The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, has expressed worry over the increasing cases of violence against children, regretting that they have remained the endangered species amidst all efforts in place to ensure their protection from all forms of violence in the country.
Tallen made this known at a press briefing on Tuesday ahead of the 2022 National Children’s day to be commemorated on the theme; ”Strengthening Supportive Systems for the Protection of the Nigerian Child: A Wake up call,” noting that the year’s theme resonates with emerging issues and concerns that affect and impact the wellbeing and safety of the Nigerian child.
Children’s day first celebrated on May 27th 1964 was made an annual event to honour Nigerian children as critical stakeholders in National Development. The Day marks the celebration of children, raise awareness on issues affecting their wellbeing and appreciate their future socio-economic value to the development of a nation.
According to Tallen, Nigeria is signatory and has ratified many International and Regional Treaties, Charters and Conventions, specifically the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Article 33 of the Convention states that “Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect children”.
She added that in fulfillment of this commitment, Nigeria passed the Child Rights Act, 2003. From 24 in 2019, we now have 31 States that have domesticated the Law across the Federation. Advocacy is ongoing in the remaining States and we are confident that before the end of this administration we will achieve this feat.
She however regretted that, ”Despite the efforts by Government and other stakeholders, the rate of child vulnerability has increased in Nigeria ranging from child abduction, forced trafficking, battering, rape, child abandonment, child marriage, forced labour, exploitation, ritual killings, domestic abuse, neglect, baby factories which are all acts that are perpetrated by close family members and care givers that are supposed to provide them with protection.
”More worrisome is the recent increase of violence in schools where children are physically, sexually abused online and off line allegedly perpetrated by their peers and teachers who are supposed to protect and shield them from violence,” she said.
Speaking further, Tallen noted the role artist in entertainment industry play to this effect, while appealing for more constructive lyrics from musicians, as the young ones see them as role models.
“The role of the entertainment industry at this time also comes to mind. Yes, we agree that they are in it for business, but we will not hesitate to speak out against them if their interest jeopardize the lives of the future generation of this country.
“I recently saw a video of some very young children who upon being arrested agreed that they were going to another State to learn the act of yahoo business. And I wonder where we have lost it.
“Nigerian Mothers and Fathers, as well as members of the society let us together say enough is enough. No to violence against children. I urge parents to devote more time to supervise the activities of their children, while children themselves should shun any negative activities, including drug and substance abuse, cultism and focus on their studies. Nobody celebrates failure but everyone celebrates success.
Continuing, the Minister called for better representation of women in political position as Nigerian women will only support aspirants who are gender sensitive.
She said, ” I want to again make it clear that Nigerian Women can only support winning at this time at all levels. They will sign a pact and negotiate better with all Political Parties ahead on this.
“For those who want to support the women’s cause, the time is now. We make up almost 50% of the Constitution, we constitute over 70% of the voters who queue up in the rain, under the sun to support the candidates; yet when they win, we are soon forgotten. Enough is enough.
“The way forward is the meaningful engagement, inclusion and participation of women at all levels. Nigerian Women are therefore saying ‘Restructure Women into the Structure.’ Nigerian Women arise for victory is sure on our side.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of sanitary pads to students as part of measures, to create awareness on menstrual hygiene while stating the need for more pad banks at strategic places across the country.