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FIDA calls for elimination of harmful practises against children

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INTERNATIONAL Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA),Enugu Branch  has called for elimination of harmful practices against the African child . The group also stressed  the  need for provision of quality education  for all children.

  A high court judge, Comfort Chinyere Ani Ph.D, made the call on Thursday, in a paper entitled:” ‘Tracing the Policy for Elimination  of Harmful Practices on Children, Prospects and Challenges’, presented at the commemoration of the Day of African Child, organised by FIDA.

  She defined harmful practice as ” behaviour, attitude and policies which negatively affect  the fundamental  rights of any person.”

  She explained further that , harmful practices include child labour, baby factory, rape, ,early marriage, genital multilation , child abandonment, sexual abuse, failure to immunisation, ,refusal to send a child to school, child abuse, among others. 

  She observed that over 12 million children were engaged in child labour in Nigeria . Ani stressed the need for a continuous improvement of education..

   The guest speaker said that there is a new definition of rape, disclosing that penetrating somebody’s private part, including  the mouth with any object is rape.

While speaking on the importance of children knowing their rights, Ani cautioned them against getting involved in social vices, advising  that they should not tatoo, for doing so, could cost them the opportunity of securing a job.

  The high court judge called on the government to address factors causing harmful practices against children ., saying: ” The government should address the root  causes and factors  encouraging harmful practices : poverty, unemployment, insecurity lack of education, etc”. She noted that government should create free access of education to all children to eliminate the ugly trend..

  In an interview, the chairperson,  FIDA, Enugu Branch , Ngozi Onyia,  said that June 16  every year was set aside  as the Day for African Child. “On June 16, 1976, there was an uprising. Hundreds of   students in Sweto, South Africa,  went to the streets and  agitated against the type of education given to them. They agitated against aparthied on their education.  That they should be taught in the language they would understand.  Those students were shot and killed for agitation concerning their education and because their agitation concerned their education, we  advocate that the education of the children should be looked into. Government should look into those policies 

  “The policies affecting these children that will keep them out of school should be looked into.

  “The chapter four of the Nigerian Constitution spoke about freedom and the chapter two of the constitution which  spoke about the rights of the citizens where education fell into, was made non-justiciable, that means , you cannot enforce  that right.”

  Onyia called on the government to look into those policies that affect the education of the child, saying:”The sooner we look into our policies that are  affecting  the education of the  child, the better our society will be “.

  On her part, the acting chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists(NAWOJ), Comrade  Ngozi Ngene, urged parents ,guardians , teachers and  caregivers  to  understand that every child is a potential leader. “He or she has to be nurtured, so that God’s given talent in him or her will manifest for the good of the society.”

  Also speaking, the  Executive Director, Heroine Women Foundation ,Onyinye Joy Mamah, said that the International Day of African Child is a day set aside for  celebrating the African Child all over the world.

  “We have a theme that says eliminating   harmful practices against children and we are also looking at promoting the education of the children right here in the society. Sometimes, our families and our friends make it look as if education is a privilege and not a right. Ordinarily, a very sound, uality education is supposed to be the right of an African child, especially the African child who is under-privileged in the society that is under developed, in an environment that male are always selfish. “

  Mamah, who is also the coordinator, Women  Support Women , called for provision  of quality education for the African child. “So, I think celebrating the African child is something that is worthwhile because  there are quite a lot of economic disadvantages those people called  African children suffer from.

  “So, celebrating them will also bring to the fore, the need for the government, the churches and persons like us, social development workers to improve in areas of education and try to scrap out all those harmful practices that hamper the development of  the afternoon child”.

 Publicity Secretary, FIDA , Francisca Chikaodili Enechi likened the International Day of African Child to “valor and sacrifice.”

  “We are urged to commemorate this day and live with the spirit of never giving  up on the wrongdoings we find  ourselves among in our society. In order to safe-keep a better  future , we need to stand up for  the rights of our children always.

  “On this day, we remember the sacrifice of hundreds of students killed by shootings done by the security forces on a protest to the poor quality education around South Africa.

   “.Education  is universal. It cannot be neglected and cannot be segregated under any means. This day helps us to remember that we need to ensure proper education for all of our children, always  It helps us stand against discrimination  based on gender, sex, colour, any means  of segregation  and discrimination needs to stop.

This day helps us to remember that we should stand for fair and equal opportunities for everyone. 

  “We should educate ourselves on the  reason we should protest against the  discrimination, segregation  and should always make sure that we give compulsory, child-friendly, free and mandatory education to all children in Africa”, she said.

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