Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 17 September 2015 | 3,281 times
Violence Against Children (VAC), which could be physical, emotional or psychological, is a menace that must be collectively tackled by parents, adults and stakeholders in Nigeria.
Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Goodwill Ambassador for VAC, Professor Chidi Odinkalu stated this at the launching year of action to end violence against children in Nigeria. The event was held at the Africa Hall, International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, on Tuesday.
Odinkalu said in his address: “As an Ambassador, I take responsibility for this plan of action to end violence against children. It is a pity today that when children speak about violence done to them, we do not usually believe them. When we do, we do not have the services for them.”
He stressed further that violence against children is not someone’s else’s problem, but a collective one, adding that VAC is also lack of infrastructure, especially to take care of the special needs of children.
Further, he emphasised that a country that cannot protect its children cannot defend itself, saying such country is endangered.
Also speaking at the event, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Head of Service, Danladi Keifasi stressed that violence against children is totally unacceptable and all children must not be exposed to abuse, violence and exploitation.
He emphasised on the mantra of change, saying that “change means protecting Nigeria’s children against all forms of violence. It is up to us – any responsible adult, but not just only the responsibility of their parents to protect them.”
The president urged civil society organisations, religious and traditional groups, the media, the private sector, communities, parents and families to come together to tackle violence against children.
While presenting the findings of the survey conducted by the National Population Commission, the Director, Planning and Research, Dr. S. O Olanipekun, admitted that in Nigeria 26% of girls & 10% of boys in Nigeria reported 1st act of sexual intercourse was forced. 1 in 7 girls in Nigeria reported becoming pregnant from sexual violence.
Part of the survey explains that the situation in the North-Central of Nigeria is worrisome, and that killings in Plateau alone now average nearly 3 and15-20 persons are killed weekly.
“So far in 2015, the Police Force has received 133 cases of VAC; 122 have been investigated; 158 suspects have been arrested and 118 suspects have been charged,” the study also revealed.
Dr. Olanipekun urged Nigerian parents and stakeholders to end the menace by reporting any act of VAC to the Police as Data Analysis Centre on VAC in Nigeria has been established within the force agency.
•Photo shows Prof. Odinkalu.
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