Day of the African Child; NAWOJ Calls For Protection Of Children

By Blessing David

As Nigeria joins the global community to mark the 2022 Day of African Child, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) calls for an end to all forms of harmful practices that affect the progress and development of Nigerian children.

NAWOJ said those issues children are facing in their daily lives as a result of harmful practices should be at the front burner, while assessing the progress made towards the protection and assistance of children who are at risk and victims of harmful practices in the country.

In a statemen signed by it’s national secretary, Helen Udofa, NAWOJ stated that it is particularly worried that in different parts of the country, several harmful practices are still being meted on children which are linked mostly to economic, social and cultural norms, which have continued to impede the full development of children.

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

It added that, more worrisome is the increasing number of rape cases and other forms of violence against children, even in states where there is the full implementation of the Child’s Rights Law, as children, including minors are constantly abused.

She noted that this year’s Day of the African Child with the theme “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practice since 2013”, NAWOJ calls on the three tiers of governments, agencies and organisations to reflect on the progress made towards the implementation of children’s rights, as well as the barriers they continue to face, with a view to ensuring full implementation of the rights of the child.

The Association stressed on the need to also reflect on what needs to be done to effectively eliminate harmful practices that affect children in Nigeria, while enjoining parents, guardians, relevant stakeholders and government to work together with a view of bringing an end to these obnoxious practices.

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

It added that all states should as a matter of national interest, establish family courts at the high and magistrate courts levels to deal with matters relating to children on pro bono basis. Adding that special protection and justice should be provided for children who are exposed to various forms of harmful practices in the country.

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