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FG tasks Cross River on face-off with NMA

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UNICEF takes campaign on children, women’s protection to grassroots
As the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) suspends its proposed strike in Cross River State after two days, the Federal Government has rolled out a six-point agenda for the state.

The strike over COVID-19 controversies was cut short on July 6 when the Federal Government sent a 17-member delegation from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) to the state.

An emergency meeting between the PTF/FMOH team led by Dr. Faisal Shuaibu, Cross River NMA and the state’s Ministry of Health on July 7, 2020 gave the state government a six-point resolution to comply, failing which NMA might be allowed to resume the strike.

Accordingly, NMA enjoined the state government to keep to the resolutions of the July 7 meeting.

It appealed to the residents to follow the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines on infection prevention and control, while reinforcing its commitment to working with governments to contain COVID-19 spread.

In a related development, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the Cross River State Ministry of Humanity and Social Welfare as well as that of Women Aairs, has sensitised communities in the state on the protection of children and women.

The advocacy, tagged COVID-19 Proofed Integrated Child Protection Community Sensitisation Campaigns to Calabar Municipality, Calabar South and Akamkpa councils, was also in collaboration with the police and Child Protection Network (CPN).

Presenting a paper on ‘Ending Violence Against Children’ yesterday in Akai Efa, Director of Social Welfare, Mrs. Elizabeth Uquak, said there was prevalence of violence against children and teenagers in Nigeria.

Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), she explained that 60 per cent of children experienced some form of violence while 50 per cent also experienced physical violence, including sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse.

While calling on stakeholders, especially religious and traditional leaders, to help end violence against children, she said most of the perpetrators of these acts were people close to the children.

“It is terrible that even our babies are no longer safe. We must address this problem so that we can have a society that can protect our children.

“Do not tell a child that is sexually abused that it is a disgrace. Do not stigmatise a child; they need to be protected by us. We are calling on everyone, both traditional and religious leaders, in our communities to report to us in Social Welfare when such things happen, because if you keep quiet, you are destroying that child’s life,” she urged.

Also speaking on violence against women, the Director, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Lizzy Abua, fingered gender inequality and discrimination as the root of violence against women, including girls.


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