Thursday, 17 September 2015 12:23

NIGERIA: VAC Survey: 60% Children Experience Violence Before 18 Years

11 September 2015 - Mr Ezekiel Oyemomi, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, said 60 per cent of Nigerian children experience one form of violence before they attain the age of 18.

Oyemomi said this at the news conference on the release of the findings on Nigeria's Violence Against Children Survey of 2014 on Thursday in Abuja.
He observed that Nigeria was the first country in West Africa to conclude the survey on VAC after the 2006 international survey which preceded survey by nations.

The permanent secretary stated that the survey had provided information on the sexual, physical, emotional violence carried out against children across the 36 states of the country.

"The survey provided valid information on the prevalence, locations and perpetrators of violence as well as service seeking behaviour carried out on minors that transcend into adulthood.
"Prevalence of VAC is high in Nigeria and over 60 per cent of children experience one or more forms of violence before the age of 18 years.
"This means that millions of our children are subjected to sexual, emotional and physical violence every year and it is widespread into our generations.
"One in 10 children experience physical violence before the age of five," Oyemomi said.

He explained that physical violence included killing, whipping, drowning, choking, intentional burning and threatening with weapons, which was usually experienced at an early age.
According to him, VAC is mainly carried out in places they are supposed to be safe such as homes, communities and schools.
He further stated that most children hardly express themselves when violence was carried out on them and such would limit their recovery.
"It is most disturbing that less than five per cent of children who suffered violence will speak out and it means that children are not getting the help they need while perpetrators are freed," he said.

He added that VAC would expose children who suffered violence to be perpetrators of violence in the society, if not properly curbed.
Oyemomi said irrespective of the fact that fighting against violence was not the responsibility of the government alone; it was time for action to end VAC.
"All relevant agencies, ministries need to join hands to prevent and respond to violence as well as NGOs, communities and prominent individuals," said the permanent secretary.

He, however, said findings from the survey, prevalence of violence and the year for action to end VAC was a time for critical beginning.
He charged the media on effective collaboration to ensure the dissemination of information to ensure Nigerian children grow up freely devoid of violence.
Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said children were spontaneous and violence was a public health disorder.
Odinkalu, also an ambassador for VAC, said that fight on VAC was long overdue, adding that children are the biggest asset in life.
"We have a responsibility to hand over something to our children for them to run with, but if it is destroyed by violence, it becomes impossible.
"We need to validate the positive things of who we are and giving the best to the asset we have," he said.

He added that VAC does tremendous emotional, psychological damage and over time does remarkable ethical damage.
According to him, ethical damage is long lasting, adding that it destroys the capabilities of such a child to become better in life.
He, however, said that it was time to take action, adding that everyone was an agent of partnership to end violence against children.

Presenting some of the findings from the survey, Mr Samson Olanipekun, Director, Planning and Research, National Population Commission, said ending VAC was acting to secure the future.
Olanipekun said that there was a symbiotic relationship between ending VAC and nation building.
He stated that 4,203 children (1,766 females and 2,437 males) within the range of 13-24 years participated in the survey.

The director said the participants were made to tell the stories of their childhood and the survey was based on occurring events within the past 12 months in the 36 states of the federation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammed Buhari would on Sept. 15 in Abuja launch the year of action to end VAC. (NAN)

Source: Leadership (AllAfrica)

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