Buhari, others seek end to violence against children
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to mobilize Nigerians to resist violence against children.
Buhari, who spoke at the launch of the year of Action to End Violence against Children in Abuja, also stressed the commitment of his government to protect children against sexual, emotional and physical violence.
The President, who was represented by Head of Civil Service, Danladi Kifasi said: “This administration shall improve on what government has done in the past and enforce all relevant laws that will protect our children from violence”.
He said: “You will recall that government has enacted the Child Right Act in 2013; Violation against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 and also put in place the national task force for the protection of children against violence. The government will also give psychosocial support to vulnerable children
“This administration is hereby ready to show commitment to mobilize Nigerians to resist violence against children.”
According to the Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey, carried out by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in two children experience physical violence; one in four girls and one in ten boys experience sexual violence; and one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence.
Buhari said:“The majority of children do not tell anyone what has happened to them and fewer than five per cent receive the help they need to recover. These findings are an urgent call to action not only for the Government, but also for civil society organisations, religious and traditional groups, the media, the private sector, communities, parents and families to come together to tackle violence against children.”
United States Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, Maria E. Brewer, said: “All children must be protected from abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect. Violence against children is never justified. Violence is preventable.”
UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Jean Gough noted: “The Government of Nigeria and its partners are to be congratulated on their commitment to end violence against children.
“UNICEF will continue to support Nigeria in its efforts to ensure that children are protected from sexual, physical and emotional violence”
The UNICEF chief added: “The Government is not only to be congratulated for undertaking this groundbreaking survey, but also for making the findings widely known, shining a spotlight on what the survey shows is a significant problem in Nigeria.
“The survey found that violence impacts millions of children’s lives every year across Nigeria. You cannot help but be shocked by the huge numbers of children experiencing violence. But sometimes we can get lost in the statistics. Let’s remember that each statistic represents an individual child suffering violence – a four year old boy being intentionally burnt for misbehaving, a 13 year old girl being repeatedly raped by her neighbour, a 7 year old being told again and again – ‘you are worthless, I wish you were dead’ by their own mother.
“Also, when many people think of physical, sexual and emotional violence against children, they think of it as happening to someone else, to someone’s else’s family and in someone else’s community. But the Survey findings are clear – violence against children is a problem that transcends social and economic status. It impacts rich and poor, urban and rural, educated and out of school children. The findings of the survey highlight that violence is not confined to poor families, nor to marginalised children or children living in the shadow of conflict.”