The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria on Wednesday called for increased efforts toward empowerment of girl-child in the country.
The National President of FIDA, Ms Inime Aguna, made the call in a statement to commemorate the 2017 International Day of the Girl-child in Abuja.
The theme is: “Empower Girls: Before, During and After Crisis.’’
“Conflict, instability and inequality continue to taint the fabric of our communities.
“From displaced women and girls in the North and South-South to girls exploited for various purposes across the country, millions of our girl-children face the woes of a system that has failed its own.
“We would all agree that displacement and exploitation leave our girls at higher risks of all forms sexual and gender-based violence.
“For over 53 years of its existence, FIDA in Nigeria has continued to lend its voice to the vulnerable women and children in Nigeria, utilising the law to obtain justice and equity,” Aguna said.
She said that through its work in 33 states, FIDA has contributed to the development of the Nigerian women by empowering young girls in various areas including information on the law.
“It is our belief that a woman who is equipped with information, education and skills is better placed to face all forms of violence that may confront her.
“In situations of crisis, we work to ensure that our girls are provided with options that allow them to utilise the law to their advantage,” FIDA president said.
She said that working with colleagues in the legal profession, traditional and religious leaders, and other community-based organisations, “FIDA targets those girls in the most remote parts communities’’.
Aguna also said that lawyers would continue to provide free legal services and trainings to young girls.
She said that legal clinics in all the states’ branches were running on a daily basis to provide women with the much needed legal assistance before, during and after situations of instability.
“FIDA Nigeria has trained a number of young women as paralegals who went on to assist IDPs in the camps and host communities in accessing legal services.
“More than 100 cases were handled in litigation or through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms with the aim of ensuring that the beneficiaries benefitted from the justice system.
“FIDA Nigeria empowered women and girls in Yobe by providing avenues for them to access the justice system during and after insurgency.
“This was done through its Challenging Impunity through Gender Protection and Empowerment supported by the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP),’’ Aguna said.
She said that the ultimate goal was to ensure that the girl-child takes ownership of the process of reconciliation and rebuilding her community.
“We call on all parents, guardians, traditional institutions, religious leaders, Faith-Based Organisations, Community Based Organisations and Civil Society Organisations and all other key stakeholders to forge creative ways of empowering the girl-child.
“In line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020, we remain hopeful that Nigerian girl-child will be emancipated from the precarious situation she finds herself due to conflict and instability”