According to the Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs, 10 girls in the state are sexually abused every single day.
This was announced by Mr. Lateef Oyediji, Director of Child Welfare, Ministry of Women Affairs, on Saturday in Ibadan during an advocacy event to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child in 2022.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Ford Foundation provided funding for the program, which was organized by the Cedars for Human Welfare Initiative (CEHUWEI) in partnership with the Development Research Project Center (DRPC).
Oyedeji said every day, at least ten incidences of sexual assault against girls are reported to the ministry, who also added that the ministry disapproved of the way that girls were being abused in the state.
He added that individuals responsible for such a heinous deed would not escape punishment and would instead face the full force of the law.
Oyediji urged additional assistance from law enforcement and other important parties in finding individuals responsible for the unethical act.
“A holistic approach is required if we want to understand what is happening to girls in Oyo State.
“And for all necessary parties to take action to protect our girls since the current structure of society is working against appropriate girl child upbringing.
“What amazes us is that some of the homes or orphanage centers, under the care of male caretakers, are assaulting young girls,” he said, adding that the cases had been reported to his office and that legal action will be taken against the responsible parties.
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According to Oyediji, factors contributing to sexual abuse of girls and women include unemployment, economic difficulties, street hawking, family conflict, and a lack of sufficient care and protection from parents due to economic instability.
“The way the society is structured is not encouraging proper upbringing of the girl-child, while the livelihood culture of women in the society and the current global economy make some families find it hard to feed, forcing the girls to hawk on the streets and thus making them susceptible to sexual abuse,” he said.
Additionally, Mr. Olatunji Oluwabukola, Executive Director of CEHUWEI, urged the girls and women to position themselves for possibilities and make every effort to be a force in society despite obstacles.
Dr. Deborah Salami, the secretary-general of Advancement Legacy For Indigent Citizens and Environment, urged for gender equality in the home and in society at large in her speech. (NAN)