The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has observed an increase in violence against children in Nigeria, and attributed rising youth restiveness in the country to the phenomenon.
A child protection specialist with the global organisation, Ladi Alabi, made the disclosure on Monday in Jos, Plateau state at a one-day workshop for journalists, preparatory to the official launch of an awareness campaign on violence against children in the state.
Mrs. Alabi, who is a field officer with UNICEF, said a survey by the global organization indicated that the rights of a lot of children were being violated in the country. He called for “child justice administration” to protect the rights of minors and the future of Nigeria.
“A survey conducted by the National Population Commission with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that millions of children suffer violence every year in Nigeria – approximately 6 out of every 10 children experience some form of physical, emotional or sexual violence before the age of 18.
“The Survey also reveals that 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.”
She lamented that, in particular, cases of rape of children were on the increase. She however counseled journalists at the workshop on ethical reporting of children-related issues.
The workshop was organized in conjunction with the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, aim at ending violence against children in the state.
She however noted that Nigeria is taking the right steps in addressing the challenge by being the first country in West Africa and eighth in the world to adopt UNICEF’s policy for combating the scourge.
Mrs. Alabi said Plateau state will become the fourth in Nigeria and first among the 19 northern states in Nigeria, when it launches the campaign against violence on children on Thursday.
UNICEF, which is operating in 190 countries, is mandated by the United Nations’ General Assembly to advocate the protection of children worldwide.
The organization said the survival, protection and development of children are universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress.
Earlier, an assistant director, Children Welfare, at the state the ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Fidelia Seklec, thanked UNICEF for partnering with the state on protection for children.
Mrs. Secklec urged parents and guardians “to be closer to your children, know their desires, and know how to handle them.”
A communiqué is expected at the end of the workshop.