Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi, Abdulai Kaikai, has said 50 per cent of children in Nigeria experience physical violence.
Kaikai spoke in Bauchi thursday at a media briefing to mark the 2017 edition of Children’s Day with the theme: “Child Protection and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Issues and Opportunities,” observing that the violence was prevalent across the 36 states of Nigeria.
He said: “According to the findings of the 2014 Nigeria violence against children survey conducted by the National Population Commission with the support of the United Centers for Disease Control and UNICEF, approximately six out of every 10 children also experience some form of violence.â€
He added: “One in four girls and one in 10 boys experience sexual violence as well as one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence by a parent, caregiver or adult relative.”
Kaikai called on all stakeholders in the country to take action to end violence against children in the country.
He said preventing violence against children was not just a legal obligation and a moral imperative but that the failure to prevent it would lead to substantial economic loses (estimated at 2-8%GDP). He explained that ending violence against children had been linked to sustainable growth in the National Priority Agenda for Vulnerable Children 2013-2010 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“So on the occasion of this year’s Nigeria Children’s Day, all must take action to end violence against children,â€ he urged Nigerians, calling on Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Plateau and Taraba states that are supported by the UNICEF Nigeria Bauchi Field Office to take action to end violence against children.
UNICEF also called on the states that had yet to enact the Child Right Law to pass the laws.
Kaikai said UNICEF would continue to support the government and all stakeholders to end violence against children, protect and realise their rights, adding that it was consistent with its mandate given by UN General Assembly in 1946 when it voted to establish UNICEF as the agency for children.”
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday urged the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, to pursue the domestication of the Child Rights Acts in the 13 states that were yet to do so.
The Senate said this was necessary to ensure that the rights of Nigerian children are adequately protected as well as give children opportunities to participate in matters that concern their welfare.
Senators also called for re-orientation of young ones to focus on inculcation of moral values, ethics and patriotism.
The resolution followed a motion sponsored by Senator Binta Garba (Adamawa North) and eight others, who expressed worry that a proper system of education and good healthcare remained elusive to the Nigerian child.
“The infant mortality rate in Nigeria has risen to one million deaths per annum as a result of poor nutrition and inadequate medical facilities,â€ Binta said, pointing out that under the National Health Act, 2014, all pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled and children should be exempted from paying for services in public hospitals.