Dr. Theresa Okafor, WCF Representative For Africa, Shares The Communique from the African Regional World Congress of Families at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos, Nigeria, March 27-29, 2017
WHEREAS the family institution which is the fundamental unit of society and indeed a safety-net in Africa is under extinction in the World and Nigeria
WHEREAS so much pressure is being mounted to deconstruct and to redefine the natural family to include “other forms of families” such as homosexuality and lesbianism and so forth.
WHEREAS women are the mothers of Nations; children are the leaders of the tomorrow, yet everywhere in Nigeria women and children are the victims of the most telling socio-cultural exploitation and abuse.
CONSEQUENTLY the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage (FACH), Lagos, in collaboration with the World Congress of Families, Family Watch International, CitizenGo, Kenyan Christian Professional Forum (KCPF) organized a Three-day International Law Conference at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos from March 27 to 29, 2017.
1.2 The objectives of the conference were to work out short and long term strategies in protecting the family institution and family values which are being destroyed.
1.3 Presentations were delivered by various experts from within and outside the country followed by discussions centered on critical issues that must be addressed for the rights of women and children to be obtained.
1.4 The Conference calls on Governments at all levels
- To uphold the Constitutions of African countries which guarantee the protection of the natural family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, the right to life and the dignity of the human person.
- To protect the rights of the child as stipulated in the Child Rights Act, 2003. And specifically to tackle child trafficking, child labour, child prostitution, child pornography, modern child slavery and other forms of child exploitation in Nigeria.
- To promote character-based sexuality education in line with Nigerian cultural heritage in Nigerian school curricula and to reject the western biological sex education which corrupts and debases the Nigerian child.
- To re-introduce religious studies and moral instruction in schools which in the past helped in inculcating good character, values, and virtues in the students.
- To stop forthwith the sexualization of our primary and secondary school pupils through the introduction into the curricula such abrasive Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and other literature textbooks and other books that promote condom-sex, masturbation, sterilization, etc in our schools
- To protect and assist the family institution in Nigeria in accordance with Article 18 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights in the following ways:
- To defend the natural family which is defined by marriage between man and woman, including extended family members, procreation, and adoption.
- To promote rights in the context of family- widowhood rights- and to focus on procreative rights and not reproductive rights.
- To reject contraceptives and in-vitro fertilization and other forms of artificial methods of having children based upon full knowledge of their potential physical damage to the human body and injurious to health but instead embrace the Naprotechnology and other methods which offers a safer means and ethically-approved means of having children and healthier pregnancy outcomes.
- To stop promoting the Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Right and Women’s Reproductive Right policies which are another euphemisms and doggy languages for promoting abortion, contraceptives and safe-sex for teens.
1.5 The Conference calls on Nigerian National Assembly and State Assemblies and African Parliaments:
- To take steps to enact good laws which will protect the family institution and uphold positive family values in Nigeria and Africa.
- To be wary of domesticating or incorporating into our body of laws International Conventions and regional treaties such as Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW), MAPUTO Protocol etc that are at variance with the socio-cultural, economic, religious and social realities of the Nigerian people. Cultural background must be a denominator in assessing and adopting such international Conventions and regional treaties.
- To reject passing into law the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill (GEOB) which, among other things, contains clauses that promote homosexuality, lesbianism, abortion etc
- To be aware of the misinterpretation and distortion of human rights documents by some United Nations Agencies and international NGOs.
- To enact legislation that strengthen the family institution by identifying influencing factors and developing parenting training programmes that can lead to responsible parenthood and responsible citizenry.
1.6 The Conference calls on Civil Society to:
- Equip and mobilize fathers and mothers to play their parental roles in the upbringing of their children in a conscious manner. Customs are important in the protection of the rights of women and children.
- Support proper child upbringing by both parents and to ensure the curricula used in schools conform with the moral and religious upbringing of the child. Social workers should focus on building families and making them work effectively.
- Create awareness of the richness of the traditional African family values which need to be imbibed by people from other cultures. Also to effectively address gender discrimination in traditional societies through education and promotion of the rights of women and children in families, religious institutions, schools and the media. To be aware of the negative campaign of sexualization going on in the media.
- To sensitize the public on the need for inheritance laws to apply to women and the girl child.
- To create awareness of the evil of child trafficking and child slavery inNigeria and to report any case of child trafficking or child slavery to the authorities.
1.7 The Conference calls on Nigerian citizens to:
- Play their roles in upholding positive family values such as love and respect for life at all stages, love and respect for elders, hard work, freedom, truth, love, responsibility etc
- Strengthen the natural family and the African Extended-family systems which is being impacted negatively upon by the change from modernism to materialism
- To create enabling environment for inheritance laws to apply to women and the girl child.
1.8 The Conference also calls on Religious and traditional leaders:
- To be actively involved in addressing matters affecting the family in their communities.
1.9 The Conference also calls on the Media:
- To portray the natural family in a good light and to refrain from all stereotypes against the family.
- To draw attention to the high rates of divorce and dysfunctional families and give visibility to ways of promoting and maintaining positive family values.
1.10 The Conference calls on all Employers of Labour (Government and Corporate Bodies):
- To have family responsible policies that will make it possible for the employees, especially women to have time to play their natural roles as parents.
- To legislate against some policies that are anti-family and ensure that such legislatures are enforced.