Cyberstalking: Ministry, NCC partner to checkmate online sexual harassment

*Partnership with the Nigerian Communications Commission is necessary to track and bring perpetrators of sexual offences to justice ─ Jummai Mohammed, Director of Child and Focal Office, Online Sexual Exploitation of Ministry of Women Affairs

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Determined to be proactive in checking hate and abuse against the Nigerian women and young girls online, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs has expressed a desire to partner with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) for action.

Jummai Mohammed, Director of Child and Focal Office, Online Sexual Exploitation, Ministry of Women Affairs, disclosed this at a webinar organised by Plan International recently, according to ThisDay.

The theme of the forum to commemorate International Day of the Girl-child is, “Safe and Inclusive Online Spaces for Young Girls”.

Participants were drawn from various Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working for protection of the girl child across the country.

Mohammed, represented in forum Ali Madugu, a Deputy Director in the Department, stated that the partnership with the NCC is necessary to track and bring the perpetrators of such sexual offences to justice.

Report indicated that the webinar offered an opportunity to discuss the latest study and report on hate and abuse against women in cyberspace in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl.

The study which was conducted by Plan International in 22 countries showed that 68% of girls and young women reported that they had experienced some form of online harassment on Social Media platforms.

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, said the Director of Child and Focal Office, Online Sexual Exploitation of the Ministry of Women Affairs.

According to her, a reporting mechanism documents by the Nigerian Communications 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 Organisations (CSOs).

She further stated: “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 (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) 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.”

Online sexual harassment is a global issue; hence, there is a need to involve stakeholders to curb it, Mohammed declared.

She expressed confidence that with the collaboration, offenders perpetrating such evil against Nigerian girl can be tracked in the country.

The Director said: “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.”

Maryam Gambo, Executive Director of Child Protection and Women Empowerment Initiative in Yobe State, 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.

Efforts should be made to address the menace, as in due time, online sexual harassment would be more than the physical cases being recorded, said Gambo.

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