September 2015 findings from the Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey carried out by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found a high prevalence of violence against children in Nigeria.
The population-based study revealed that approximately six 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.
The majority of children never tell anyone about their experience and less than 5% of children who experience violence ever receive the support they need to recover.
The survey found that childhood violence has a long-term impact that lasts well into adulthood, including poorer mental and physical health outcomes. Individuals who experienced physical and sexual violence in childhood were also significantly more likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence.
The shocking rape of a six-months-old baby in Kano recently that left the nation in shock further reinforced the call by experts to tighten security around minors against child sexual exploitation.
The defilement of the baby no doubt, touched the heart of Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari and the Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II, both of whom visited the victim in hospital and expressing shock at the incident.
It will be recalled that Jose Foundation in 2016, wrote a letter to the Wife of the President, the Inspector General of Police and Wife of the Senate President, informing them of the growing trend of abuse of minors and women in the country.
In the letter it called for a pragmatic action from highly placed individuals in authority to step up action against violence on children and vulnerable women in IDP camps and other parts of Nigeria. Although, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) may not actually be a ‘Nigerian Phenomenon’ the prevalence of abuse of minors in the country is has become ‘alarming’.
Unfortunately, several reported cases of child sexual exploitation have close family members as the ‘usual culprits’ pushing experts to redraw plans on how to deal with the monster that has continued to gain grounds in Nigeria in recent times.
Not even the Child Rights Act (2003) has been able to deter the evil doers from carrying out heinous crimes against innocent minors in the country, worse is that some states are finding it hard to domesticate the Act due factors centred around religion, culture and lack of political will.
The situation has not only affected many psychologically, but has also threatened the future of millions of children around the country.An international non-governmental organisation, Jose Foundation since 2003 has continued to champion the fight against child sexual exploitation (CSE).
To address the issue of CSE in the country, Jose Foundation has been carrying series of public awareness on how parents can protect their children from falling into the hands of sexual exploiters.
The promotion of CSE campaigns necessitated the need to organise a workshop for all stakeholders in the protection of minors in Nigeria.The Foundation through the Nigerian mission in the United Kingdom recently submitted a training proposal to several ministries in Nigeria including the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social development.
Reports have it that the ministry of women affairs and social development responded to the Foundation’s request by asking for the details of the proposed programme.
Details of the proposed workshop, which has been delivered to the Nigerian High Commission in London to be transmitted to Abuja, it was learnt will bring the crème de la crème in the Nigerian society under one roof to discuss child sexual exploitation, it’s implications and how it can be tackled.
Between August 15 and 21, 2017, some members of the federal executive council, lawmakers, the military and the internally displaced persons (IDPs), parents, care givers, family members and community leaders will have to listen to a group of experts from the United Kingdom fighting CSE on how to curb the menace in Nigeria.
Others to attend the workshop are: religious leaders; development workers; heads of schools; and other officers including law enforcement agents and social care educators.Speaking on the planned workshop, President, Jose Foundation, Prince Martins Abhulimhen told journalists that the time has come for Nigeria to join other nations who are showing commitment to the protection of minors and women from sexual abuse.
“We have taken responsibility to work with the Nigerian government to tackle CSE and that is why we choose to submit our programme details for government scrutiny and full participation”, he said.
He noted that the Foundation planned to launch a book on Child Sexual Exploitation written in three of Nigeria’s major languages and the setting up of a Jose Foundation Therapy Centre in Nigeria to be manage by UK experts to train Nigerians on how to handle victims.
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