FG assures of commitment to protection of rights of women, children

The minister spoke on Monday in Abuja at a capacity building workshop on the African Charter on Human and People’s Right (Maputo Protocol).

Senator Aisha Alhassan, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, says the Federal Government is committed to the protection of rights of vulnerable persons, particularly women and children, in line with international laws.
The minister spoke on Monday in Abuja at a capacity building workshop on the African Charter on Human and People’s Right (Maputo Protocol).
The workshop was organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission.
The minister, who was represented by the Director, Legal Services in the ministry, Helen Obayagbo, said that Nigeria had achieved great strides in implementing the provisions of the Maputo Declaration.
The Maputo Declaration seeks to guarantee the rights of African women.
Alhassan said: “I wish to assure you that the ministry will continue to do all within its mandate to remove any situation or condition that militates against the full development of its target groups.
“We will also continue to work with relevant stakeholders and other credible organisations/ donor partners to advance the cause of women, children, the elderly and people living with disabilities.”
She added that efforts by the government at ensuring compliance included the enactment of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act in 2015 and other accompanying actions to popularise the law across Nigeria.
The minister enjoined participants to take a critical look at issues relating to the rights of the girl-child, vulnerable children and women and to proffer long lasting solutions to such issues.
Abdulrahman Yakubu, Director, Protection and Investigation, NHRC, who spoke, said Nigeria, as a party to the protocol had an obligation to report periodically to the regional and international bodies.
He said that Nigeria needed to report to such bodies as the African Commission on Human and Peoples Right, steps it had taken to give effect to the treaty within its borders.
Yakubu who was represented by Yemisi Akhile, said the country had an obligation to share with the commission challenges that affected the implementation of the treaty.
He said: “Giving effect to the treaty means taking measures to ensure that the treaty is domesticated and implemented, thereby ensuring that all persons within its territory enjoy the rights enshrined in these treaties.”
Prof. Michelo Hansungule of the University of Pretoria, told the News Agency of Nigeria that signatories to the African Charter had an obligation to report to the African Commission every two years.
According to him, they are to report about what they are doing in their various countries to secure the rights of the people, particularly women and children.
Hansungule added that in the state reporting process, each country was expected to evaluate and reflect on how it had handled issues of human rights.
He commended Nigeria for being one of the countries that was up to date with its report.
NAN reports that the Maputo Protocol, guarantees comprehensive rights to women, including the right to take part in the political process as well as social and political equality with men.
It also guarantees improved autonomy in their reproductive health decisions and an end to female genital mutilation.
The protocol was adopted by the African Union in the form of a protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Right in Maputo, Mozambique on July 11, 2003 by 37 countries.