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Groups decry children abandonment in Plateau

From Teryima Ajijah, Jos

The trio of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), and Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) have lamented that 247 children have been abandoned by their parents and guardians in Plateau State.

This was made known by the Plateau state Director, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Grace Pam, state Chairperson, Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Obioma Achilefu and state Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs Nene Dung in a joint press conference held Monday at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Plateau Council Press Centre, Jos.

Collectively, the three women human rights advocates called for the rights of children and other human rights violation in Plateau state to be stopped.

They charged citizens to embark on whistle blowing against suspected cases of child abuses within their locations. They equally called for speedy dispensation of justice for such cases, and persons who are found guilty of the offense be punished accordingly to serve as deterrence to others.

Speaking, Pam said the statistics of the affected children was gathered between the months of January to October 2022. She said none of the suspected perpetrators have been prosecuted, because the cases are still being investigated.

She stated that a 4-year-old child lost 4 upper teeth, due to molestation by a care giver.

The NHRC director also said it is not just the girl child that is being molested. She informed that male children are also victims of inhuman treatment.

In her remark, NAWOJ chairperson in the state said sadly, that Plateau State government has no “Safe Home” thereby making victims of child abuse more vulnerable.

Mrs Dung worried that the Child Law implemented in the state since 2016 as a means of protecting children against molestation in the state seems not to be effective.

The NAWOJ chairperson reported a molestation case of a 17-year-old girl, who was imprisoned in a room within Jos North Local Government Area for months without food.

She advocated for a collective fight against child labour, insisting that anyone found guilty of such act should be prosecuted.

On her part, Plateau state FIDA chairperson assured that their association shall continue to provide voluntary services to human rights abuses, particularly those that affect minors.

Achilefu said the case of an 11-year-old girl, Margaret Joshua, who was recently beaten to death at Vom, Jos South Local Government Area by her guardian, a mother of two has been taken up by the association.

According to her, the law stipulates that children below the ages of 18 should not be allowed to be engaged as house helps, nor carry out manial jobs no matter the condition.

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