The increasing cases of gender based violence in Nigeria can be traced to the “deliberate delay in the adoption and transmission (into law) of the Child Right Act in many states since its passage in 2003,” Chioma Kanu,the Executive Director of Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre), has alleged on Saturday.
At a one-day sensitisation on ‘Gender-Based Violence for Secondary School Girls in Abuja,’ Kanu posited that the delay in enacting the law against genda violence especially girl child abuses was responsible for: “early marriage resulting in poor cognitive, life-threatening illnesses like Vesico-vaginal Fistula (VVF), Anaemia, High Blood Pressure, Premature Birth, Malnutrition, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Post-partum depression (PPD), and suicide.”
According to a 2019 poll conducted by NOIPOLLS: “About 3 in 10 Nigerians (26 per cent) disclosed that they know someone who has been raped in the past and the rape victims were particularly minors and young adults aged between 1 – 15 years (72 per cent) and 16 – 25 years (24 per cent) respectively.”
Put in context, the statistic implies that one in every three girls would have experienced at least one form of sexual abuse by the time they reach 25 years.
The Commerce Africa reports that 18 out of 36 States of the Federation including Federal Capital Territory have not domesticated the law against gender based violence despite outcry from the civil societies in the country.
The sensitisation event held in commemoration of the upcoming 2020 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, was part of the efforts of MAMA Centre to involve school girls in public outcry against Gender-Based Violence in the country.
Kanu advocated for prompt adoption and full implementation of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill by all State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria, as a demonstration of sincere commitment by the State Governments to secure health, emotional and physical well-being of girls in the country.
The Commerce Africa reports that in October, the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq signed into law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill, exiting the list of 19 States that have not domesticated the human right law.
Until this year, only thirteen states and the FCT have adopted the VAPP Act out of Nigeria’s 36 States. The States are Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Benue, Cross River, Kaduna, FCT, and Plateau since 2015.
The exercise held at Regina Pacis College had in attendance over 600 participants comprising Junior and Senior Secondary School girls, School Representatives, Civil Society groups and media.