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CHILD RIGHTS AND PROTECTION: A NEED TO END CHILD LABOR TODAY.

 

CHILD RIGHTS AND PROTECTION: A NEED TO END CHILD LABOR TODAY.

By Yua Miriam

‘Mama Maya (not a real name) good morning o, ‘where is Maya and Samuel?’ Mama Maya’s friend asked. ‘They have gone out to sell some firewood, times are hard you know’ She lets out a short laugh.  Her friend’s countenance changed as she screams on top of her voice saying ‘these children are not even up to 10years of age… how could you…Don’t you realize its Child Labor?  Mama Maya looked lost. She adjusted her wrapper and asked. ‘What is Child Labor self?

Mama Maya is not alone in the failure to grasp or come to terms with what exactly Child Labour connotes. Child Labour in its simplest terms means the engagement of a child or children to undertake tasks mental or physical with the aim of earning some payment.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) report of 2013, Child Labor is any work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and or interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.

According to the same report, globally there are over 168 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 working when they should not. Over 10.8 % or 15 million of these children are Nigeria which has the highest rate of working children in Africa. The ILO report says that they are involved in some of the worst forms of child labor exploitation including misuse as soldiers in armed conflicts.

Several factors are responsible for the prevalence of child labor in Nigeria of which poverty is obviously an overriding factor. According to Wikipedia, poverty is the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. All over the World, Children are prone to the effects of poverty more than adults as such, most parents resort to forcing their children out of school to be employed as early as the age of 7 for extra income to augment life. These children engage in menial jobs such as farming, hawking, begging, and carrying heavy loads, etc. oftentimes, these affect them physically, psychologically and even their health-wise. Furthermore, it exposes them to child trafficking, traffic accidents leading to serious injuries or death, prostitution, early marriage, gambling, arm robbery and so many more.

Large family sizes can also contribute to the practice of child labor. In countries like Nigeria where men marry more than one wife and have many children as they want, it becomes economically difficult for the parents to cater to the basic needs of these children thereby creating an atmosphere for the children to go out and hustle in the streets to make ends meet.

Another cause of child labor is a broken family, so many families have broken up. Some couples have separated or divorced while some are having marital issues. Oftentimes, these domestic conflicts affect the Parents’ ability to properly manage their families leading to the exposure of the Children to danger including exposure to Child labor.

Another reason for the prevalence of Child Labor in Nigeria is the failure of Sub National Governments to domesticate and fully implement the Child Rights Act 2003 as passed by the National Assembly. Since the passage of the act, only a few states have domesticated the act and fewer more have fully implemented the same. The law was passed to protect the Nigeria Child from abuses and other forms of discrimination. 17 years after its passage, the fate of the Nigerian Child has not improved significantly yet.

Recommendations

Given the above, therefore, the following are the recommendations as a panacea towards Child Abuse in Nigeria

  • The full implementation of the Child Rights Act 2003 at all levels of Governance in Nigeria
  • Advocacy on State Actors on the need to strengthen Child Protection systems in Nigeria
  • A robust sensitization and awareness creation of the issue of Child Rights with a focus on Child labor should be put in place at all levels of Governance in Nigeria
  • Establishment of Family Courts and Child rehabilitation centers at levels in Nigeria
  • A robust economic empowerment strategy for Families especially single Mothers should be put in place by Governments at all levels in Nigeria

Conclusion:

Child Rights and Child Labour is everybody’s responsibility in Nigeria. The failure to protect children is deemed as a failure to protect the future. As such, all stakeholders including State and Non-State Actors should put in efforts to protect the rights of the Nigerian Child today and forever.

Mama Maya heaves a sigh after being sensitized on Child Rights by her Friend.  She resolved to end the malaise as soon as her children return home tonight.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

GLOBAL AWARENESS ABOUT ALBINISM &SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION.

GLOBAL AWARENESS ABOUT ALBINISM &SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION.

BY: ELVIS MOM

Albinism remains a global problem especially in Africa and in some parts of Asian countries; Albinism is still very well misunderstood in these part of the world due to their skin colour, their physical appearance is always seen and perceived differently both socially and medically, people with albinism are seen as ghosts in some parts of African communities, while some see them as the ones the gods have forsaken, they are sometimes used for sacrifices to appease the gods or sometimes banished from their communities. These acts have accelerated their social exclusion and other forms of abuse.

