Network of Reproductive Health Journalists, Nigeria (NRHJN) has challenged Federal Government to protect the dignity of women and end all forms of insecurity, inequality, biases and stereotypes limiting achieving their full potentials.
The group in a statement signed by its President Yinka Shokunbi and National Secretary, Sekinah Lawal, to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day tasked all stakeholders to restore the dignity of Nigerian women by choosing to challenge all forms of insecurity that compromise life goals and ambitions.
According to the group of media advocates,
“The incessant kidnap, abduction and sexual assaults on women and school girls especially by bandits and insurgents in Northern part of Nigeria, enslaving girls for child labour, as well as trafficking in the South, including all forms of gender-based violence in the country are nothing but harms and threats that limit or cut short the potentials of our girls and women in Nigeria.
“NRHJN has chosen to challenge all of these unhealthy man-made developments”, the statement reads.
The media advocates noted, “The heightened insecurity all around the country in which women and girls are kidnapped and abducted from schools, highways, on their farms and homes for ransom are also worsening the Sexual and Reproductive Health issues of women and girls amidst covid-19 pandemic.
“Kidnapped women and girls are raped and assaulted at will while being exposed to infections and unwanted pregnancies at will.
“In addition to families paying the captives ransom before loved ones are freed, the violators of the dignity of Nigerian women are never found or apprehended for prosecution of crimes against rights of these women and girls. These inhuman crimes are inimical to the healthy future of Nigerian women.
“Nigerian women and girls deserve safe spaces to be able to build a virile nation and attain their potential heights as their counterparts all over the world.
The Network describes, cultural stereotypes and barriers such as preference for male child as limitations that hinder the girl-child from accessing the full potentials of her reproductive health circle as well as and natural rights to human dignity.
The Network says, it expects all concerned, to continue to protect the dignity of women and girls and give them more opportunities to enable them contribute meaningfully to the nation’s development.
The group is asking the three tiers of governments to do more to protect the sexual and reproductive health rights of all Nigerians, especially of women and girls from predators by ensuring all states pass the VAPP Act and Child’s Right Act which give access to justice and equity in all forms of gender-based violations and protect the dignity of women.
The group is also clamouring for the availability and access to family planning services for all women in safe and secured environment at all times as well as access to choice of medical protection that will ensure women can protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies and achieve full potentials of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at all times”.
The media advocates call for increase in funding capability of government as well as release of budgeted funds for Family Planning services to enhance access to modern contraceptives by married women and sexually active youths and prevent unwanted pregnancies that increase deaths from unsafe abortion.
The Network noted that family planning can prevent at least 34 per cent maternal deaths as it is incontrovertible that family planning is a life saver for women and children with the current 17 per cent contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) too poor (2018 NDHS).
“As media advocates, it is our belief that an equal world is an enabled world. Hence, all hands must be on deck to challenge all forms of violence against women and children as we celebrate the 2021 International Women’s Day”.