Posted by News Express | 20 May 2016 | 3,276 times
The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says about 60 per cent of children, representing six in 10 children, suffer one or more types of violence before they reach the age of 18 years in Nigeria.
The international agency in a statement made available in Yenagoa on Thursday also commended the Bayelsa State Government for the domestication of the National Child’s Right Act (NCRA).
The Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Jean Gough, said Bayelsa had become the 23rd state in the country to ensure the legal protection of children from all forms of violence through the domestication of the NCRA.
He said the law signed by Gov. Seriake Dickson in May 2016, for the first time in Bayelsa criminalises violence against children and sets out the role of every stakeholder in preventing and responding to violence against children.
Gough said: “A national survey by the National Population Commission, supported by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF, launched in September 2015, found that six in 10 children suffer one or more types of violence before they reach the age of 18 years.
“Also, one in two suffers physical violence, one in four girls and one in 10 boys suffer sexual violence and one in five boys and one in six girls suffer emotional violence.
“Most children never tell anyone what happened to them. Less than four per cent ever receive the support they need to recover.
“In response to these findings, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Year of Action to End Violence against Children, calling on states to take action to strengthen their laws, policies and services to protect children. Bayelsa State has heeded the Federal Governments call and is warmly congratulated.”
The UNICEF top shot described the law as a significant step in protecting and supporting the millions of children suffering physical, sexual and emotional violence in Nigeria.
He said that UNICEF, the Bayelsa State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the State Ministry of Justice and civil society groups, especially the Child Protection Network, relentlessly advocated for the passage of the law.
The advocacy was carried out under the Support to Justice Sector Reform Programme, a €26m initiative funded by the European Union.
Dickson had said while signing the NCRA that he was delighted that the new law would offer protection for children in Bayelsa.
“I stress that anyone caught violating the rights of children will be prosecuted according to the provisions of this new law,” Dickson had said.
•Photo shows UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough.
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