Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Abuja mothers on Saturday, stormed the streets of Abuja in protest against increased cases of child abuse and other related violence against children.
The women, who were carrying various placards with bold inscriptions such as: “The child is the victim no matter the excuse”, “Stop the silence”, “End the molestation”, “Shatter the silence”, “Report molestation”, “Uphold the Child Rights Act always”, and so on, called on the Federal Government to uphold part 111 of Child Rights Act.
The convener, Happiness Ani, who led the protest, said the women chose to use the platform to raise awareness on the need for collective efforts to rescue the future generation.
She said she was convinced that the protest would go a long way to enlighten Nigerians on the need to protect children against sexual abuse and expose perpetrators for adequate punishment.
Ani said that three out of every five girls and one out of every five boys are molested before the age of 18 and perpetrators do not come as masquerades or strangers but people that are likely acquainted to the victims.
“Child molestation is one of the silent crimes and this is due to the misplaced fear of stigmatisation.
“We appealed to Federal Government to uphold the part 111 of Child Rights Act adopted by Nigeria in 2003, which prohibits every form of sexual abuse and child exploitation, to reduce the menace which is destroying the future of the children,” she said.
A stakeholder, Helen Akpeyere, called on the government to put a stiffer penalties for perpetrators of child molestation.
“We appeal to the public and the government to stand up against this menace which is destroying our children,” she said.
She also bemoaned the judicial system for not giving quick justice to victims of child abuse.