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Nigeria still dangerous for children, says Report

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The country’s ranking remained the same as in 2017 with Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Syria, Iraq, Mali and Somalia.. Photo; PIXABAY

A new report released by Save the Children, an international child rights organisation, has named Nigeria among the 10 worst countries for children to live.

The country’s ranking remained the same as in 2017 with Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Syria, Iraq, Mali and Somalia.

According to the report signed by Regional Head of Advocacy, Campaign for West and Central Africa at Save the Children, Vishna Shah, successive generations of children across the continent have grown up knowing nothing other than conflict.

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“The increasingly protracted nature of conflicts has changed the risks that children face, and the effect wide-ranging,” she said.

For the Stop the War on Children report, no fewer than 170 million children in Nigeria and other African countries live in conflict zones in the continent, the highest absolute number of any region in the world.

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The number, the report added, is equivalent to one in every four African children, while the children in conflict are at the highest risk of violence.

She added, “Children have nothing to do with the causes of armed conflicts, yet they are the ones most affected by it, exposed to hunger and disease, displaced, tortured, killed, sexually-abused, deprived of education, trafficked, separated from parents, recruited as child soldiers.

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“When will children’s suffering end? Leaders should understand that if we are not heard today, we can not speak tomorrow.

“In times of crisis, we have seen that children are more vulnerable to marriage as families turn to them as mechanism for survival. These young girls, who are forced into marriage, are instantly robbed of their childhood, many have to drop out of the education system and are locked into a lifestyle where they have limited decision making power and mobility,” she said.

Shah stressed further that data showed that 90 per cent of births to adolescent girls occur within a child marriage and in conflict situations, as girls often have limited opportunities to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and inadequate access to essential services such as antenatal care and assisted childbirth.

“More needs to be done to urgently protect girls from early marriage – this means increased investment in programmes and increased data to better understand the reality of the situation.

“It is time for world leaders to fully play their role as protectors of children and future generations by putting in place policies and practices for the best interest of children first.” She said.

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