Millions of children suffer violence every year in Nigeria - approximately 6 out of every 10 children under the age of 18 years experience some form of physical, emotional and sexual violence before the age of 18 years, according to the Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey, carried out by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Announcing the launch of the year-long campaign to end violence against children, the President said “This is a historic day. A day when Nigeria stands up and says to our children - we commit to protecting you from violence.”
The survey found that one in two children experience physical violence; one in four girls and one in ten boys experience sexual violence; and one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence. The majority of children do not tell anyone what has happened to them and fewer than five per cent receive the help they need to recover.
“These findings are an urgent call to action not only for the Government, but also for civil society organisations, religious and traditional groups, the media, the private sector, communities, parents and families to come together to tackle violence against children,” the President added, pledging the full commitment of the Government of Nigeria during the campaign and beyond to tackle violence against children.
To develop a robust response plan to the findings of the survey, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development has brought together representatives from key Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as Civil Society and Faith Based Organisations.
“The Government of Nigeria and its partners are to be congratulated on their commitment to end violence against children” noted UNICEF Nigeria Representative Jean Gough. “UNICEF will continue to support Nigeria in its efforts to ensure that children are protected from sexual, physical and emotional violence”.
“We have made progress in this fight but much still remains to be done” added U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, Maria E. Brewer. “All children must be protected from abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect. Violence against children is never justified. Violence is preventable.”