Sunday, March 15, 2020

Northern government lacks commitment to protect children, women - ITREALMS

Stakeholders have decried the fact that governments across all states in the northern part of Nigeria lack the commitment to protect children and women, reports ITREALMS.

This was the highlights of the One-Day Consultative Meeting on Women and Countering Violent Extremism in the North East organised by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Abuja with the support of Norwegian Agency for Development and Cooperation (NORAD).

Speaking, a consultant on the matter, Prof. Patricia Donli, lamented that some children in the Northeast have known nothing but violence, explaining that the lack of implementation of relevant laws that protects that protects the rights of children has given rise to varying degrees of abuses.

"Rape cases are on the increase in the North East. We have four cases in Maiduguri IDPs alone last week. Just recently two sisters were raped by a teacher, a little boy was nailed on his head. General hospitals smell so bad because of girls suffering from VVF due to child marriage," Donli said.

She regrets that 11 northern states are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act (CRA) enacted in 2003 and the VAPP Act and even in states which have, implementations have been very slow due to lack of coordination among actors and political will from government.

Donli urged states government not to see these policies as acts that promotes child rights but see it as policies that will he used to protect their children and place priority on them. She also called for increased awareness on the law among the populace.

Speaking further on the state of violence and conflicts across the country, Donli bemoaned the poor participation of women in Countering Violent Extremism, despite the unique role they play in restoring peace.

She recalled that Nigeria launched its second National Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSC1235 and related resolutions on 9 May 2017, for the period between 2017 and 2020. NAP being one of the most powerful tools governments, multilateral organizations, and civil society have to increase the inclusion of women in politics and peacebuilding, and the protection of women and girls in times of war, was domesticated to State level State Action Plan (SAP) she said.

She however said only four states in the North East has the SAP to include Boronu, Gombe, Yobe, Adamawa. This according to is due to a lack of political will in the part of government.

Donli also noted that the awareness level of SAP is very low hence the need for sensitisation. "even if this places have SAP, the implementation is very poor, you find out that people are not even aware of its existence."

She also highlighted a lack of planned budget as a constraint in the domestication and implementation of the law.

Speaking, the National Coordinator, WANEP-Nigeria, Ms. Bridget Osakwe, regrets that women and girls bear most of the brunt of violence, yet are excluded in the peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes.

Osakwe explained that, in the North East geo-political zone, violent extremism has increased in tenacity from unabated attacks from the violent extremist group Boko Haram.

"Since the inception of this Islamic extremist group in 1995, it has continued to intensify attacks in the North-Eastern States and other parts of Nigeria. Over 40,000 Nigerians have been killed in more than 2,300 incidents reflecting a wide range of ethnic, religious, political and economic tensions across large portions of the country.

"This accounts for almost 40% of the total deaths more than any other source of social violence in the country," she said.

The head of programmes, WANEP, Ms. Patience Obaulo, however informed that the project seeks to promote women’s participation in countering violent extremism to advance the implementation of Nigeria National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 at the local level in North East Nigeria.

She stressed that the role of women relating to countering violent extremism (CVE) is a critical security issue that directly relates to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and the eight supporting resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, most notably UNSCR 2242 and 2349.


Uju N. Dominic/Editor

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