By Ogochukwu Anioke, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State government has lamented the increase in child stealing and violence against women, girls and children in the state.
It raised alarm over increasing cases of child stealing in the state adding that over 30 cases of child stealing were recorded in last one in the state.
Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Cletus Ofoke stated this on Monday in Calabar, Cross River State capital.
He spoke at a four-day Media Dialogue on ethical reporting and advocacy to eliminate violence against women and girls.
Represented by the Ministry’s Desk Officer in charge of Child Abuse/Trafficking, Bar Ijeọma Mike-AjaNwachukwu, the Commissioner said gender based violence is becoming a menace in the State.
Mrs AjaNwachukwu harped on the need for the media to follow up reports their reports on cases of gender based violence to ensure that there is a logical conclusion to such cases.
She called for concerted efforts and vigilance by the people to end the scourge.
“Children are being abused and the perpetrators are living in our environment, what are we doing about it as media practitioners? Children are being stolen and mothers suffer it most. What have you done about it as journalists? In our ministry, we have over 30 cases of stolen children, child stealing is on the increase in our state,” she said
Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba represented by DSP Loveth Okinor-Ogbuanya said gender based violence is an offence and it is a duty of all to report offenders to the Police.
Khadijah Ibrahim Nuhu, the Joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Communications Coordinator at UNICEF, charged journalists in attendance at the event to open up in discussions with the Spotlight Initiative partners and resource persons so that they can deepen their role in promoting an end to Violence Against Women and Girls(VAWGs)
She noted that it was important for journalists to move beyond reportage of incidences of violence against women and girls and begin to do investigative journalism, be more invested in the issue of VAWGs through advocacy and solutions journalism.
In his presentation at the workshop, the United Nations Children’s Fund Child Specialist Victor Atuchukwu persists in Nigeria due to deeply entrenched cultural practice and beliefs in many communities in the country which vary across the communities with regional and ethnic variations in prevalence.
He identified ignorance and limited knowledge of the harmful nature of the phenomenon as well as existing laws against the practice as the reasons the act persists in the country.
The organization stated this at a four-day media dialogue with media practitioners on ethical reporting and advocacy to eliminate violence against women and girls in Ebonyi and Cross River States.
Mr Atuchukwu further identified weak and poor enforcement of existing FGM laws, weak national and state level FGM response coordination bodies and financial gains as the reason the practice persists in Nigeria.
He explained that 2018 National Democratic Health Survey reveals that FGM among girls age 0-14 was the most common among girls whose mothers we circumcised, have no education and from the lowest wealth quintile.