A lecturer of faculty of Law, Imo State University, Owerri, Chigoziri Ojiaka, has raised an alarm over escalating trend of exploitation, discrimination and sexual abuse of children in sub-Sahara Africa.
She noted that the unhealthy development had become a serious obstacle to full development and survival of children.
In a paper delivered at a one-day sensitisation workshop titled ‘Sexual Abuse of Children in Nigeria: The effect,’ Ojiaka noted that the vulnerability of children arises from a high probability of exposure to different grades of risks and a reduced capacity for their protection.
The workshop on sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria was organised by the Nigeria Police in collaboration with CLEEN Foundation in Owerri.
The university lecturer said in sub-Sahara Africa, millions of children are faced with problems of exploitative labour, sexual abuse, servitude, discrimination, physical and psychological abuse, pornography and prostitution.
She therefore, urged all stakeholders, including community and religious leaders, proprietors of schools and governmental agencies, to join hands in the crusade against the menace of Child Sexual Abuse, adding that outdated laws should be reformed to conform to global best practices.
She also advised victims/ survivors and family members to break the silence by reporting the crime, while special police unit should be empowered to protect children from abuse.
National President of Police Officers’ Wives Association, POWA and wife of the Inspector General of Police, Mrs. Agharase Arase, represented by the Imo State chairperson of the association, Mrs. Wunmi Lakanu, regretted that the spate of both reported and non-reported incidence of sexual and gender-based violence, SGBV, in society had become worrisome and required collective efforts to salvage.
Arase recalled that several national and international conventions had condemned the upsurge of sexual and genderbased violence in society but which had unfortunately remained unabated.
She therefore enjoined parents and concerned stakeholders to join hands with all relevant governmental and nongovernmental agencies to remedy the situation, adding that POWA had continued to make useful contributions towards the elimination of sexual abuse and gender violence in the country.
Chairperson-International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, Imo State chapter, Mrs. Ogechi Echebima, dwelling on the “Legal perspective, of Women and Children Rights in Nigeria,” listed the rights of the child to include Municipal law, International Instruments on the Rights of the child, legislative framework protecting women’s rights in the country in addition to the international legal framework/ convention protecting the rights of women.
Executive Director, Development Dynamics, Dr. Jude Ohanele, also spoke on the topic titled, Violence Against Persons (Prohibition), WAPP bill, an advocacy tool in curbing SGBV in Nigeria.
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