Women seek more awareness, laws, government policies to curb abuses on girl child
The Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World, (OWSD), Lagos Chapter have expressed grievances towards the spate of abuses on the girl child across Nigeria, while calling for an end to the menace.
The women tasked the government to implement laws, strengthen policies and sanction offences as well as offenders appropriately in order to protect the girl child and curb abuses on them.
Speaking at the second symposium of the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World, held at the University of Lagos, with the theme: “The Girl-Child And Abuse, the keynote speaker from the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Dr. Oduguwa Taiwo, lamented that there are more severe consequences arising from abuse of the girl child, which include, chronic depressive illnesses, psychotic illness, self-injury, suicidal ideation, attempts and possible suicide among others. She said advocacy programmes to protect the rights of the girl child should be scaled up, while government should also provide basic infrastructure and jobs to the populace, as poverty and ignorance play a major role in perpetuating abuse of the girl child.
Taiwo added that much still needs to be done in terms of public enlightenment at all levels, such as the religious settings, homes, schools, media among others, while the girls need to be “ taught that they are not inferior, as well as to be encouraged to achieve their full potential and not allow their success to be thwarted by gender.”She added that parents should be more proactive in the care of their children and should be made to face the wrath of the law where they expose their children to abuse.
The Vice Chancellor, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who frowned at abuses meted on female students in tertiary institutions, said the government must come up with a policy and law on abuses on the girl child, and make sure it is properly implemented and followed
Also speaking, the President, Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World, Joy Okpuzor said while the incidence of abuse on the girl child, especially rape, is becoming rampant, it is important to stop the trend by educating the girls on the steps to take whenever they are faced with threats of abuse on them, either from their male counterpart, family or guardian. “Once they know what has to be done when something happens to them, they will not be scared anymore, in fact they will fight for themselves through the different avenues of seeking redress,” she added.
On her part, the Project Coordinator Works and Physical Planning, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Rita Epuh, said to ensure that the issue of the girl child abuse is brought to the forefront and dealt with out rightly, there should be massive campaign against it, as the girl child is very sensitive at an early age, as well as important in the society. “We need to guide, protect and educate them because when you educate girl child, you educate the society and the nation at large. We need to go around and sensitise this children because that is the only way to put a stop to abuse on them,” she added.
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