President Mohammadu Buhari has called for perfected concrete plans to end violation against children in Nigeria and the World over, pledging Federal Government support and commitment to protect children from all forms of violence that militate against their survival and development.
The president called for the perfection of concrete national plan of action and strategy to achieve this goal calling on Ministries, departments, agencies and all stakeholders to ensure that the action is taken to prevent and respond to violence against children (VAC) in the country.
President Buhari, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) at the Banquet Hall of presidential Villa during the commemoration of Presidential Year of Action to End Violence Against Children and Launch of National Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Campaign to End Violence against Children by 2030 said;
“Our children were suffering physical, sexual and emotional violence with the vast majority suffering in silence. This indicated that our children urgently needed our protection and support.
“One year of action has created a wonderful momentum for VAC. The initiative must be sustained because we have clear moral, legal and economic imperatives to end the suffering of children who live under the shadow of violence”, he said.
Buhari also called on other countries in the world to end violence against children by 2030 adding, “Nigeria has a global obligation to sustain its resolve”.
Earlier, Speaker children Parliament FCT Chapter Hon. Chibuike G. Nwaka called on the Federal Government to stop paying lip service to the eradication of violence against children demanding policies that would fast tract its total eradication is implemented.
Nwaka lamented the increasing rate in violence against children particularly forceful marriages of under age children, child rape and out of school children.
He said, “We say children are our future, what kind of future shall we have if children who ought to be in school are hawking, been raped and lack basic nutrition, healthcare and good education.
“Untill we stop paying lip service in forums like this and start improving our laws to protect children compulsorily, and our leaders treat our children like theirs, children will have no future”.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Aisha Jummai Alhassan in her earlier remarks said a year of action is not enough to end violence against children.
She noted that the launch of the action plan by President Mohammadu Buhari was to place centrally on the political agenda of this administration commitment and momentum for action as well as awareness on the silent suffering of Nigeria children.
“She said, “My Ministry is proud to be leading the new SDGs campaign to end violence against children by 2030 and the development of a new National plan of action to achieve the goal.
“Let us all ensure that these priority actions are not empty commitments as we cannot afford to fail our children. We must do all we can to ensure that our society is rid of all forms of violence especially against children by 2030”.
In his remarks, the executive Director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake represented by Emmanuel pontell regretted that Government around the world was reluctant to recognize the extent of the problem of VAC in their Nations. “The victims go unrecognized, uncounted, and unreachable by the service they need.
“There is a global epidemic, an epidemic of violence against children around the world, almost one billion girls and boys have experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence this year alone; in their communities, schools, homes; every five minutes, a child somewhere dies as a result of violence”, he added.