By Auwal Umar, Gombe

The Chief Field Officer of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Bauchi Mr Bhanu Pathak has said Nigerian loses an estimated 1.42 trillion Naira to violence against children yearly.

UNICEF Chief Field Office Bauchi Mr Bhanu Pathak who was represented by the Child Specialist, Ladi Alabi stated this while speaking during the launching of the report on financial benchmark and economic burden of violence against children in Nigeria for Gombe and Plateau states in Jos on Wednesday.
He said 60 per cent of Nigeria Children suffer from violence either, physical, emotional or sexual violence and out of the number 50 per cent suffer from physical violence in Nigeria.
“52 per cent of boys and 50 per cent of girls in Nigeria are physical violence victims prior to 18 years of age, on average, physical violence against children costs Nigeria 1.008 billion nairas, 11 per cent of boys and 25 per cent of girls are victims of sexual violence which coast Nigeria 307 billion Naira and the country also loses 91 billion nairas to emotional violence which has 20 per cent of boys and girls 17 per cent.

Mr Pathak explained that there is huge financial loss from the cumulative loss of earnings due to loss of productivity, stemming from suffering associated with different degrees of violence against children over time.

He said, the launch of the two reports affords UNICEF the opportunity to know first-hand, what it is putting into child Protection as well as the high economic cost of violence against children in Nigeria.

Mr Pathak said, “As part of a wake-up call, President Muhammadu Buhari on September 2015, declared a national campaign to end violence against children in Nigeria to end violence against children by the year 2030. Impressively, both Plateau and Gombe States responded with state launches in 2016 and 2017 respectively”.
Also speaking Gombe state Statistician-General, Alhaji Muhammad Gidado, said this is in response to the growing cases of VAC in the country, parents must be made to own their responsibilities to the children.

“The issue of ending violence against children is a collective responsibility that all must stand against, the reason for the increase of the problem is because parents in Nigeria are refusing to be parents and do the needful,” Gidado said.
While commending Katsina state government for making steps towards ensuring the review of (Tsangaya) Almajiri schools the statistician explained that violence against children cannot be addressed when children are roaming the street as Almajiri, a high number of out of school children and drug addicts.
“Findings has revealed that about 41 per cent of Nigeria’s populations are children, out of which about 50 per cent or 6 in every 10 suffer one form of violence or another, if we must change this tide, parents sending their children out as Almajiri must be forced to ensure they provide them with accommodation, feeding as well as clothing,” said Gidado.

Earlier in her welcome address, Plateau State Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs Hasana Aiyika the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, stressed the need to protect children if Nigeria must succeed in all human endeavours.

She made a call that all subsequent budgets must be very sensitive to the issues relating to the protection of children against violence especially in the release of funds.

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