In some African communities, if a woman gives birth to a child with albinism she undergoes spiritual cleansing and other barbaric practices; for example, she will be compelled to sleep with the native doctor while some are been sent back to their parents.

This is because they are not aware that both parents must carry the gene to enable them to give birth to a child with albinism.  In some cases, children who are born with albinism are sometimes abandoned by their parents in other to appease the gods; this practice is done to appease the gods of the land. The global misunderstanding about people with albinism has led to multiple human rights violations against persons with albinism.

The implications of human rights violations faced by people with albinism worldwide have denied them social inclusiveness, right to access good medical services, right to education, right to legal representation, and other relevant human rights services. Their right to education is denied due to their poor vision; this sometimes forces them to drop out of school. Their inability to have a good vision is due to the low melanin in their skin which affects their sight, it is a genetic impairment that produces low melanin in their skin that affects their sight and not superstitious beliefs or an act of the gods against them.

People with albinism are often victims of violent attacks in many parts of African communities, some of these violations are largely not reported or documented, their families don’t even report to the appropriate authorities due to fear of been banished from their communities. Killings and attacks targeted against persons with albinism are a great concern for human rights defenders as their attackers get away with it, this further deepens their social exclusion in communities; such as the right to health services, education, and other social activities.

Truth about albinism

Albinism is rare; it is not contagious, albinism is a genetically inherited condition which occurs worldwide regardless of ethnicity or gender. It most commonly results in the lack of melanin pigment in the hair, skin, and eyes causing vulnerability to sun exposure. The physical appearance of persons with albinism is always subjected to numerous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition, which foster their marginalization and social exclusion. People with albinism are not ghosts neither are they been forsaken by the gods of the land, albinism is genetically inherited; the father and the mother must carry the gene to enable them to give birth to a child with albinism.

People with albinism are normal human beings like any other person, their skin colour differentiates them from other persons, and this is due to the low formulation of melanin which affects the eyes, hair, and the skin. They suffer poor vision and sometimes skin cancer due to the low melanin in their skin. It is therefore very in-human and barbaric to subject persons to multiple violations because of their skin pigmentation.

 

To enable persons with albinism enjoys their right to freedom and to overcome marginalization requires states to make comprehensive laws that will protect people with albinism.

 

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

COVID-19 NATIONAL RESPONSE: MOVING BEYOND LOCK DOWN TO FINDING A SOLUTION

COVID-19 NATIONAL RESPONSE: MOVING BEYOND LOCKDOWN TO FINDING A SOLUTION

BY BLESSING MASE       

There is no gainsaying the fact that COVID-19 has come to stay but how long it will stay, is a question this writer cannot answer. The strange thing about COVID-19 is the rapidity with which it spreads. Although it has been verified that COVID-19 is not airborne, it spreads like wildfire. Lockdown or no lockdown, COVID-19 keeps spreading.

During the period of total lockdown in Abuja, Lagos, and Ogun State, people tested positive. Even now, in this partial lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun State, many more citizens are still being tested positive. In fact, statistics show that since commencement of the partial lockdown to date, many more people have tested positive. This has made some citizens suggest that Nigeria should be totally locked down once again for some weeks. Their suggestion raises the question: “Should Nigeria be totally locked down again or should normalcy be restored?”

From the experience so far, total lockdown may help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 just as partial lockdown will, but it does not stop the spread completely. This writer is of the view that total lockdown in Nigeria once again is not advisable given the fact that many Nigerians have suffered greatly during the initial total lockdown period. A reenactment of the happenings is not advisable.

Just as President Muhammadu Buhari announced some weeks ago, what we should be thinking about now is how we can deal with COVID-19 pandemic without asking Nigerians to stay at home.

