Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)


Pragmatic Approach to Upholding the Rights and Protection of the Girl Child in Nigeria: Lessons from Other Jurisdictions

Author(s): Rose Ohiama Ugbe, Shishitileugiang Aniashie Akpanke Patrick Chukwunonso Aloamaka, Pascal Bekongfe Aboh

This paper chronicles a pragmatic approach to upholding the rights and protection of the girl child in Nigeria and lessons from other jurisdictions. Primary and secondary materials were sourced from libraries and the internet. The paper posits that girl children are vulnerable to poor education, domestic violence, child/‘money marriages’, rape by men/women who often go unpunished. To give global protection to them, the UN set specified standards on which member states are to model their national policies. Nigerian government adopted the UNCRC 1989, the ACHPR 1986, CEDAW 1979, also enacted the Child’s Right Act, 2003 and VAPP Act 2015 in response. Despite these, there is a prevalence of such cases in Nigeria. Further, the recent lockdown occasioned by the COVID 19 pandemic has further exposed the underlying ineffectiveness that characterizes Nigeria’s legal, institutional and administrative architecture for the protection of girl children in the country. Accordingly, UNICEF reports that, during the lockdown, a lot of children particularly, females were subjected to sexual molestation, rape, lesbianism, physical assault amongst other damaging acts as a result of the closure of schools and the implementation of other social distancing measures in cities such as Lagos, Abuja, etc. Ineffective enforcement mechanisms, the indifference of government inter alia constitute banes to effective protection in Nigeria. Girl child protection policies in some jurisdictions namely, Finland, Norway, Austria, and Australia were examined. For realistic protection of the girl child in Nigeria, the paper suggests that legal and institutional reforms, demonstration of a political will should be adopted.

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