Minister harps on stiffer penalties for perpetrators of violence against women
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen has called on relevant authorities to ensure stiffer penalties for perpetrators of violence against women and children.
Tallen made the called in Abuja during the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Africa Regional Congress with the theme: “The Growth of Women and Children in Africa: Beyond Rhetoric.
She said that women and children were the greater number of people who are marginalised even though they form the larger number of the population, adding that the root cause of violence and abuse on women is poverty.
The Minister said there was need for emancipation of women, adding that the society had relegated them to the background for too long.
“This has made it necessary for women continuous evolvement even though they appear as oppressed, helpless and marginalised, they strive to have a say as they play major roles in socioeconomic activities in different places.
“Women and the girl child in many parts of the country suffer degeneration due to poverty, social and gender norms, level of education, in some areas political and economic times, gender based violence, especially against the girl child.” she said.
She further called on all states to consider domesticating the Child Rights Act (CRA), regretting that only 24 states had adopted and domesticated it since 2003, and only four states adopted the violence against persons act since 2015.
In his keynote address, Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo stressed the importance of an inclusive government, where both men and women enjoy equal opportunities, saying Nigeria is not developing as expected because women are left out.
“We cannot actually develop or survive as a continent if half of the population are under represented in power and cannot access the basics of socio-economic factors.
” If they are also educationally empowered then we cannot make that progress because we cannot run on one foot; we have to carry everybody along, to be inclusive and make sure we are not leaving anyone behind, this is the whole essence of sustainable development goals.
“Half of the continent has been engulfed in conflict so how do we bring women to the peace table, so that women who are mainly victims and survivals of this war are also part of the peace.
“We have to stand up to make concerted effort and also to realize that progress for women and children is progress for all the nation, is progress for the continent.
“If you empower a woman you empower a family because it trickles directly, the benefits come down directly and more profitable than empowering a man,” she stressed.
She called for a review of Nigeria’s laws, saying there was need for effective implementation of extant laws, as most of these laws are observed in breach and are not respected, hence the difficulty in ensuring effective remedies for victims and survivals of human rights abuses.
The Regional Vice President Africa (North and West) of FIDA , Mrs Olufunmilayo Awomolo said it was important to close the gender gap as this is tantamount to higher productivity and growth.
According to her, promoting gender equality is a game changer, especially economic and political.
“The current challenges affecting the quality of lives of children include lack of education, access to health care, legal right, sexual abuse, child labour, access to recreation, insecurities, trafficking and adequate feeding.
“We must continue to advocate on these and more, cooperate with the government, enlighten parents until we get the decent and progressive society that we desire,” she said.
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