The Madagascar Example

Madagascar is one of the African countries that is not hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Madagascar is not locked down. Her citizens are going about their normal businesses. Children are going to schools. COVID-19, a disease that has defied powerful nations of the world like the US, France, Italy, Spain, UK, etc, is no threat to Madagascar. This is because she has devised a way to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As at the time of writing this article (May 17, 2020), statistics show that Madagascar recorded 238 confirmed cases, had 112 recoveries, and recorded no single death form COVID-19. Madagascar, with a population of 25 million people, has proven that total lockdown may not be necessary. She has proven that instead of shutting down the entire country, a solution can be devised to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Madagascar’s way of dealing with COVID-19 pandemic without locking herself down is the application of a herbal cure she has discovered. The country’s Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (MIAR) developed the herbal cure which is called “COVID Organic.” It serves not only as a cure but as a vaccine. Doses of the herbal tonic are given to children at schools to protect them against contracting the virus.

The best we can have from a total lockdown is that it will reduce the spread of COVID-19. It does not completely stop the spread. The total lockdown has a terrible consequence on the citizens and on the economy. Talk about the collapse of businesses, loss of jobs, and untold hardship. If total lockdown cannot solve the problem, then, it is high time we moved beyond lockdown and start finding ways to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic without asking people to stay at home.

Recently, it was reported that the federal government imported Madagascar’s “COVID Organic” herbal cure, which NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control) is expected to test before it can be administered to Nigerians. This is a step in the right direction. It has been confirmed that the herbs from which the herbal tonic was produced are available in Nigeria. That being the case, it is advisable that the federal government provides financial support to our alternative medical practitioners to enable them produce a similar herbal cure in Nigeria. It is also advisable that Nigeria collaborate with Madagascar so that Nigerians can learn from Madagascar how to produce the herbal tonic.

If we have the COVID Organic herbal cure in Nigeria, COVID-19 would not be a threat, and Nigerians can go about their normal businesses knowing fully well that they are protected.

 

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

SUSAN OKPE: OPEN LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR GENERAL NIGERIA CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL

SUSAN OKPE: OPEN LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR GENERAL NIGERIA CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL

 

The Director-General,

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),

Plot 801, Ebitu Ukiwe Street,

Jabi,

Abuja.

 

Dear Sir,

 

RE- SUSAN OKPE: BENUE STATE COVID-19 INDEX CASE

Lawyers Alert is a Rights-Based Civil Society Organization made up of principally Lawyers and other professionals committed to the cause of Human Rights and access to justice.  Our vision is a developed Nigeria where Women and other vulnerable groups, are free from injustice. Our mission is the empowerment of women and other vulnerable groups on the knowledge of their rights and the means of enforcing same in a secure environment.

 

We write in regard to one Mrs. Susan Okpe, a female, Nigerian who has been under your care in the isolation centre, Abuja for over 50 days as at the time of writing this letter. We as other Nigerians are concerned about the continued detention of Mrs. Okpe in the isolation centre with very little information from the NCDC about the circumstances surrounding her case and the reason for her continuous detention. We refer to this as detention owing to her several videos stating so and her calls to Nigerians to intervene in her case.

 

Sir, kindly recall that on the 28th day of March 2020, the Benue State Government made public the case of one Mrs. Susan Okpe, as the index COVID-19 case in the State. Upon the announcement of the case, she was subsequently handed over to the National Centre for Disease Control and then transferred to the National Isolation centre in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. The Woman has been under isolation and supposed treatment.

 

Since then, it has been over 50 days and Mrs. Okpe is still under the care of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to the concern of Lawyers Alert and other Nigerians. Though we are not a health or medical-based organization, our modest knowledge suggests that patients with COVID-19 either get better or worse under treatment after 2-3 weeks, subsequent upon which they are discharged, or in the worst-case scenario they are pronounced dead. Mrs. Okpe’s case is getting protracted and a little overdue. She has been under treatment for over 50 days without any formal updates to her family and relations. Worse still, videos have been circulating on social media handles in which she has expressed strong displeasure over her protracted detention and refusal of the concerned persons to avail her of results and, or even offer her modest treatment.

