AFJN is in Enugu, Nigeria to galvanize the energies of Catholic nuns across the country to wake up the public and the government to the increasing violence against women and children in that state. In 2015, The TAMAR Sexual Assault Referral recorded more than 400 cases of sexual abuse of women and girls. Current statistics showed rising cases of violence against women and children, particularly sexual abuse of minors in the state. The State domesticated the national law that prohibits any forms of violence against women and children but this is not being implemented.
Today, the last day of the strenuous workshop, the sisters with invited representatives of Catholic women organization and young Catholic girls association in Enugu Diocese say that they are angry, fed up and fired to end the structures of injustice that exploit and dehumanize the citizens, particularly women and children in that state. The group is now openly speaking out against all forms of violence against women and children – human trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation, domestic violence, child labor, selling of babies, and the likes.
The participants paid an advocacy visit to various arms of the state government – the State Governor, the Commissioner for Gender and Women Affairs, the Commissioner for Justice, and the State Police Commissioner, condemning the rising cases of violence against women and children. They particularly advocating for the implementation of the Child’s Right Act that has been passed in the state. They are asking the “powers to be” in the state to use their good offices to protect its citizens, particularly the mothers and future mothers of the nation by implementing the national and state laws that prohibit any forms of violence against women and children.
The sisters acknowledged that the workshop is already yielding fruits because they found courage and strength from the workshop to step beyond their comfort zone (silent presence) to speaking out their mind in the open and to the “powers to be”. After the sisters’ engagement of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), challenging them for the agency’s silence in the face of human trafficking, child abuse and sale of babies in the state, the agency, today, took to one of the local markets and the streets to sensitive and educate the people about the evil of trafficking in person and the likes.
“Corrupt public officials must be treated as thieves – cleric – News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)”