By Justina Auta
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja signed a pledge to end all forms of violence and harmful practices against Nigerian children.
Buhari made this commitment when presenting a 750-word declaration presented by the Children’s Parliament on behalf of all Nigerian children in a national political dialogue on ending violence against children in Nigeria.
The President, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, denounced the increasing number of cases of violence inflicted on children, which have affected their development and well-being.
According to him, despite existing laws and policies to end violence against children, the acts are still perpetrated, which requires more commitment to end.
“Recalling our commitment to protect children from abuse, exploitation, trafficking and violence as part of Goal 16.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals, we remain fully engaged in collective action at all levels to end all forms of violence against children, ”said Buhari.
The seven key areas that have been adopted and signed by the President to end all violence against children include: continued support and encouragement for the adoption of the 2003 Child Rights Act in all states .
Others include adequate funding to strengthen child protection and social protection systems, universal birth registration, investment in support services that protect children affected by violence.
In addition, intensifying household economies, strengthening policies and programs that would improve the well-being and protection of children and their caregivers were part of the federal government’s commitment.
“The government remains committed to implementing the recommendations of its recent meeting on funding safe schools in Nigeria.
“And ensure that no child is subjected to physical, mental or emotional injury, abuse, neglect or ill-treatment, or subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
“Recognize the need to keep children safe in digital classrooms and to ensure that every child is safe from sexual exploitation and abuse.
“The government remains committed to enacting appropriate cybersecurity, security and data protection laws and policies with a view to building a strong system for protecting children online,” he said. .
The President therefore called for more technical and financial support from development partners to end all forms of violence against children and achieve the unified goal.
Earlier, speaking on behalf of Nigerian children, the Speaker of the National Children’s Parliament, Mr. Maisara Abbas, demanded an immediate response to the rights to safety and security, education and quality health care , among others.
Abbas therefore called on the government to promote and implement policies and interventions that would provide protection and respect for children’s rights in all areas.
He called on the government to also include children with disabilities, street children and other vulnerable people in all its programs.
The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Pauline Tallen, stressed the need for children and parents to speak out against violence suffered by children in order to ensure the prosecution of the perpetrators and end the practice.
“We are partners riding a train to end violence against children in our world. This requires effective and efficient collaborative efforts among all key players.
“The ministry will continue to address these issues through policies, laws and regulations aimed at creating a safe environment for children.
“We look forward to a strengthened partnership with relevant stakeholders, including development partners, in the hope of achieving our common goal and our collective dream of ending violence in Nigeria and the world at large.
“The child belongs to everyone and the problem of each child is everyone’s business. Let’s all rise, it’s time to act, we must rise up and support our children, they are the future hope of this country, ” she said.
UNICEF Nigeria Deputy Representative Rushnan Murtaza said violence against children is mostly perpetrated in the home and by familiar people, therefore the dialogue would reaffirm the commitment to end it.
Likewise, Dr Majat M’jid, Special Representative of the UN Under-Secretary on Violence Against Children, underscored the need for law enforcement, effective data collection and monitoring to ensure a safe and secure environment. safe for children.
Ms. Comfort Lamptey, United Nations representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, reiterated the organization’s commitment to help the government achieve its mandates regarding women and children.