Experts raise alarm over increasing child abuse
True Leadership for Growth and Peace Initiative (TL4GDP) and Truss Empowerment Foundation have rolled out the Alert Campaign, an African Child Protection and family strengthening project, to end abuse, exploitation trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children.
Speaking at a conference in Lagos recently, the campaign organisers said children’s protection depends on the social values of the child’s immediate environment and how well society values, recognises and protects his/her rights to reduce exposure to violence, abuse and exploitation. Lamenting that the Nigerian environment is unfavourable and harsh to her children, they said most children who experience physical, sexual or/and emotional violence do so severally, it is never one-off, and they don’t speak out.
“Government leadership and ownership of integrated case management must ensure that from the time a child is identified as being in need of support up to the time closure is brought to the case of said child, there is a group of committed stakeholders working round the clock to ensure that the child’s case is not abandoned midway.”
UNICEF child protection specialist, Dr. Maryam Enyiazu, said the issue of child protection is multifaceted, stressing the need to have a multisectoral approach to bring together all the key stakeholders mandated to protect children and ensure an integrated, robust approach for service delivery for them. Dennis Onoise, another UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, said today’s Nigerian children are facing a lot of challenges, parental neglect and abuse like never before, adding, “We carried out a survey in 2014 in all the states of the federation, including the FCT and for every 10 children, six have experienced abuse before the age of 12 and many had at least, one parent around them when the abuse happened.
Unbelievably, children abuse shot up by as much as 50 percent during the lockdown and the abusers were mostly neighbours and family members. We need to take this campaign more seriously and I am urging law enforcement officers to take it very seriously as well. We report these cases to the Police and nothing happens. Worse, we see the accused back on the streets the next day like nothing happened, even though he was arrested the day before. What kind of message is this sending to abusers and survivors? We want sexual abusers of children to suffer stiff punishments because when people know that sexual abusers go scot-free, they will want to do same.
Alert Campaign beneficiary, Elizabeth Sebioba, a 13-year-old SS 1 student of Baptist Girls’ Academy, Lagos, said she is grateful to be a part of the programme and wants the campaign to include more children.
No comments yet