Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ban Ki-moon identifies panacea to violence against children in Nigeria

Secretary-General of the United Nations, UN, Mr Ban Ki-moon, has identified four fundamental goals which the Federal Government must pursue urgently if it must succeed in its recent offensive on violence against children. These include a child-focused, multidisciplinary and time-bound
national and state-level strategy; an explicit ban on all forms of violence against children, backed by effective enforcement; increased efforts to make violence against children socially unacceptable and lastly, the establishment of a sound data and research system. Ki-moon who spoke at the launch of the Lagos State government’s End Violence Against Child Abuse Campaign by the Ministry for Women Affairs & Poverty Alleviation in partnership with UNICEF, yesterday, in Lagos, said this had become pertinent, as, beyond its negative impact on children and their families, violence weakens the very foundation of social progress, generates huge costs for society, slows economic development and erodes nations’ human and social capital. “Globally, an estimated US$7 trillion is lost each year due to violence in childhood, equivalent to 8 percent of global GDP. In Sub-Sahara Africa, violence against children is estimated to cost US$440 billion each year,” said the UN Chief who spoke through his Special Representative on Violence against Children, Ms Marta Santos Pais. The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, meanwhile, has passed a stern warning to parents against meting any form of violence on children across the state, whether in the form of sanction or discipline. The governor who spoke through the Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Wasiu Sanni Eshitokun, said, “Sanctions must not be malicious or cruel. I call on you all to stop abusing children and meting on them inappropriate punishments in the name of enforcing discipline. Otherwise, be ready to face the law if reported.” The state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hon.(Mrs)Lola Akande, however, assured that the launch of the End Violence against Children campaign which is a pace-setting domestication of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Year of Action to End Violence against Children project launched last September, would be followed by intense sensitization and reorientation of both parents and children. Akande advised every child to either feel free to also walk into any family court to lay their complaint, or call on the ministry if they find themselves in any unpleasant situation, promising to come rescue them from the scene immediately. The highpoint of the event was the presentation of a survey on Violence against Children in Nigeria, carried out by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Presented by the Chairman, National Population Commission, Mr Eze Duruiheoma, SAN, the survey revealed that millions of children suffered violence every year in Nigeria. “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. 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,” it says.

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