The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), FCT Chapter, has raised the alarm over rising crime against women and children in the country,
NAWOJ in a communiqué issued at the end of its May Congress held at the NUJ Press Centre, Utako, on Saturday, noted that women and children, as the most vulnerable segment of the society, were facing enormous challenges as a result of prevailing economic, social and political situation in the country.
According to the communiqué signed by Secretary, NAWOJ FCT, Mrs Grace Njoku: “Congress appealed that women and children should be protected by all tiers of government as stipulated by the provisions of the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) Charters which Nigeria is signatory to, including the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Convention for the Rights of the Child (CRC).
“Congress noted that 11 out of the 36 states of the federation were yet to adopt the Child Rights Act of 2003 under the (CRC) and called on the federal government to prevail on the affected states to immediately adopt and implement the Act in the face of rising crimes against women and children.”
The association furthered stated that: “As Nigeria prepares to join the world to mark the 2019 Children’s Day on May 27, Congress bemoaned the state of the Nigerian child, noting the alarming rate of out-of-school-children, violence against the girl-child (rape), child abuse, child labour, child trafficking and kidnapping, among others.
“Congress maintained that with the passage of the CRC in the 36 states and FCT, rights of children would be protected and therefore called on Civil Society Organisation, and other stakeholders as well as development partners, to step up advocacy on the rights of the Nigerian child.”
NAWOJ FCT also expressed worry over the increasing rate of infant mortality, especially as a result of malnutrition and tasked government and relevant agencies to implement programmes and policies that would raise awareness on importance of child nutrition, specifically exclusive breast feeding as well as create enabling environment for working nursing mothers within the workplace.
Furthermore, Congress in session noted that the whereabouts of Leah Sharibu, who was held back by her captors for refusing to renounce her faith, remained unknown as she turns 16 today and tasked the federal government and relevant agencies to ensure her safe rescue and return to her family.
The association also condemned the recent indiscriminate raids on night clubs in Abuja and arrest of women under the guise of arresting suspected prostitutes by the FCT Joint Task Force and alleged rape of the suspects.
They, therefore, called on the acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, as well as the Minister of the FCT, Mallam Mohammed Bello, to fasttrack investigations into the incidents and ensure that the offending officers are brought to book.