The management of Mrs. Susan Okpe’s case by the NCDC leaves much to be desired with grave consequences.  This is not about Mrs. Susan Okpe alone but the messages the NCDC is sending out there to the members of the public on their treatment and management of COVID-19 in Nigeria. This situation has a lot of negative implications which includes but not limited to the following:

  • It will erode public confidence in the ability of the NCDC to effectively and efficiently manage COVID -19 thereby jeopardizing all the gains that have been made over the period.
  • It will instill fear, doubts, and disbelief in other Nigerians who may feel reluctant to come out for tests even when they have a need to.
  • It will also feed and embolden the merchants of conspiracy theories and fake news regarding COVID-19 in Nigeria in the justification of their claims
  • It will send a wrong signal to the international community about our approach to the pandemic in the country
  • It also indicates a violation of the rights of the Patient as she has expressed strong displeasure over her protracted stay at the isolation centre.

Based on the above, therefore, Lawyers Alert hereby demands that the NCDC within 7 days of the publication of this letter:

  • Disclose the true state of Mrs. Susan Okpes’ condition and the reason for her protracted detention at the centre. We concede that the issues of her health are confidential, however; this right is deemed waived as she has challenged the appropriate authorities through her videos on several social media platforms, on the authenticity of her detention with particular reference to her supposed Covid-19 status and the full disclosure of the findings of the NCDC.
  • Disclose the measures that NCDC is taking in the course of her treatment and the issues hindering her release from the Isolation centre. We equally concede that the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is by law empowered to isolate a confirmed case until they are fully satisfied with the recovery status. However, information to the patient, her relations, and other stakeholders are also very fundamental as a matter of right.
  • Put in place machinery to relocate Mrs. Susan Okpe to her Family as soon as possible.

Failure to respond to these issues, Lawyers Alert will have no choice but to approach the Courts towards the enforcement of the fundamental rights of Mrs. Susan Okpe.

 

We look forward to your swift response.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

VICTOR EBOH

Legal Officer.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Workers Day and Rights of Vulnerable Workers in Nigeria.

Workers Day and Rights of Vulnerable Workers in Nigeria

 

By Roseline Oghenebrume

There is a connection between human rights and employment: human rights will only be functional when a person’s source of livelihood is unhindered as this impact on rights to life, movement, peaceful assembly and association, privacy, and human dignity, liberty, property, etc. Even at this, an unhealthy working environment and poor terms of employment can and often undermine worker’s rights.

 

May 1st of every year is set aside as International Workers’ Day, also known as Workers’ Day or Labour Day to celebrate workers. This is commendable as it not only infuses dignity in labour but also emphasizes the need for best practices and enhances workers’ rights. While this is commendable, the question is, where is the place of the vulnerable worker in these celebrations? Someone will ask, who are Vulnerable Workers?

 

According to Lawrence Jeff Johnson of the International Labour Organization: Vulnerable employment is often characterized by inadequate earnings, low productivity, and difficult conditions of work that undermine workers’ fundamental rights.

HSE also defines vulnerable workers as those who are at risk of having their workplace entitlements denied, or who lack the capacity or means to secure them. Health and safety should not be used as an excuse to justify discriminating against certain groups of workers. From these definitions, one can safely relate vulnerability to Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV), Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), Women, Workers displaced by insurgencies/crisis, etc. If the above is true, are these groups of workers also part of the celebrations or a footnote?

Over time, it can be argued that vulnerable workers are at best a footnote in the celebrations and unseen. Workers’ rights, however, do also apply to them, including the dignity of labour, given their contributions at their various places of work. Workers Day celebration must, therefore, celebrate these sets of workers and employers of labour (Organized Private Sector and Government) must also in celebrating the Workers Day put in frameworks to protect the rights of the vulnerable workers.

Lawyers Alert in September 2018 using the HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act 2014 in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria got a groundbreaking judgment that specifically addressed the issue of termination of employment of vulnerable workers owing to their HIV status. The court held that workers cannot be terminated on account of their HIV status. The court also gave vulnerable workers the right to approach courts without disclosing their identity in the likely event of stigma and discrimination (Anonymity Order). This was in the case of Mr. X. vs Brinks. Mr. X. was terminated based on his HIV status and approached Lawyers Alert for the determination of his matter.

The judgment more than anything else calls for reflections on the place of the vulnerable worker in Nigeria today and the world at large. The 2020 May Day celebration presents a unique opportunity to celebrate the vulnerable worker focusing on this judgment, state of the law, compliance with these laws, including awareness creation on rights.

