NAPTIP raises alarm over growing cases of child abandonment by parents in FCT
*As agency receives 1, 100 reports of SGBV in 10 months
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world in marking 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, (SGBV), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking, (NAPTIP), has decried growing cases of child abuse and child abandonment in the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Abuja.
The Director General, of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, said that between January and October 2022, the agency received 1,100 reports of cases of outright child abuse and domestic violence to the extent of causing bodily harm by parents and guardians, cases noted with dismay, increasing reports being received by the agency on cases of outright child abuse to the extent of causing severe bodily harm to children by parents and guardians.
She made this known at a community engagement and stakeholder’s dialogue on sexual and gender-based violence organized by NAPTIP in partnership with Ford Foundation and the Justice Research Institute, (JRI), for communities in Abuja Municipal Council Area as part of activities marking the 16 days activism, yesterday in Abuja.
She pointed out that the rate of violence against women in the FCT is quite alarming and that most of the crimes of domestic and sexual violence happen at the community level hence, the need to sensitize community leaders on the dangers and implications of such abuse on the overall community and nation.
“While the federal government remains committed to keeping women and children safe most of the crimes of domestic and sexual violence happen at the community level as such, we must continue to target those cultural norms that make these crimes fester and we cannot do it without the support of community leaders and all other stakeholders.
“In ten months, that is between January to October 2022, the agency has received 1,100 reports on domestic and sexual violence just in the FCT, out of which 126 of the reports were investigated. Out of these 126, (investigated cases), 26 of the cases were resolved via mediation or alternative arbitration while 54 of the reported cases were withdrawn most due to pressure from family and threats from community leaders on the victims. We currently have 84 cases in the court and so far, we have secured 4 convictions.
“As leaders in various levels in your community, you are all fundamental allies in breaking this barrier and stopping harmful cultural practices that we see around us every day,” she said.
According to her, “NAPTIP is responsible for implementing the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, (VAPP) Act 2015 in the FCT and NAPTIP has been doing so in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders as provided in the Act.”
Waziri-Azi explained that whenever domestic sexual violence occurs, it is not only evil to look the other way; we are also encouraging such to become an acceptable norm and practice in our communities.
The DG pointed out that “the majority of the cases reported in AMAC include spousal battery where men beat their wives and push them out of their houses.” We have also seen a lot of cases of child abuse including child abandonment around AMAC.
“NAPTIP is currently handling a case where a mother used hot pressing iron and made marks all over her daughter’s body. We are also handling another case where three children residing in Jabi village were abandoned by their parents for about four months leading to the eldest, a 12-year-old, attempting to commit suicide.
President, Wives of Traditional Rulers Association, Ambassador Hannatu Usman also called on parents to take their parenting role as sacred in order to protect their children from all forms of child abuse.
She said in the 17 chiefdoms in the FCT, all the wives of the traditional rulers have made it a point of duty to partner with relevant agencies to protect the boys and girls in their communities and chiefdoms.
“The association of traditional leader’s wives frowns at all practices that endanger our communities. We put our heads together to see how we could protect our children by partnering with NAPTIP and Legal Aid. “On December December 2022, Legal Aid is going to organize training for the traditional rulers to enlighten us on our rights and what we should do to ensure justice for our people,” she said.