This year’s children’s day celebration is themed: ‘Protect the rights of the child in the face of violence and insecurity: End child marriage’. It speaks to the frightening statistics showing alarming rates of child abuse.
In Nigeria, while there is a child’s rights act, domestication has been an issue with many states refusing to enforce the law.
UNICEF, in the Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey (carried out by the National Population Commission, with the support of UNICEF and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), revealed that half of all children in Nigeria experience violence.
The survey also revealed that four in 10 girls experience sexual violence, one in 10 boys experience sexual violence. Also, one in six girls and one in six boys experience emotional violence before age 18 and only 4 per cent of abused kids get needed help.
UNICEF also revealed that Nigeria has approximately 10 million out of school children and three-quarters of the suicide bombers in the north east have been girls.
One in two under age girls are married, (Africa Health, Human & Social Development Information Service (Afri-Dev. Info).
According to the 2013 national nutrition and health survey, every year, about 800,000 children under five years die. In Nigeria, about 12.3 million children suffer from chronic malnutrition, out of which 300,000 are at risk of dying.
The report also revealed that 19.4 per cent of children under five years old are underweight. 32.9 per cent are stunted and 7.2 per cent were wasted.
According to the Human Rights Watch, one million children in the north-east have no access to education.
The 2016 children’s day celebration is targeted at shedding light on violence against children and holding government and the society as a whole to end violence against the child.