Kuni Tyessi, Abuja
Director, North-east intervention at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Ngozi Azodoh, has called on parents, guardians and teachers to, as a matter of urgency, inculcate sexual behaviour signs into the lives of their children, wards and pupils respectively, in order to help curb the menace of child sexual abuse in the society.
She said they need to be taught and encouraged on how to speak out, cry out and know the various tell tale signs of sexual behavior as well as knowing the parts of the body which should be private and respected and when boundaries have been crossed.
Azodoh said this when she led old students of the Federal Government Girls’ College, Gboko, Benue State, to the office of the Director General of the National Centre for Women Development, Ms. Mary Ekpere-Eta, over the sad incidence of the late Ochanya Ogbanje.
She said cases of child molestation and sexual abuse can be curbed when children are enlightened early enough.
While lamenting that there were hardly reported sex cases in Nigeria due to the fact that such offenders are often family members, Azodoh, reiterated that Ochanya’s case is painful and one that has opened the eyes of responsible adults to the issue of abuse on both sexes, which should not be swept under the carpet.
She said: “Abuse must be stopped at all cost. We can’t have children die in their prime. Ochanya’s case is painful but not futile. Awareness campaign needs to be established.
“Children need to be taught all sexual manners. They should be taught to speak out and very out. Teach them to know and tell tale signs of sexual behavior. Ochanya must not die in vain.”
In her response, Ms. Ekpere- Eta said policies regarding rape should be taken seriously and parents should be bold enough to report cases of child molestation and should desist from keeping such a secret with claims that the offenders are family members and at the expense and detriment of the child’s social, mental, psychological and emotional wellbeing.
While lamenting that there are hardly reported sex cases in Nigeria, she called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to treat Ochanya’s case with utmost urgency and also open a register for recorded names of child sex offenders as this will serve as deterrent to others.
She said:”Parents should be taught to know the implications of adults calling their daughters “my wife”. Girls should also be discouraged from sitting on the legs of any adult male.
“There should be a national sex offender register which should be opened and registered. This is done in other climes and it is very effective.
“Even when the offender changes place of residence, he will suffer some form of discrimination and members of the community will know of his past deeds. We can do it here,” she said.