Nigeria has signed most of the United Nations treaties, obligations, in addition to ratifying most of International Labour Organization conventions, recommendations, etc. The majority of these provisions have either been domesticated in our various laws, policies, or enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. The questions are; What are the positive implications on or for vulnerable workers and human rights in Nigeria? Are these provisions being practically implemented or observed? what are the measures, sanctions, or enforcement mechanisms against non-implementation or infractions?

 

Vulnerable workers have over time suffered a lot of injustice by way of unfair labour practices including outright dismissal for no just cause. Their situation is worsened given that the labour union themselves are not particularly focused on the plight of their vulnerable members. Laws to protect vulnerable workers are hardly complied with even when they exist. The HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act 2014 in Nigeria for example, was passed to protect the vulnerable worker through the adoption of workplace policies by employers but has largely not been complied with. Another example is the Discrimination of Persons With Disability Act, 2018. This Act provides for the full integration of persons with disabilities into the society, this also has largely not been complied with.

The value for the Labour Force in Nigeria as of 2019 is about 70 million. According to ILO, the percentage of value for vulnerable women&men in workplaces are 84.98% and 72.54% respectively. Addressing issues of vulnerability in workplaces is critical as the percentage of each gender is above half i.e. above 50% each. Denying vulnerable Workers work-based rights is denying them their human rights because work-based rights are intended to ensure that all categories of employees regardless of social, sexual, age, racial, economic political, religious, cultural, and ethnic status are treated equally. They are not discriminated against, have equal opportunities and access to these opportunities. In essence, nobody is excluded from optimizing or accessing any of these rights either in the work environment or in outer society.

With the fast-rising value of the Labour Force in Nigeria, there is a heightened need for awareness creation on the rights of vulnerable workers towards enforcing their rights. The general public and employers of labours should be sensitized on an adequate understanding of the rights of the vulnerable workers in the workplace. Equally, employers of labour and government need to be sensitized on their roles in the fulfillment of these rights. There is also a need to engage Labour Unions, workers Advocates, and other Institutions/MDAs associated with enforcing employment rights to compel employers of labour and government institutions to have workplace policies that promote and respect the rights of vulnerable workers and to comply with existing Laws and Policies.

The UN Declaration on human rights and the ILO Declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work contain provisions to engender and advance human rights and workers’ rights, enhance equality between both male and female gender and guarantee equality for disadvantaged groups like women, disabled and minorities. Therefore, the celebration of May Day can only be inclusive if/when there is enhanced visibility of vulnerable workers’ rights especially to employers (Government and Organized Private Sector); there is Respect of vulnerable workers’ rights in Nigeria; and a strong Compliance with extant laws with regard to vulnerable workers’ rights in Nigeria.

Vulnerable Workers Rights are Human Rights!

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

COVID-19 NATIONAL RESPONSE: THE NEED FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS TO RESPECT CITIZENS’ RIGHTS

Coronavirus: Security forces kill more Nigerians than Covid-19 ...

COVID-19 NATIONAL RESPONSE: THE NEED FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS TO RESPECT CITIZENS’ RIGHTS

By BLESSING MASE

 

Introduction

At a time when national security and the cooperation of all citizens are vital, situation reports show that the law enforcement agents who were instructed to enforce the stay-at-home order of the Federal Government are violating the rights of citizens in various parts of Nigeria.

The stay-at-home order of President Muhammadu Buhari came in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and as it were, law enforcement agents were instructed to enforce the President’s Order.

Recall that in 2019, the first case of Corona Virus (COVID-19) was confirmed in the Chinese city of Wuhan and it was reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO). On 27 February 2020, here in Nigeria, an Italian national who came into the country was tested positive to the virus in Lagos State. Also, another case was confirmed in Ogun state when a Nigerian citizen who had contact with the Italian national contracted COVID-19. As a result of the high rise of the pandemic, the Federal Government decided to lockdown three states in the federation, namely Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja on the 23rd of March 2020. Many other states were locked down by their Governors. As at the time of writing this article, 305 Nigerians had been tested positive of COVID-19.

