Theme “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour”.
To commemorate this year’s International Day Against Child Labour FIDA Nigeria joins the call for increased investment in creating systematic social protection policies and programs which protect the child against all forms of labour.
With the efforts and strategies put in place by UNICEF to fight against Child Labour, in its 2021 report on Children Protection, “the number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years – with 9 million additional children at risk due to the impact of COVID-19.
It is estimated that without mitigation strategies, the number of children in child labour could rise by 8.9 million in the world by the end of 2022, due to higher poverty and increased vulnerability.
The resultant effects of heightened poverty in our communities on already vulnerable children and their families is inextricably linked with rising levels of homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, inadequate childcare, lack of access to health care, unsafe neighbourhoods, and under-resourced schools which forms a basis of child labour.
Although the Nigerian Government has in the past made moderate advancements in efforts to eliminate child labour, it has not been effective enough, even with the hiring by Government of over 400 new labour inspectors and with the enactment of the National Social Behavioural Change Communication Strategy for Elimination of Child Labour in Nigeria (2020–2023).
Children in Nigeria are therefore subjected to the worst forms of child labour which we must collectively aggressively work to stop.
• Children hawking on the streets rather than being in school
• Children forced to work as farm hands, housemaids, quarrying granite, artisanal mining, commercial sexual exploitation, slavery or similar practices
• Child trafficking in all ramifications whether for drug production and sale or other illegal acts, including debt bondage
• Forced recruitment into armed conflict
• Hazardous work that can cause injury or moral corruption.
FIDA calls for suitable and adequate Social Protection measures to therefore be put in place to end Child Labour or indeed strategically reduce child labour in our communities such as:
• Increased access and support to ensure children can attend and stay in well-equipped schools
• Well laid out and properly implemented plans to improve economic growth in communities, particularly at the grassroots levels
• Improved and impactful social support measures to aid the vulnerable, accessible directly by them without too many technicalities
• Low-cost housing accommodation built for the vulnerable in communities to provide shelter at minimal rates
• Government-owned safe spaces/homes for vulnerable children should be increased and made very conducive for the children
• Working diligently to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
• All key Stakeholders must take their legal and social responsibilities seriously; government must effectively guard the system and promptly punish defaulters to serve as a deterrent
If the above is effectively implemented, it will ensure a protective and conducive environment for the best development of the child
Furthermore, the Child’s Right Act has been adopted by only 25 out of Nigeria’s 36 States, leaving the remaining 11 states in northern Nigeria with legal statutes that do not meet international standards for the prohibition of child trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and illicit activities. It is important that all states address issues concerning their laws and legal framework
It is additionally worrisome and pertinent to note that the minimum age for work in the Labour Act does not apply to children who are self-employed or working in the informal economy. This calls for an urgent action to be taken to address some of the real challenges faced and the gaps in the system which enable child labour
With the grave security challenges all around the country, children are forced out of their burnt/ destroyed homes and communities; displaced such that they must take refuge in an IDP camp where as young as 8 years of age, a child ends up as head of his home forced to fend to provide for their surviving families. This trend must STOP!
As we mark the World Day Against Child Labour 2022, we stress that the battle to protect that child concerns everyone because children are the leaders of tomorrow, we must deliberately shield and protect, educate and empower our children to be the best they can be
Mrs. Amina Suzanah Agbaje
Country Vice President/National President
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) led by her International Director, Ezinwa Okoroafor recently hosted a night out with FIDA International Historian and Country Vice President (CVP) of FIDA Cameroon, Gladys Mbuya in Abuja. Gladys was accompanied by Ramatu Abdu, Coordinator of the Association for the Welfare of Women and Indigenous People of ASOWWIP Cameroon.
The fun-filled evening was graced by past Regional Country Vice Presidents of FIDA, Chief Mrs. Victoria Awomolo, SAN, and Barr. Mrs. Oby Nwosu., the CVP of FIDA Nigeria, Mrs. Amina Suzanah Agbaje, CVP Emeritus Rhoda Prevail Tyoden, past FIDA Nigeria Financial Secretary, Ijeoma Agwu, Chair of FIDA Abuja, Chibuzo Maureen Nwosu, past FIDA Abuja Branch Chairs Ngozi Ikenga and Rekia Rachael Adejo-Andrew, past branch Vice-Chair, Ozioma Izuora, Past PRO Chioma Onyenucheya-Uko, other members of the branch, Roseline Tasha and Lillian Okenwa, Editor-in-Chief, Law & Society Magazine.
