Paul Obi in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday launched a campaign to end violence against children by 2030, a move that will also nip in the bud, cases of violence against women and children.
The campaign which was launched at the State House Conference Centre, is an ambitious programme geared towards bringing to an end violence perpetuated against women and children.
According to UNICEF, “millions of children suffer some form of physical, emotional or sexual violence every year in Nigeria.”
A survey carried out last year by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that approximately six out of 10 Nigerian children experience one of these forms of violence before they reach 18.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, the president said: “I say to children in Nigeria – on this historic day, we make a pledge. We commit to protecting each and every one of you from violence.
“The Year of Action has created a wonderful momentum to end violence against children. We have a clear moral, legal and economic imperative and a global obligation to take action to end the suffering of children who live under the shadow of violence,” the president stated.
The 2030 End Violence Against Children Campaign, supported by UNICEF and USAID, builds and expands on the success of just-ended year of action to end violence against children, launched by the president in September 2015.
UNICEF’s West and Central Africa Regional Director, Manuel Fontaine told the gathering that “during the Year of Action, Lagos, Cross River, Benue and Plateau States all heeded the President’s call to launch their own State campaigns; Bayelsa became the 23rd state in Nigeria to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act and nine states joined hands to develop a model child protection system to put the Child’s Rights Act into practice.
“The Sustainable Development Goals, agreed last month by all members of the United Nations, including Nigeria, include a call on every country in the world to end all forms of violence against children by 2030.”
He added that “to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal to end violence against children, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development announced that it will convene representatives from key government ministries, departments and agencies, as well as civil society and faith-based organisations to develop a National Plan of Action.
“Ending violence against children is everybody’s business. With this campaign, Nigeria has shown it is determined to mobilise political will and resources to tackle all forms of violence against children wherever it happens,” Fontaine stated.