Group seeks collaboration against gender- based violence


President of MWAN, Dr Valerie Obot,

THE Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN) has called for collaboration from relevant stakeholders and interest groups in the fight against gender-based violence, which it said is bedeviling the social and mental development of the girl-child in Nigeria.

President of MWAN, Dr Valerie Obot, stated this at the Seventh National Executive Council Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Association with the theme: “Eliminating Gender Based Violence: The Girl Child in Perspective,” in Benin city.

She said the association was committed to engaging government and other relevant bodies to formulate girl child-friendly policies, “provide girls with comprehensive health information and services and empower them with skills and financial access to health and education.

This is the only way we can bring succour to the girl child who is fast becoming an endangered species in her own country. We must walk the talk by collaborating with other organisations such as FIDA, National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) to ensure that girls and women’s rights are enforced particularly now with the VAPP (Violence Against Persons Prohibition) law.

She added: “MWAN on its part, will partner with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, NGOs and development partners in the rehabilitation of these girls back into the society.’’ The immediate Past President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele said there was a need to sustain the campaign against all forms of violence against Nigerian women and the girl-child.

There is need to advance and sustained the campaign against all sorts of violence against the girl child and get more partners to be involved in the struggle.

Soon after laws are promulgated, you don’t hear about them anymore in terms of giving concrete maximum expressions to those laws, what has happened to the Child Rights Act?

The issue is not the lack of laws but that of re-orientating our society to ensure that even us as Nigerians are enlightened and educated on the effects of gender-based violence on the Nigerian child,” he said.

A legal luminary, Justice Alero Eruaga, in her presentation listed violence against the girl child to include rape, incest, harmful traditional practices, female genital mutilation, abduction and kidnapping, trafficking in persons and seduction, calling for advocacy and education to eradicating such violence against the girl child.

She said there is need for all states of the federation to pass the Child Rights Act into law, just as she appealed for respect, affordable legal services, protection and access to counselling for victims of sexual violence and other forms of violence against women.

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