Source: Lillian Okenwa
FIDA Condemns the Sporadic Shooting and Horrific Massacre of Innocent Worshipers at the St. Francis Catholic Church Owo, Ondo State
Another bloody weekend in Nigeria where yet again innocent citizens, this time worshipers in church on a Sunday are in broad daylight gunned down by unknown gunmen for no just cause, resulting in the great loss of many lives while leaving several others wounded, not to mention the wanton destruction of property and breach of peace at a place of supposed sanctuary and refuge where worshipers assemble
The government, its agencies and officials cannot continue to pay lip service to the terrible plight of Nigerian citizens when they are sworn to protect and defend them. We are tired of hearing government’s excuses and condemnation of the evil activities of criminals. We demand decisive action from them
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria continues to strongly condemn the inhumane treatment of Nigerian citizens who now live in abundant fear and cannot freely move around the country
The dastardly act of the sporadic shooting at the congregation of St. Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo Kingdom, in Ondo State is a shame on the government who have once again failed her citizens
FIDA Nigeria is greatly saddened by the high rate of ongoing killings due to religious intolerance in many parts of the country. This is a major threat to the basic human rights of Nigerians, consequently, government must put an end to this menace
Nigerians being entitled to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion as well as the right to freedom from discrimination on grounds of religion must be protected from such attacks steered at depriving them of the enjoyment of their rights as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution
Government must similarly live up to the expectations of defending and protecting her citizens, especially as the recent security situation in Nigeria has continued to grossly deteriorate, leaving confusion, disorder, breach of peace, and security as the new order of the day.
This is intolerable as Citizens are entitled to enjoy their right to life and property. We must appreciate that without peace and social order, there cannot be stability, growth, and development. As such, our people cannot reach their full potential, and this is a great loss and a tremendous disservice to the nation.
FIDA Nigeria condemns this attack (on the worshipers and the church) which is one too many in Nigeria and demands that the culprits be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law.
FIDA stands resolutely behind justice and speaks out strongly against all forms of evil perpetuated in the society against vulnerable citizens
FIDA Nigeria commiserates with the families of the deceased and the good people of Owo, Ondo State, we urge the Federal Government and the State Government to spare no effort in bringing those responsible for these heinous crimes to justice
Mrs. Amina Suzanah Agbaje
Country Vice President/National President
On the 6th of June 2022, FIDA Nigeria received a delegation from NEEM Foundation. The courtesy visit was aimed at re-establishing a working relationship with FIDA Nigeria on the re-opening of the One-stop centre with support from UNFPA.
The Country Vice president in her remarks commended the NEEM Foundation and UNFPA for coming. The CVP however expressed her concerns for the continuity of the One-Stop Centre after the duration of the project and a need for survivors to trust the structure to outlive project lifecycle. She however pledged the unwavering support of FIDA Nigeria in rejuvenating the Centre whilst providing free legal representation to the Centre’s clients.
Capacity Building Workshop on Countering Trafficking in Persons for Judges, Judicial & Legal Officers
FIDA Nigeria with support from USAID under the Palladium SCALE project organized a capacity-building workshop for Prosecutors and Judges on countering trafficking in persons. This was a four-day intervention between 6th June – 9th June 2022, With participants drawn from Delta, Osun and Ebonyi States.
As a result of the training and to ensure the sustainability of the program, FIDA has established a working group in form of a Network Sector for all trainees. The aim of the group is to apply strategies in seeing to the mitigation of trafficking in persons in their respective states.
The four-day training came to an end with presentation of certificate, participants were charged to apply the training in curbing incidences of trafficking in persons.
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Edo State Branch has kicked against gender-based violence (GBV), as statistics from the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) showed that of its 1,059 cases in court, 205 pertained to GBV cases with 4-10 of such cases originating from Police case files.
Declaring the FIDA week open with the theme, “Changing the Narrative of Gender-Based Violence: A Multidimensional Approach, “Chief Judge, Edo State, Hon. Justice Joe Acha represented by Justice Geraldine Ono Imadegbelo said violence against women, girls, and children should be treated under the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law. He called on all facets of the justice system to look into and correct the rationale for giving life imprisonment to a single perpetrator of rape but handing over twenty-year imprisonment for those involved in gang rape which was a more grievous offense.
The DPP, Kingsley Odabi Esq while reeling out data at its resource stated that there was a geometric rise in the pattern of offense with cases of parents violating female children; adults and grandfathers violating children 3years old and less prevalent in society hence the recommendation to stop GBV through his call for a gender management system to be put in place; Liaising with the legislature to enact laws passed; empowerment of women in all the Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDA’s); Getting Judges to buy into the FIDA campaigns and endorse such; Development on the education curriculum to focus on raised lapses to effect corrections.
