Assistant PRO, FIDA said punishing offenders would encourage victims of such crimes to report and speak out.
Mrs Chioma Onyenucheya-Uko, Assistant Public Relation Officer, FIDA, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja as the world marks this year’s International Girl Child Day.
She said that punishing offenders would encourage victims of such crimes to report and speak out, adding that this will bring an end to stigmatisation.
Onyenucheya called on the Nigerian Police to always conduct thorough investigations in order to unearth culprits behind such dastardly crime.
She said that violence and abuse could affect a child’s development, dignity, physical and psychological integrity; hence culprits must be punished to eliminate such crimes in the society.
NAN reports that the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) provides for the prosecution of such offenders.
She called on the appropriate authorities to implement such provisions of the Act in dealing with perpetrators.
“The provisions of the Act are rich and if adequately used will punish offenders and deter the-would be offenders.
“The Act captures a broad array of offences that are related to violence, whether physical, social, emotional or psychological,’’ the spokesperson said.
According to her, the Act addresses the issue of gender based violence, women being harassed, the issue of rape and generally issues militating against the rights of women and girls.
Onyenucheya-Uko said that every girl child was entitled to education as stipulated in the Child Rights Act, and urged parents and guardians to ensure that children get safely to school.
Besides, she called on the government to ensure that all schools were protected from all forms of vices such as theft, kidnapping and sexual abuse, among others.
“These girls have rights to education and the education for our girl child should not be denied; but the action of Boko Haram insurgents denied our girls their rights to education.
“The government at all levels should provide security for schools across the country in order to protect the students,’’ she said.
According to her, the girl child should not be treated less from the boy and community should see a girl child as having potential to be great.
The spokesperson said that no meaningful development could take place if the issue of girl child education was not factored into national development processes.