The Sokoto State Commissioner of Police, CP Ibrahim Sani Ka’oje on the 11th of June 2020, received a delegation of International Federation of Women lawyers (FIDA), Sokoto branch at the State Police Headquarters. In her remarks, the chairperson of the delegation Mrs. Aishatu Abdullahi Illo, stated that the federation aims to advance and promote rights of children and women, however, the purpose of the visit was to advocate for reforms, regarding gender-based violence and rape considering the rising spate of the menace in the country.
In his response, the CP thanked the team for the timely visit in the wake of calls to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence nationwide. He added that such cases have drastically been reduced in the state, following his zero tolerance for sexual and gender-based violence upon assumption of office. He further urged the delegation to step up their quest to involve governments at all levels and well-meaning individuals with a common goal. The CP finally pledged support to fight against sexual and gender-based violence, also charged the delegation to review legal frameworks to enable curtailment of rampant divorces and to cater for divorced women.
Also speaking, DC SCID, DCP Charles Mozie emphasized on the need to enlighten families of rape victims to support investigations and cushion psychological effects on victims, he equally called for diligent administration of criminal justice.
As the world marks the World Day Against Child Labour, we are reminded by UNICEF’s Factsheet on Child Labour in Nigeria 2006 that, a staggering 15 million children under the age of 14 are working across Nigeria Many are exposed to long hours of work in dangerous and unhealthy environments, carrying too much responsibility for their age. Working in these hazardous conditions with little food, small pay, no education and no medical care establishes a cycle of child rights violations. These are terrible statistics which as a nation we should not be proud of and must take proactive steps to redress.
Yet it is so glaring to see as we look all around us, this depressing sight, confirming that the average Nigerian child works to contribute and support his/her family. Consequently, the child’s right to be free from engaging in child labour is most easily and daily breached such that it can readily be termed abrogated.
This year the International Labour Organization (ILO), calls on all to focus on assessing the impact of ‘crisis’ on child labour. This is appropriate, particularly with the current COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged countries creating uncontrollable crises everywhere.
The resultant effect has socially and economically been disastrous on families with the complete lockdown; not to mention the expectant negative effect being majorly felt on the labour market with the downsizing, job loss, and the folding-up of businesses, etc. Furthermore, government must look into reviewing our current labour law which does not offer adequate protection to the vulnerable in these times.
With families striving to survive through uncertain futures, the comfort bracket is thrown out the window and everyone must contribute to the daily needs of their family. Unfortunately, children are often during such challenging times, the first to suffer, often being deprived of needed necessaries and thereafter forced to join the labour market in whatever capacity just to fend for themselves and their families.
This current crisis can therefore worsen the statistics and push even millions of vulnerable children into child labour, perhaps even doing hazardous work to survive. As such, the Nigerian child is now at even greater risk of facing circumstances that are most challenging and difficult for his or her development and survival.
FIDA Nigeria in pointing out this issue, appeals for the prompt need to pay better attention, and to put in place a more coordinated work plan to protect children from this predicament; in addition to social welfare packages that will better benefit and protect our children; as opposed to exposing them to peril and danger under the guise of job apprenticeship where they are often taken advantage of and or compelled to go into forced labour just to meet their needs.
Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders in 2015 calls on the global community to: “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”
Based on this Sustainable Development Goals we remind government of the need for a renewed commitment to ending child labour in Nigeria. In furtherance of which FIDA Nigeria calls on the Nigerian government to show commitment and honour to, and respect for the Conventions that she has ratified. We ask government to bring forth into prompt action, the political will to do the needful for the best interest of the child.
Children have a right to be free from child labour. We must do more than talk about this, a strategic plan backed by social welfare benefits for the child is essential and imperative at this time of crisis.
FIDA Nigeria speaks for the vulnerable children out there at great risk of delving into forced labour as a result of the crises occasioned by this 2020 pandemic.
Let’s put plans in place to protect and secure the future of our Children who are entitled to enjoy their childhood! Let all States adopt the Child Rights Act (2003) which provides for the protection of the child in all ramifications.
For FIDA Nigeria:
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
National publicity secretary
FIDA Edo State Branch in collaboration with other professional bodies, CSOs and NGOs organized a peaceful protest walk against the incessant rape, defilement and all forms of violence against women and children.
FIDA Edo Chairperson, Iryn Omorogiuwa and leaders of other bodies held a press conference to decry the increasing rate of Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
The peaceful protest walk started from FIDA Edo Secretariat to Ministry of Justice where the Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Prof. Yinka Omorogbe received and addressed the protesters and subsequently joined the protest to Edo State the House of Assembly where the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye received and addressed all protesters.
The protesters requested for the implementation of the VAPP law, Child’s Rights Law and other related laws and also demanded for a special court to prosecute Sexual offence cases and other related offences.
Further request was made on Mr. Speaker to make budgetary provisions for NGOs and CSOs who work with survivors of sexual assaults.
The Honourable Speaker Edo State House of Assembly and the Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Edo State assured everyone that they will put all machinery in place to facilitate the amendments of these laws as quickly as possible as its implementation will curb cases of rape and all forms of violence against Women and Children.
FIDA Plateau: Advocacy visit to the Plateau State house of Assembly to advocate for the domestication of VAPP ACT and a bill for the creation of sexual offence desk at the police station.
FIDA GOMBE – on 11th June 2020, FIDA Gombe Visited the Attorney General of Gombe State, he agreed to grant FIDA Gombe a Fiat to prosecute GBV cases; Establish a Gender Desk at the Ministry of Justice Gombe State; push for accelerated passage of the VAPP ACT in Gombe State and push for the Review the definition of Rape in the Penal Code to be in tandem with that provided in the VAPP ACT.
FIDA Rivers organized a press conference\walk on Zero tolerance for Rape, defilement and other forms of abuse\violence against women and children. Also visited the Police Headquarters.
FIDA BAYELSA, in collaboration with various stakeholders, organizations, CSOs/ NGOs, embarked on a peaceful protest walk against SGBV.
They visited the ministry of Justice where the Solicitor General/ Permanent Secretary, Mr. Preye Agedah addressed us on the support of the ministry to fight this menace. Also visited the Judiciary, where the Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Kate Abiri received them in her Chambers and pledged the support of the Judiciary in the fight against all forms of SGBV in the state. Finally, visited the state police force headquarters, where the commissioner of police assured FIDA of the preparedness of the police to handle all cases of SGBV expeditiously and with all seriousness. It was indeed a successful outing.