Earlier in her welcome address to stakeholders, legal luminaries and representatives of organizations, CSO’s, NGO’s and the media at the FIDA occasion, Chairperson Edo FIDA, Mrs. Violet Oghogho Olumese stated that apart from counseling and rendering Pro bono services to indigents, FIDA was poised to change the narrative in incidents of GBV through reliance on the VAPP Law as domesticated in Edo State in 2021. She urged stakeholders to ventilate and come up with solutions that could help at curbing the Hydra-headed monster ravaging society,
In her keynote address,” Changing the narrative of gender-based violence, multimedia approach, ” former FIDA Chairperson and Permanent Secretary (PS) Ministry of Art and Culture, Iryn Omorogiuwa quoting world statistics on GBV stated that every minute one out of three women gets abused. She said this was accompanied by other forms of dehumanization and a lack of respect for the women folks, especially on issues relating to traditional practices and human trafficking in which women are the main culprits who violate the rights of other women.
Apart from cyber bullying which she frowned at for its ability to tilt victims over the edge leading to suicide, she also mentioned family laws governing inheritance which she observed sent wrong signals which engendered violence and harassment hence the call to participants to look beyond the justice sector by making personal efforts to change perception through restoring, reintegrating victims of GBV in society and creating a zero violence state.
She, therefore, called for the regulation and control of money in circulation, empowerment of youths, and prescription of maximum punishment for perpetrators of GBV, also, blowing the cover of perpetrators from the point of arrest to conviction to serve as a deterrent to others.
Professor Evelyn Uwa Edosomwan presented the paper, “Resolving the concept of feminism and gender equality in contemporary Nigeria while Professor Job Okhioma Odion presented the paper, ” An assessment of the legal framework for engendering women participation in politics in Nigeria which was closely followed by discussion segments and a robust question and answer session.
FIDA Nigeria conducted a two-day United Nations Spotlight Initiative (UNSI) Inception meeting and Training workshop on Gender Responsive Budgeting in Adamawa on the 31st of May and 1st of June 2022.
The objective of the workshop was to provide knowledge to target participants (Women and Girls Rights groups/Advocates, CSOs, etc) on the UNSI project, also to share knowledge on the concept of GRB, how the (participants) are involved, and their commitments towards achieving a state gender-responsive budget through advocacy.
FIDA Plateau led by the Chairperson, Mrs. Ngozi Obioma Achilefu paid a visit to Methodist Primary school, beside EBOMI, Jos North to commemorate Children’s Day on the 27th day of May 2022.
The Chairperson talked on the topic _” Children the building blocks of the Nation.”_ She admonished the pupils to stay away from vices such as stealing and having sexual relationships which will deter them from attaining their goals. She also encouraged them to speak in the face of rape and other acts of violence committed against them or their loved ones as FIDA is always ready to defend them.
The Vice-Chairperson, Mrs. Felicia Emeruwa admonished them to stay away from drug abuse.
The Headmistress expressed gratitude to FIDA for choosing the school for this laudable event and prayed that God will continue to bless all FIDA’Sendeavours.
To round up the visit, there was dance and refreshments for pupils and their teachers.
FIDA Badagry, In commemoration of Children’s Day on the 30th of May 2022, celebrated with the students at Excellent Simmy Secondary School, 4th Avenue, Festac Town In Amuwo-Odofin Lga Lagos.
The management, staff, and children were sensitized on the need to stop all forms of Child abuse which include Physical abuse, Sexual abuse, Child Trafficking, Rape, Discrimination, Child-abduction, denial of basic education, Sexual Harassment, Dehumanization treatment, to mention but a few. There was a teaching on ‘Female genital mutilation as another form of violence against the Girl Child. The student were also taught to always report every form of abuse and to say a capital ‘NO’ to such and to exercise their rights at all times.
On 31st May and 1st June 2022, FIDA Nigeria, Lagos State Branch with the support of UN Women on the Spotlight Initiative Project Phase II, held an inception meeting and capacity building workshop for civil society organization’s in Lagos State on gender-responsive budgeting.
The Program Manager of FIDA Nigeria Mr. Fikih Obaro the Facilitator discussed extensively the overview of the National Action Plan on GBV, and the overview of the National and Local legislation on GBV.
He also stressed that GRB does not mean dividing government expenditure 50:50 between women and men. Instead, they look at the budget from a gender perspective to analyze how it will meet and respond to the unique needs of everyone, including women and men, girls and boys. It was indeed an eventful outing