The Osun State Chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, (NAWOJ) has called on the Osun State Government to create a sexual offenders register for rape and other sexual assault perpetrators.
It said this was to curb the menace of sexual assault and related vices against women and children, particularly the girl-child.
It also called on the government and justice system to give stiffer penalties to perpetrators of those harmful practices, adding that family courts at all levels should deal with the matters relating to those negative practices.
Making this call in Osogbo at the commemoration of the Day of the African Girl-Child, the Osun NAWOJ chairperson, Motunrayo Ayegbayo pointed out that since the creation of the law in 2013 and its domestication in the State, the number of children facing harmful practices was still much.
Oyegbayo, who insisted that harmful practices against children can be eliminated, explained that in the world over, hundreds of millions of girls and boys have experienced some form of violence, exploitation or harmful practice.
She described some of the harmful practices as Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting FGM/C, which leads to serious health complications, such as prolonged bleeding, infection and infertility or even death, rape, early child marriage, child abuse, among others.
According to her, “It is saddening to note that news of harmful practices is still out there. This is discouraging and we must all join hands to nip it completely in the bud.
“These practices, which are linked mostly to economic, social and cultural norms, have continued to impede the full development of children.
“Osun NAWOJ, therefore, calls on government, agencies and organisations to reflect on the progress made towards the implementation of children’s rights in the country.”
She explained that statistics shows that some 650 million girls and women around the world today have been married as children, and over 200 million have been subjected to FGM.
“NAWOJ is concerned that in spite of the Child Rights Act in place, cases of child marriages, female genital mutilation, child labour, physical abuse, trafficking, forced labour, rape and other forms of sexual abuses, stigmatisation and scarification are still prevalent in different parts of the country.
“More worrisome is the increasing number of rape cases and other forms of violence against children, even in States where there is the full implementation of the Child’s Rights Law, as children, including minors are constantly abused,” she said.
The 2022 Day of the African Child is themed: “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children Progress on Policy and Practice Since 2013.”
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