International Day of African Child: NAWOJ advocates end to abuse against children

The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), has called for an end to all forms of harmful practices that affect the progress and development of Nigerian children.

The call is contained in a statement by the association s National Secretary Helen Udofa on Thursday in Ibadan as Nigeria joins the global community to mark the 2022 International Day of the African Child.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme for the day is Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children Progress and Policy Since 2013.

Udofa stated that NAWOJ was particularly worried about harmful practices against Nigerian children happening in different parts of the country. She added that several harmful practices are still being meted out to children in this 21st century.

“These practices, which are linked mostly to economic, social and cultural norms, have continued to impede the full development of children.

“NAWOJ is concerned that in spite of the Child Rights Act 2003 in place, cases of child marriages, female genital mutilation, child labour, physical abuse, trafficking, forced labour, rape and other forms of sexual abuses and stigmatisation are still pervasive in different parts of the country.

“More worrisome is the increasing number of rape cases and other forms of violence against children, even in states where the Child Rights Act had been domesticated; including minors constantly being abused.”

The NAWOJ scribe added that the association wanted government at all levels to adopt stronger measures to protect children.

She stated that “today, we call on governments at all levels to take stock of what has been done with regards to the adoption of policies and practices, and to reflect on what more needs to be done to effectively eliminate harmful practices against children.

“We enjoin parents, guardians, other stakeholders and government to work together with a view to bringing an end to these obnoxious practices, by intensifying efforts in ensuring that the rights of children are protected.

“NAWOJ calls for stiffer penalties on perpetrators of these harmful practices, who are liable under the Child’s Rights Law, as a deliberate effort toward saving our children and making the society fit for them

“We also want to call on states to establish family courts at the high and magistrate court levels to deal with matters relating to children on pro bono basis.

“In the same vein, special protection and justice should be provided for children who are exposed to various forms of harmful practices in the country”.