Human Rights Violation by Law Enforcement Agents

While the 14 days’ stay-at-home order continues, it was gathered authoritatively that law enforcement agents were very brutal in the course of discharging their duties. On the 9th of April 2020, a group of soldiers was seen chasing errant Abuja residents with rods because they defied the stay-at-home order. Three days later, some people were caught violating the stay at home. In another place, some young men that were caught violating the stay at home order were beaten mercilessly, inflicting injuries on all parts of their body. Women that came to sell food items, their food were destroyed and thrown away. These are people that come from poor homes and their means of livelihood depend on the petty business they do to survive. This is contrary to President Buhari’s order that food sellers and others whose services are indispensable should go about their normal businesses.

Recently, doctors working for Federal Medical Centres in Delta State have gone on an indefinite strike as a result of police molestation. Also, 4 people have been killed by police officers in Trikania community in Kaduna for violating Kaduna State’s stay at home order. To stop the spread of COVID-19, the Kaduna state government ordered a shutdown of social and economic activities last month. The joint task force enforcing the order had a confrontation with some of the youths in Trikania community in Kaduna on the 6Th of April 2020 in a market area. According to an eye witness, when things started getting out of hand, the joint task force invited the police for reinforcements. When they came and saw the situation, they have to shoot teargas canister to disperse the crowd. They were pelted with stones in retaliation. To calm the situation, the police later started using live bullets. That led to four people been killed and 10 critically injured. The angry youths have vowed to launch a reprisal against the Police. One of the victims who was shot in front of his house came out to know what the commotion was all about. When he rushed out of his house, a stray bullet pierced into his chest and he died instantly.

Conclusion

Sure, the Nigeria Police Force which is the principal law enforcement agency of the government is aware that molestation of any individual amounts to Human rights violation, especially if there is no reasonable justification for that. The police are aware that they are not expected to subject any citizen to degrading and inhuman treatment. Policemen are law-keepers and are not expected to violate the law. Ever since the outbreak of this deadly COVID-19, the medical personnel have been working tirelessly treating the affected victims and are permitted to move around to help reduce the spread.

We understand the difficult nature of the work of our law enforcement agents. Maintaining law and order is not easy. Sometimes their lives are in danger. Again, some Nigerians are non-compliant and will never comply with any law, regulation, or order. This can be frustrating. But as well-trained and highly disciplined professionals, policemen are expected to always be on top of situations. They should know when to shoot life bullets and when not to. They should know when to apply force and when not to. They should learn to be civil when enforcing the law. They should know when a person is breaking the law and when he is not. They should also be conversant with the instruction given to them.

The government needs to sensitize these law enforcement agencies on how to handle this lockdown situation. The police and soldiers who are supposed to be protecting the citizens are the ones killing the citizens. While we appreciate the efforts of our law enforcement agents in enforcing the stay at home order, we cannot lose sight of the fact that they ought to discharge their duties lawfully and at the same time respect the fundamental human rights of citizens. This is professionalism and we cannot expect anything less.

God bless Nigeria!

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

THE EFFECTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

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THE EFFECTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

By Yua Miriam

It was on a Monday afternoon, when Agatha and Isaac returned from the farm. Isaac took his bath and fell on the bed to rest, Agatha was so exhausted and wanted to rest but she could not because she needed to prepare lunch. Her 7months old baby was crying seriously and in need of attention. As she was attending to her, Isaac stood up from where he was laying and started yelling at her stating that he is hungry and she is busy attending to the baby. Before Agatha could say a word Isaac grabbed one of her hands and jerked her out of their bed. It was at this point that his verbal abuse moved from her not preparing lunch at the time he wanted, to her incompetence as a wife. When Isaac started beating her with his fists, she used her arms to protect her 7months old baby from getting hurt by her husband she quickly dropped the baby on bed and ran to the sitting room where she fell and dislocated one of her arms. She experienced this violent attack by her husband in the fifth year of her eighth years in marriage. It was one of many incidences that occurred during their marriage and it is typical of violence that is referred to as Violence against Women.

According to the United Nations, Violence Against Women is any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.

Population-level surveys based on reports from victims provide the most accurate estimates of the prevalence of intimate partner violence and sexual violence. A 2013 analysis conduct by WHO with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the South Africa Medical Research Council, used existing data from over 80 countries and found that worldwide, 1 in 3, or 35% of women have experienced physical and or sexual violence by an intimate partner or non-partner sexual violence. Globally, as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. In addition to intimate partner violence, globally 7% of women report having been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner, although data for non-partner sexual violence are more limited. Intimate partner and sexual violence are mostly perpetrated by men against women.

