By Kevwe Ebireri
As part of efforts to address the increasing incidence of violence against children, especially child sexual abuse, rape and abduction, the federal government has set up a National Joint Task Force for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Violence against Children in Nigeria.
This is coming on the heels of the recent terror attacks and abduction of over 120 girls from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.
Inaugurating the committee in Abuja, the minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Zainab Maina, noted that whenever there are insurgencies or natural disasters such as flood, children become very easy targets as they are killed, maimed or abducted.
Maina said also that when there are economic problems in the family, children are made to hawk in the streets where they are exposed to all kinds of hazards including child sexual abuse, adding that the continuous and recent terror attacks and abduction of children from schools in the North east of the country is a clear demonstration of the extent of violence meted to the Nigerian child.
“This callous act highlights the need for government to employ a multi- sectoral approach to tackle the scourge that is eating deep into the fibre of the country.” She emphasized.
The minister disclosed that membership of the taskforce is drawn from ministries, departments and agencies of government as well as other relevant stakeholders including the Nigeria Law Reform Commission, National Human Rights Commission and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP.
Others are Legal Aid Council, Public Complaint Commission, Nigeria Police, National Orientation Agency, and the Christian and Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria.
Also speaking at the occassion, permanent secretary in the Women Affairs ministry, Habiba Lawal, stressed that there was need to establish a national joint taskforce in the country as this would provide a unified platform for government agencies and the civil society to jointly respond to child sexual abuse and violence against children in a coordinated manner and reduce drastically the menace in the country.
While delivering a goodwill message earlier, the executive secretary of NAPTIP, Beatrice Jedy Agba, condemned in strong terms the inhuman act of suicide bombers and the abduction of some girls, stressing that soon all will become history in the country.
She reiterated her agency’s commitment to partner with the Women Affairs ministry to ensure the protection of children, especially the girl-child who is most prone to abuse.