By Ugo Aliogo
The Ministry of Women Affairs has expressed desire to partner with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Interpol to check online harassment against young girls in the country.
The Director, Child and Focal Officer, Online Sexual Exploitation, Ministry of Women, Jummai Mohammed, disclosed this at a webinar organised by Plan International recently with the theme: “Safe and Inclusive Online Spaces for young girls,” to commemorate International Day of the Girl-child.
The webinar also provided an opportunity to discuss the latest study and report on hate and abuse against women online in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl.
The study which was conducted by Plan International in 22 countries shows that 68% of girls and young women reported that they have experienced some form of online harassment on social media platforms.
She explained that the partnership was necessary to track and bring the perpetrators of such offences to justice.
Mohammed, who was represented a Deputy Director in the Department, Ali Madugu, disclosed that the government would not tolerate any form of harassment of young girls on online platforms, noting that it would put measures in places to protect the girl child.
She further explained that a reporting mechanism documents by the National Communication Commission (NCC) “keeping children safe online,” and “advice to parents and caregivers,” were distributed to 36 States’ Ministry of Women Affairs, community leaders and Civil Society Organisation (CSOs).
“Presently, there is a synergy between us and the NCC and the Interpol in Nigeria Police. We are trying to put up a network mechanism, and all the MDAs are collaborating to address this issue. The Communication and Promotion Officer, Embassy of Sweden in Nigeria, Axel Hallgren in his contribution said the Swedish government just like Nigeria had same problems too,” she assured.
She maintained that online sexual harassment was a global issue hence there is a need to involve stakeholders to curb it.
She expressed confidence that with the collaboration, offenders perpetrating such evil against Nigerian girl can be tracked in the country.
The director hinted: “Online sexual harassment was an emerging issue and must be addressed holistically. The National Assembly was working to review the Child Right Act to capture all these emerging issues like online sexual harassment.”
In her remarks, the Executive Director, Child Protection and Women Empowerment Initiative in Yobe State, Maryam Gambo, called for aggressive education and awareness on online sexual harassment.
Gambo said young girls’ needs to be educated on their rights which should not be violated on online social media.
She said efforts should be put to address the menace adding that in due time, online sexual harassment would be more than the physical cases being recorded.
She stated that preventive measures were necessary, “young girls should prevent themselves against online sexual harassment.”
Participants were drawn from various Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working for protection of girl child across the country.