Violence against women occurs on a daily basis, at home, workplace, school even on the street. This violence most at times causes long term physical and mental health problems to the survivors of the abuse and it does not just affects the women involved but also their children, families and even communities. Many women are forced to leave their homes because of violence from their partners. Most women and children become homeless because of violence from their intimate partners.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, humans are forced to stay at home as a precautionary measure. It is speculated that more violence against women will be perpetrated this period. Therefore, government agencies and civil societies intervening in Violence against Women should double efforts in curbing the peril.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Government should create awareness or educate citizens on the dangers/consequences of violence against women.
  2. Women should be educated on what to do when the need arises.
  3. Machinery and systems should developed towards the monitoring and documentation of violence against Women
  4. All Sub National Governments in Nigeria should domesticate and fully implement the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act in their various States
  5. Offenders of the VAPP Act at both National and Sub National should be punished to the full extent of the law to serve as deterrent to others.

Suddenly, Isaac heard a knock on the door when he opened it he saw three Police Officers. Isaac you are under arrest for violence against your wife and you are to remain silent or anything you say will be used against you in the court of law. As he is towed away by the Cops, Agatha looks with relief on her face.

 

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT WOMEN INCLUSIVITY??

QUESTION: WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT WOMEN INCLUSIVITY??

BY: ELLEN ONUGHA ESQ

BACKGROUND

Women are mothers of nations and generations. To groom a woman is to build a nation. Women are great influencers of positive changes. A nation that neglects women is a fallen nation.

If a woman can take charge of a position as vital and sensitive as home caretaking, there is no doubt that she would do as good in society management/societal issues, hence women are better positioned for decision making. The participation of women in governance has been hindered by cultural barriers that cannot be addressed in any way other than through cultural reorientation. These barriers have caused sexual harassment of women at workplaces, and have also instilled a sense of insufficiency and incapability in women.

 

MAIN BODY

In Nigeria, women constitute nearly half of the population of the country. Also in Nigeria, 51% of women are involved in voting during elections. Despite these, women are greatly underrepresented in both elective and appointive positions. In line with the declaration made at the Fourth World Conference on women in Beijing which advocated 30% AffirmativeAction, the extant National Gender Policy (NGP) of Nigeria, recommended 35% AffirmativeAction instead and sought for a more inclusive representation of women with at least 35% of both elective political and appointive public service positions respectively.

Statistics show that overall women’s political representation in government of Nigeria is less than 7%, showing that Nigeria has not attained 30% affirmative action as prescribed by the Beijing Platform action, not to mention her personal undertaking to exceed the world AffirmativeAction by 5%.

The under-representation of women in political participation gained root due to the patriarchal practice inherent in our society, much of which was obvious from the pre-colonial era to date.

In the last election, out of 22 female vice-presidential candidates, 232 female senatorial and 532 female House of Representative’s standard-bearers, who contested, only 7 made it to the senate and 22 to the House of Representatives. Comparing this to the U.S.A and China, the positions are disparate.

Globally, it has been recognized that inclusivity in political participation is a fundamental aspect of modern democracy. Improved representation of women has been shown to have benefits such as improved policy changes, economic growth, enhanced peacebuilding, and a more egalitarian society.

One can see that countries, where women are part of the decision-making process, are more prone to succeed.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Cultural beliefs from justifying domestic violence, to considering it unacceptable for women to work outside the home need to shift for women to improve their statuses.
  2. The suggestion above has not the intention of recognizing the need for continuous awareness of young women who they are and what they can achieve.
  3. Women who have political experience or are in politics should see it as a duty to groom young women while integrating them into their political spaces.

 

CONCLUSION

For a proper understanding of the word “Development”, one needs to think “Inclusivity”. We cannot pretend to not understand what is evident as a solution to our problem as a nation.

The disenfranchisement of women in politics is intentional, and it must be with intentions too that we make amends.

 

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Social Justice and Human Rights

By Kyenpya Katkuk Esq

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Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political, social rights and opportunities.

It may be broadly understood as fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth.

