Person Prohibition Act (VAPP) Act, in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, the implementation is less than five per cent because we still have cases of violence being reported but little or nothing is done about them.

“We have the Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW, which was frustrated in the National Assembly because men feel it is their rights to acquire women and batter or devalue them whenever they like. Implementation of these laws is very poor, we need the media to give it the right slants and angles so that we will be angry enough to end this evil call violence against women”

He further stressed the need to educate political office holders as some of them actually mean well but lack the right information.

“We have a situation where most men in position, do not see anything bad about gender inequality. We have a duty to educate them on the implication of this evil against women and girls.”

Speaking, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Olasunbo Odebode stressed the need to sensitise the public on the need to end violence against women and girls.

Odebode maintained that the discrimination and stigmatization of survivors must stop.  She said people must come to the realization that they should not keep quiet because keeping quiet will make the perpetrators continue.

Odebode further urged the government to create an enabling environment so that the laws already in place are implemented and acted upon.

On the contribution of international donors, she explained that to tackle violence against women and girls in Nigeria, the United Nations and the European Union (EU) are partnering to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and all harmful practices in support of the 2030 agenda on Sustainable Development.

She disclosed that the EU-UN donated $40million to support the spotlight initiative for four years in six states in Nigeria, adding that Adamawa, Ebonyi, Cross River, Lagos, Sokoto and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were chosen due to the burden of violence against women and girls reported from these states.

To achieve this the goal, the child protection Specialist said six comprehensive approaches were developed and they are legislation and policy framework, institutional capacity building, prevention and social norms, delivery of quality services by health professionals, data availability and capacities and supporting the woman movement.

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On the six pillars, Odebode noted that they are interrelated and when it is holistically tackled, the target of ending violence against women and girls would be achieved.

“So the idea is to attack it from different directions so that it can have a direct impact. We need to create sensitization in the mind of people and the society at large and also to disabuse the mind of people against discrimination and stigmatization.  We need to create awareness because people need to speak out. It goes beyond the way the people are dressed. Every woman and girls must be free from violence that is the essence of this workshop.

She encouraged victims to speak out in order to get the justice they deserved.


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