President Muhammadu Buhari has launched what has been described as an ambitious campaign to end violence against children by 2030.
The event took place at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, on Tuesday
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, president Buhari pledged to protect every Nigerian Child from abuse and violence.
“I say to children in Nigeria – on this historic day, we make a pledge. We commit to protecting each and every one of you from violence,” he said.
The campaign, which is being supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF and the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, is aimed at building and expanding on the success of just-ended Year of Action to End Violence Against Children, which was launched by the President in September 2015.
UNICEF’s chief of communication in Nigeria, Doune Porter, in a statement shortly after the launch, explained that during the just concluded Year of Action to End Violence Against Children, “Lagos, Cross River, Benue and Plateau States all heeded the President’s call to launch their own State campaigns; Bayelsa became the 23rd State in Nigeria to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act and nine States joined hands to develop a model child protection system to put the Child’s Rights Act into practice.”
Porter noted that millions of children suffer some form of physical, emotional or sexual violence every year in Nigeria.
“A survey carried out last year by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that approximately 6 out of 10 Nigerian children experience one of these forms of violence before they reach 18,” he stated.
President Buhari, in his speech acknowledged that “the Year of Action has created a wonderful momentum to end violence against children.”
“We have a clear moral, legal and economic imperative and a global obligation to take action to end the suffering of children who live under the shadow of violence,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s West and Central Africa Regional Director, reiterated that “Ending violence against children is everybody’s business.”
“With this campaign, Nigeria has shown it is determined to mobilize political will and resources to tackle all forms of violence against children wherever it happens”.
The Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs – which was accented to by all members of the United Nations, including Nigeria – require every country of the world to formulate policies aimed at ending all forms of violence against children by 2030.
To achieve this goal, the federal ministry of women affairs and social development announced that it will convene representatives from key Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as Civil Society and Faith Based Organisations to develop a National Plan of Action.