Plateau govt, USAID, EU seek end to violence against children
By Mohammadu Abubakar, Damaturu
Plateau State government in collaboration with USAID, the European Union, UNICEF and other development partners, has launched the campaign to end violence against children in the state.
Plateau State Deputy Governor, Professor Sonni Tyoden, launched the campaign on behalf of Governor Simon Bako Lalong.With this launch, Plateau State becomes the fourth state in Nigeria after Lagos, Cross River and Benue to respond to the call of President Muhammadu Buhari that every state initiate its own campaign to end violence against children. Buhari made that call when he launched the national Year of Action to End Violence against Children on 15 September 2015.
While flagging off the campaign, Governor Simon B. Lalong noted that violence against children was reprehensible and should not be tolerated in any society. “As a government, we have demonstrated the political will to address violence against children by first domesticating the Child Rights Law which is tailored towards providing social security for the children,” the governor said. “As societies become increasingly aware of this menace, ending violence against children can only be won if collectively fought.”
Millions of children suffer violence every year in Nigeria - approximately six out of every 10 children experience some form of physical, emotional and sexual violence before the age of 18 years, according to the Nigeria Violence against Children Survey 2014, conducted by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The survey found that one in two children experience physical violence; one in four girls and one in 10 boys experience sexual violence; and one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence. It also found that majority of children do not tell anyone when they experience violence and fewer than five per cent receive the help they need to recover from violence perpetrated against them.
At the launch of the campaign, Plateau State announced a set of Priority Actions to be taken by state, civil society, development partners, communities and individuals in the short-term and the long-term to effectively prevent and respond to violence against children. These priority responses were developed by a multi-sectoral Technical Working Group from the State Ministries for Women Affairs and Social Development, Education, Health, Justice, Information; including the National Orientation Agency, Prison Service, the Police, Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organizations, Community-Based Organizations and Faith-Based Organizations.
“I pledge UNICEF’s support to Plateau State in its efforts to fight all forms of violence against children,” said Dr. Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, ad interim. “All efforts at child survival and development would be diminished if society allows unmitigated violence to be unleashed on children,” he said.