Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:52

NIGERIA: 'Early Intervention Is Key to Protection of Child Rights'


30 October 2012 - My friend was saying that 'we have nothing to worry about, it is all fun, everyone does it and it is not new'. The act continued till a point where we made it an everyday affair.

Dotun was just 12 and she was having sex with a man in his late thirties. He would not have been a victim, if she was guided properly or helped to be conscious of her human dignity. He is part of what child protection experts are calling child sexual exploitation.

Today, the problem of child abuse has continued to rise. Hundreds of children are being abused on daily basis. Unfortunately, several cases of child sexual abuse had ended in prosecutions.

According to Child Protection Network, CPN, report, each day no fewer than 100,000 children are abused in Lagos alone. More disturbing is the fact that many of these cases go unreported and the perpetrators go scot free.

But on this year's Day of the Girl Child, the issue of early intervention through proper awareness creation, reorientation and sensitisation of those at risk was on the front burner. The goal was to reduce drastically the menace of child abuse.

Child Rights' Activist, Barrister Taiwo Akinlami, "although the Child Rights Act frowns on rape and other abuses directed at children, cases of child abuse remain rampant in the country.Akinlami, who called for a re-orientation of parents and stakeholders on the rights of children in Nigeria, spoke durng a child protection stakeholders meeting held by Child Protection Network, CPN, an initiative of UNICEF,

The Child Rights Act, which has been domesticated in a number of states, provides that, "no Nigerian child shall be subjected to physical, mental or emotional injury, abuse or neglect, maltreatment, torture, inhuman or degrading punishment, attacks on his or her reputation.

"There are many children abuses going on that we are not aware of, and the prevalence of abuse, especially sexual abuse, is massive.

"Seventy per cent of child abuse happens in the home of the people the children trust." Akinlami urged parents to spend more time with their children and teach them to participate in making decisions. He said that child abuse was rampant because the parents were not available.

State Coordinator of the Network, Mrs. Ngozi Ekwerike-Okoro, who narrated many cases of children being abused in different parts of Lagos, urged people to always report cases of abuse, adding that such would prevent further abuses.

"Parents and stakeholders should domesticate their areas of influence on the rights of children to educate others," she said, calling on government at the top to address poverty so as to guarantee child protection.

Source: Vanguard

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