FG Rolls Out Safeguards to Check GBV, Others

5th from left - Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister (Mrs) Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye and some Stakeholders with samples of the signposts designed for hotels, schools and hospitals during the Partnership Meeting
5th from left - Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister (Mrs) Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye and some Stakeholders with samples of the signposts designed for hotels, schools and hospitals during the Partnership Meeting

In its avowed determination to ensure the protection of the rights and privileges of women, children and the vulnerable in society, the Federal Government has unveiled some stringent measures towards addressing the issues related to child abuse and sexual harassment amongst others.

The Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister (Mrs) Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye disclosed this Thursday in her office when she met with relevant stakeholders cutting across educational institutions, hotel management, hospital facilities and Non-Governmental Organisations.

She stated that the meeting was imperative, especially as it will provide the opportunity to brainstorm on the way forward towards bringing an end to the alarming increase on issues relating to child labour and abuse, sexual molestation among others.

Kennedy-Ohanenye who expressed dismay at the constant harassment of children through various forms of bullying, observed that this affects their psychological and physical development and is thus capable of preventing them from attaining their optimal height as future leaders of the nation.

While unveiling the safeguards which the Minister said should be placed in schools, hotels and hospitals, Kennedy-Ohanenye called on the Management of various health institutions to partner with the federal government in its commitment, not only to end sexual and gender based issues, but also give prompt attention to emergency cases in order to protect the lives of citizens.

These safeguards, she said, include inscriptions at these service centres namely,
“No Under Aged Girl or Children is allowed for lodging in hotels”, “No bullying allowed in Schools”, “No sex for grades”, “No rejection of emergency patients by hospitals”, respectively.

Kennedy-Ohanenye informed that to ensure quicker dispensation of justice for perpetrators of these crimes, the Ministry will collaborate with the State Chief Judges and Attorney General to fine tune the modalities for the launch of the mobile court starting with the pioneer States of FCT, Anambra and Osun.

While urging the stakeholders to collaborate with government by ensuring strict compliance with the new regulations to ensure the safety and protection of women and children in the country, the Minister released phone numbers to be contacted when any of the rules are breached to enable the law take its cause on the perpetrators.

In his remarks, the Honourable Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate commended the initiative, noting that it would go a long way in ensuring the protection of the underage while also curtailing issues related to child abuse, labour and all forms of violence against women.

Represented by the Director Overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, he called on the hotel and school owners to join hands with the federal government in its determination to ensure the safety of its citizens, especially the women and children, adding that on its part, the Ministry will ensure the compliance of health facilities in the treatment of emergencies.

Responding, the National President of Hotel Owners Association, Dr. Patrick Anyanwu, applauded the Minister’s initiative assuring that their association in all the 36 states of the Federation, including the FCT, Abuja will comply with regulation prohibiting the lodging of underage girls and children in hotels.

According to him, the move will contribute significantly to the reduction of sexual and gender based violence in the country.

Participants at the Partnership Meeting were drawn from the Ministries of Education, Health, Owners of Schools, Hotels, Health facilities, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs)

Mrs. Grace Njoku
Head, Information and Public Relations