Social justice refers to:
1. Equal rights
2. Equal opportunities
3. Equal treatment.

Bearing in mind the theme of this year’s Social Justice Day ” Closing the Inequalities Gap ” I would be sharing some interesting facts that would be gender specific to women and how to close the inequality gap.

Gender inequality in Nigeria is influenced by different cultures and beliefs. In some parts of Nigeria women are considered subordinate to their male counterparts. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not just a basic human right but it is crucial for a sustainable future.

Poor countries have a monopoly on gender inequality. There are significant disparities in health, education and bargaining powers within marriage in countries with low GDP per capita.

According to the World Economic Forum here are some interesting facts :

1. Women are 47% more likely to suffer car crashes in a car because car safety features are designed for men.

2. 33,000 girls become child brides everyday.
This vary between communities because girls are not valued as highly as boys and marrying them at a young age transfers the economic burden to another family.

3. Women in rural parts of Africa  spend more time collecting water to help their household. Due to the lack of infrastructure, combined with the expectations that women should meet up to their household duties and limited employment opportunities for women means that they shoulder unequal burden of gathering firewood and water for their families.

4. Only 6 countries give women equal legal working rights as men.

Belgium, Denmark, France,Luxembourg and Sweden.
A typical economy gives women three quater of the rights of men in measured areas.

5. 22% of all Professionals are women compared with 78% who are male. This accounts for the gender gap that reflects in the STEM skills gap.
Researchers say that “Women usually avoid scientific pursuits because of their self views”.

Inequality remains one of the biggest obstacles to shared prosperity. No country, no economy, no company, or community can meet today’s  challenges or achieve its potential until it’s people can achieve theirs.

According to the World Economic Forum, it would take about 108 years to close the gender gap. The biggest gaps to close are in the economic and political empowerment dimensions which would take 202 and 107 years to close.

Conclusively, when women and girls are valued as much as boys and men, when countries invest in their health, education and skills training, when they give women greater opportunities to participate in the economy, manage incomes, own and run businesses, give access to land and loan facilities. The benefits would cause a ripple effect to their children, families, communities and to the economy and thus the, issues of social justice such as equal rights, equal opportunities and equal treatment would would aid in closing the gap.

Recommendations:

1. More women should be empowered and have access to infrastructures like health and education.
2. More girls should be enrolled in schools to hinder child marriage.

3. More girls should be encouraged to take STEM related courses.

4. There should be an increase in women’s political participation.

5. Organizations and businesses should employ more women compared to men to close the gender gap.

6. Women should support other women.

7.  Family friendly policies should be put in place in organizations and businesses to optimize women’s productivity in the workplace.

8. Challenge stereotypes and gender norms.

Kyenpya Katkuk is the Executive Director of Girl to Woman Development Initiative.

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that this article is based on the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

 

 

 

 

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CONSTANCE NKWOCHA & 15 ORS V. THE FCT MINISTER & 5 ORS: JUDGEMENT IMPLICATIONS AND WAY FORWARD

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IMPLICATIONS

Following the recent judgement from the afore-stated case, it is without ambiguity or misunderstanding inconsistent with any law in Nigeria misinterpreting the criminality or otherwise of sex work in Nigeria.

Before judgement was given in the instant case, sex work was dragged by agencies of the Nigerian government as constituting an offence without any substantial legal backing.

Judgement from this case would do the following:

  1. Hopefully guide Nigerian government agencies in their operations against women whom they perceive as being sex workers
  2. Guide other Nigerian courts in delivering judgements in cases of similar nature
  3. Go a long way in assisting human rights defenders in taking up cases of similar nature, in Nigeria

WAY FORWARD

While Lawyers Alert is exploring the possibilities of going on appeal, it has met with Heartland Alliance International on the possible way forward for the above stated judgement and how best to execute possible plans. However, for enormous success to emerge from this development, all hands must be on deck. Stakeholders working on issues of this nature are encouraged to be part of this process.

Consequently, there is need for other International Development Actors to encourage the process by joining Lawyers Alert and Heartland Alliance International to maximize this rare opportunity in eradicating all forms of discrimination against sex workers, as well as prevent subsequent and foreseen mayhem which may arise.

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that all articles on this page are of the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

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