Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 11 September 2015 | 2,690 times
Nigerian parents, citizens and stakeholders have been called upon to fight against Violence Against Children (VAC) for the purpose of creating a better future for the children.
The call to action rang out yesterday during a press conference in Abuja while unveiling the results of a new study carried out across the 36 states by the National Population Commission (NPC), which accessed the prevalence nature of the violence against the children in Nigeria.
NPC Director, Planning and Research, Dr. S.O Olanipekun maintained that the sting of violence occurs mostly where children should be safe.
In his words: “Violence against Nigerian children occurs mostly in places where they are supposed to be safe – homes, schools and within their neighbourhood. And it has also been observed that perpetrators of this violence are mostly people who children know and depend on.”
Dr. Olanipekun said further that Nigeria is the 1st country in West Africa, 6th in Africa and 9th in the world to undertake official survey on violence against children. Adding, he opined that, “children are not encouraged to speak out, seek or receive help when violated.”
Speaking further on the survey, Dr. Olanipekun observed that “60 per cent children experience violence before 18 years. 1 in 6 girls, 1 in 5 boys suffer emotional violence by a parent, caregiver or adult relative before age 18. 66 per cent girls and 58 percent of boys witness physical violence at home before they reach age.”
In his own contribution, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, who was also introduced as the VAC Goodwill Ambassador, posited that 30 per cent of cases coming to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) deal with human rights of children. He added that children are the biggest asset we have and they must not be destroyed by violence so that they can handle whatever we bequeath to them.
He said: “We have to give the children the best. VAC is a disease and public health disorder which has tremendous effect on the psychological, physical and emotional damage on children, saying “when you damage the ethical fibre of a child, you damage the possibility to create a better future for such child.”
Odinkalu however enjoined stakeholders to be agents that would drive the action against violence against children. He stressed that “every one of us here is an agent of change, and I believe to be in partnership is central to achieve this.”
•Photo shows Prof. Odinkalu.
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