The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has called on the Federal Government and governments at the states to review and implement laws that would protect Nigerian women, girls and children.
In a 13-point communiqué issued at the end of a One-Day workshop which was part of activities to mark the 30th anniversary of the association, NAWOJ noted with displeasure the rising cases of child abuse and pedophilia.
The association whose cardinal objective is to advance the course of women, particularly women journalists and by extension children as well, noted that little effort was made to actually protect the vulnerable group.
Top of the list of problems identified by NAWOJ to be plaguing women and children and militating against their development are: sexual harassment, rape and violence against minors.
It further noted that poverty, parental negligence, negative influence of the social media, indecent dressing as well as posting to cover assignments at odd places and at odd times were among factors that could promote sexual violence or rape of minors and women.
“Culture, religion, insecurity, lack of adequate finance, lack of level playing field as well as intimidation were also identified as factors that hinder women from active political participation,” It said.
On the issue of Girl child education, the workshop noted that early marriage and teenage pregnancy, illiteracy, insurgency and cultural barriers were major issues that contribute to the high rate of girls who drop out of schools.
For women journalists and others in other fields, the workshop identified discrimination against women in beat placements, rivalry among women and character assassination as factors that militate against fair work place policy and placement of women in managerial positions.
The communique therefore resolves that: “Existing Laws relating to child rights, violence against persons, prohibition Act should be reviewed, while stringent measures should be meted out on perpetrators.
“Sex education should be included in the school curriculum while women should strive towards Unity of purpose in order to achieve greater heights.
“Older women are encouraged to be role models and mentors to younger women to bridge generational gaps.
“The media should continue reporting the importance of girl child Education as well as ensure effective monitoring of laws that affect the girl child,” it said.
The communiqué however tasked the association to always organize trainings for women politicians at the grassroots, as well as use community theatre for mobilization, while encouraging women to seek elective positions in political parties in order to be relevant.
It called on the NAWOJ to revisit the Bechere community in Cross River State where girls are sold into marriage to offset debt so as to bring it to the attention of government with a view to criminalising the act.