The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) joins the world in the next 16 days starting November 25, 2018 and culminating on December 10, 2018, the International Human Rights Day, to remember millions of women and girls who are victims of one form of violence or another, for reason of their gender.

All around us, violence against women and girl-children are rampant and continue to multiply each passing day.

On this occasion of 16-day activism against gender-based violence, LEDAP calls on the National Assembly to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, and the Nigerian government at national, state and local government levels to open Registers of Sex Offenders. Government should strengthen the prosecution of sexual offenders and all forms of gender-based violence, and fully implement the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP) 2017.

The theme of this year’s 16 days activism is #HearMeToo, demonstrating the need to put victims of gender-based violence at the center of the discussion. Worldwide, one out of every three women has suffered one form of violence or another as a reason of her gender. In Nigeria, with the socio-cultural and religious challenges facing women and girls, the figures could be higher. For instance, the 2017 UNDP Human Development Index indicated that more than a half of Nigerian girls under the age of 12 are out of school and nearly a quarter of boys of same age are also out of school. 50% of the out-of-school children will be married off before their 12th birthday and the remainder may not celebrate their 16th birthday single. These are contrary to the Child Rights Act 2003 as well as the Universal Basic Education Act 2005, which has made primary education compulsory.

In a recent decision by the Federal High Court, Abuja, in the case of Legal Defence and Assistance Project vs. Minister of Education & Ors, Hon. Justice Tsoho held that the right to free and compulsory primary and junior secondary education and free secondary education under section 18 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 is an enforceable constitutional right of every child as a result of the National Assembly passing the Universal Basic Education Act 2005”.

At this year’s 16 days of activism, LEDAP will each day of the campaign showcase individual victims of gender-based violence through daily FacebookLive (LEDAPNG), InstatramTV @LEDAPNG, and Twitter Conference @LEDAPNG, details of which are available on LEDAP’s website – www.ledapnigeria.org