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Group calls on states to implement law to end abuse of girl-child

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Group calls on states to implement law to end abuse of girl-child

The Women Aid Collective (WACOL) Girls-Will has called on Nigeria’s 36 state governors to implement the Child Rights Law (CRL) to end the abuse of the girl-child.

The Executive Director WACOL Girls-Will, Prof. Joy Ezeilo, made the call on Thursday in an event to commemorate the 2022 International Day of the Girl in Enugu with the theme “Our Time is Now – Our Rights, Our Future”.

The reports gathered that WACOL Girls-Will is an initiative of WACOL launched in 2020 and aimed at amplifying the voice of the girl-child in Nigeria.

The initiative would work to equip girls with the right skills and knowledge to defend their rights through targeted actions.

It targets greater roles and participation of girls in decisions affecting their survival and development, advance their inclusion in science education and technology.

Ezeilo noted that daily, girls were being faced with numerous challenges that prevented them from achieving their utmost potential.

According to her, the Child’s Right Act of Nigeria and the Child Rights Law of different states in Nigeria provide for a child’s right to rest, leisure, play, sports and other recreational activities.

Ezeilo explained that the extant laws further stated that a child has the right to live free from physical, mental, and sexual abuse, torture, inhuman treatment, attack upon his honour or reputation and slavery or servitude.

“Sadly, we have observed violations of these laws and ill treatment meted on children, especially girls, who are being exploited, harassed and used as “maids or house helps” leading to them suffering physically and mental damages and in some cases death.

“We strongly condemn such impunity, barbarism, child abuse, neglect and exploitation and call for the implementation of the Child’s Right Act and Laws of different states.

“We urge all stakeholders and citizens to commit to actions that support girls towards the creation of a better society for them, now and in the future.

She said: “Over a decade, relevant actors have spotlighted issues that affect girls all over the world but regretted that in spite of that there is low improvement on state of girls rights and access to opportunities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown only worsened the situation of girls, with domestic violence and cyber harassment, becoming more prevalent.

“For the voices of girls to matter on the global platform, increased attention must be paid to investments in quality education, sexual and reproductive health, safe environment, economic empowerment and space inclusion”.

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She stressed that investing in girls would result in a multiplier impact for every member of the society.

“Girls all over the world have illustrated that when given the opportunity, they can be change maker in society.

“There is need to amplify their voices, struggles by documenting their stories, protecting them from violence and exposing them to opportunities.

“To sustain gender empowerment, we must equip girls to be part of discussions that affect them, take charge on issues that affect them and be part of decision-making in accordance with evolving capacity.

“Every child has a right to life, survival and development; freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishments, regardless of their status, gender, ethnicity or religion,” she said.

While calling for support and solidarity to ensure the realisation of their full potential, Ezeilo said girls were armed with the strength of their potential, creativity, resourcefulness, leadership and ability.

She added that the group would use the celebration to highlight emerging issues that girls faced in Nigeria.

“These actions support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and will ensure that no girl is left behind, amplifying commitments to promote an inclusive space,” she added.

NAN also reports that the group took the campaign to Abakpa Girls Secondary school, Enugu.

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