The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), FCT Chapter,has condemned the spate of kidnappings across the country, especially recent kidnapping of students and staff of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, Niger state.
The chapter in a communiqué at the end of its maiden congress for 2021, tasked the government at all levels to ensure the security of lives and property especially all schools across the country.
A communiqué signed by the Chairperson, Annah Daniel, and the Secretary, Nkeiru Nnoli-Okeke, said the congress discussed a range of issues including the state of insecurity in the country and the rising cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) among others.
It read in part: “Congress in session resolved that the spate of violent crimes, especially kidnapping of school children was alarming and an indication that the existing security architecture needed overhauling to ensure the effective security of lives and property.
“Congress condemned the recent kidnapping of students and staff of Government Science School, Kagara, Niger state, and tasked the federal government to take proactive action by providing adequate security across schools and communities engulfed with crisis in the country.”
The women journalists also condemned attempts by the government to negotiate the release of kidnap victims with the bandits, noting that any form of negotiation with bandits or any other criminal group must be discouraged as it would send the wrong signals to other groups and would amount to rewarding criminal behaviour.
“Congress in session also raised the alarm over the increasing rate of SGBV and tasked the government at all levels to ensure that perpetrators of such crimes were punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
“The Congress lamented that most cases of SGBV were not reported as family members were often involved, even as reported cases are often settled as the victims are often reluctant to pursue the case for fear of being stigmatised.
“The women journalists, therefore, tasked Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders on sensitisation of the public on the need to report SGBV and other crimes to ensure culprits are punished.”
On a good note, the Congress congratulated Dr Okonjo Iweala on the unprecedented feat of her appointment as the Director General World Trade Organisation (WTO), noting that it was a huge boost for Nigeria women as they continue in the quest to attain gender equality and equity.
The women journalists tasked Nigerian women not to give up, notwithstanding the challenges along the way as victory was certain with consistency and hard work as exemplified by Mrs. Okonjo Iweala and other women who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour.
NAWOJ also appealed to security agents handling the case of the female student of Community Secondary School, Ikot Ewa, Cross River state, who allegedly came to school with a pistol to kill her teacher, to treat it in accordance with cases involving minors.
The Association also commended journalists on their efforts to protect the nation’s democracy and urged them to uphold the ethics of the profession in the discharge of their duties.