Violence against children: UNICEF lists Nigeria as “Global Pathfinder”
• Tasks 12 States On Child Right Act
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged government at all levels to intensify efforts at putting an end to violence against children in the country, imploring them to adopt Child Rights Act in all 36 states of the federation.
This was contained in a statement made available to The Guardian, yesterday, in Akure, by the UNICEF Communication and Advocacy Officer, Lagos Office, Mrs. Blessing Ejiofor, to mark the 2017 Children’s Day, themed: “Child Protection and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
UNICEF lauded Nigeria’s national and state governments’ efforts to reduce violence and exploitation of children, recognising Nigeria as a Global Pathfinding country in the worldwide battle to combat violence against children.
Ejiofor, however, lamented that millions of Nigerian children still suffer some forms of physical, emotional or sexual violence, which the Child Rights Act aims to eliminate in the society.
She noted that Nigeria adopted the national Child Rights Act in 2003 to domesticate the international Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“So far, state-wide Child Rights Acts have been passed in 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states, with Enugu being the most recent to enact the law in December 2016,” she said.
UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Mohamed Fall, used the Nigerian Children’s Day to highlight the prevalence of violence against children in the country and measures needed to address it.
“In line with the Sustainable Development Goal to end all forms of violence against children by 2030, Nigeria has launched a Campaign to End Violence Against Children by 2030 to end such violence first made in September 2015.
“Each one of us is responsible for creating a world, where children feel safe, protected and empowered to speak up for themselves,” he said, reiterating the important roles played by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
He added that UNICEF is also working with key government partners, civil society and faith-based organisations to develop a National Plan of Action that will set targets and milestones to end violence against children in Nigeria by 2030.