According to UNICEF Survey conducted in year 2015, approximately 6 out of every 10 Nigerian children under the age of 18 years experience some form of physical, emotional and sexual violence before the age of 18 years. 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. Child Labour remains a major source of concern; the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimate reveals that the number of working children under the age of 14 in Nigeria is about 15million.
In year 2003, Nigeria passed the national Child Rights Act to domesticate the international Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child. To date, 24 states out of 36 state in Nigeria has passed the child rights Law, with Enugu state being the most recent to enact the law in December 2016. The child Rights act specifically guarantees the right of the child and protects him/her from all forms of abuse including early/ forced marriage and exploitation.
On the celebration of 2017 international Children’s Day, the Nigerian Senate adopted a motion calling on the remaining 12 states that are yet to pass the child right Act to do so immediately. The motion mandated the senate committee on women affairs to liase with the federal Ministry of women affairs and social development to ensure that the defaulting states pass the child rights Law.
Recently, Nigeria launched Campaign to End Violence against Children by 2030 reinforcing the presidential call to end violence against children made in September 2015. From 2015 till date; Lagos, Cross River, Benue, Plateau and Gombe states including and the federal Capaital, Abuja have launched the campaign to end violence against children. The Ministry of women Affairs and Social Development is working with relevant Government MDAs, civil Society, faith based organizations to develop a national plan of action that will set targets milestones to end violence against children in Nigeria by 2030.
It is hoped that the campaign to end violence against children coupled with the effective implementation of the child rights law and other relevant laws that protects the child will help address the menace of violence against children in Nigeria.
Titilope Gbemisola Akosa
Centre for 21st century Issues
Release of the findings of the Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey