Abuja – Mrs Hauwa Shekarau, the National President, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), has called for the implementation of existing laws in the country to reduce violence against children.
Shekarau made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
She said the implementation of existing laws and treaties signed by the country would alleviate the nagging problems faced by vulnerable people, especially children, in the society.
She added that “there is a gap between the law and practice, we have laws but we also have challenges with some of the laws.
“The laws that we have today, if implemented, will go a long way in changing things in this country.
“That is why we want all hands to be on deck to ensure that the laws we have today are implemented.
“Enough of talking about just laws, what we need is to ensure that they are implemented.’’
The FIDA boss said the country should refrain from adopting laws and signing treaties merely to gain recognition at the international community.
Shekarau recalled the non-domestication of the Child Rights Act in some states of the federation, adding that its implementation was vital to the protection of the Nigerian child.
“Violence against children is mainly carried out by people the children are familiar with and most families will choose to settle such cases within the family level.
`There are clear cases where you hear of child abuse, violence against children, sexual harassment and sexual violence against children.
“When these matters are taken to the police, before you know it, the issue of family comes in, particularly where the perpetrator of that sexual violence is a family member.
“They just want to find a way of covering up and the perpetrators go scout free. We need to insist that our laws as they currently are, should be implemented.’’
She urged care givers to ensure that they nip the issue of violence on children in the bud and live up to their responsibilities of protecting them.
She noted that “care givers must ensure that they are alive to their responsibilities; you cannot call yourself a caregiver when at every point in time you don’t know where your child is.
“Parents need to find a balance between work and the family, as long as children are children, they need care, they need protection and they need the elderly ones to provide, care and protect them.
“Being a parent and care giver is being more practical.’’ (NAN)