The United Nations Children’s Fund has pledged its commitment to end violence against children in Nigeria.
UNICEF Deputy Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Isiye Ndombi, gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
Children’s Day is commemorated on May 27 every year.
The theme of this year’s celebration is, ‘Creating Safe Spaces for Children: Our Collective Responsibility.’
Ndombi decried violence against children in the country and promised that the organisation was determined to mobilise resources to tackle the scourge.
The UNICEF Deputy Representative, however, described violence against children as pervasive, adding that it occurred in the home, school and workplace.
According to him, perpetrators often include the very people children are expected to trust – parents, caregivers and other family members, friends, teachers and intimate partners.
He said, “We are currently re-analysing the 2014 Violence Against Children Survey findings to gain an even deeper understanding of the drivers of violence against children.
“We are also supporting our government partners to launch our National Plan of Action to End VAC by 2030, alongside a national Social Norms Change Strategy.
“We are supporting the government to track and monitor reported cases to end the menace.’’
Ndombi noted that violence against children affected them for life, saying the marks were sometimes visible bruises and broken bones.
According to him, harm caused by violence on children also affects their mental and physical health and their ability to function in the world.
Speaking on the year’s theme, Ndombi said it provided an excellent opportunity to speak up on behalf of all the vulnerable children in the country.
He identified the efforts of the government to end violence against children to include the conduct of VAC survey in 2014.
The survey, according to him, provides the first national representative data on the prevalence of sexual, physical and emotional violence among children in the country.
Ndombi identified Nigeria as the first country in the West African sub-region and the 9th worldwide to conduct VAC survey.
He said this demonstrated clear commitment of the government to tackle the menace.
“The findings released at the end of 2015 highlighted that millions of Nigerian children are suffering from violence every year and most are suffering in silence.
“Six out of 10 children will suffer some form of emotional, physical or sexual violence before they reach the age of 18.
“Many of them encounter violence over and over; yet, less than five per cent of the children seek help and receive support.
“This is a clear call for the government at all levels to act to end violence against children.”