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8 Out Of 10 Nigerian Children Suffer Abuse Before Age 18 – Paediatrics

The Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN), has declared that eight out of every 10 Nigerian children suffer physical, emotional, or sexual abuse before the age of 18 years.

PAN said in a statement in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, also called on States in the country that were yet to domesticate the Child Right Act, to do so without delay.

The statement, which was jointly signed by the association’s President and Secretary, Dr. Olufemi Ogunrinde and Dr. Maria Garba, respectively, described child abuse as a global phenomenon.

It reads in part: “Child Abuse, also known as child maltreatment, is a global phenomenon. In Nigeria six out of 10 children experience physical, emotional, or sexual abuse before the age of 18 years.

“Child Abuse has serious consequences in the immediate and long term for the child, family, and the nation and interacts to undermine national security by fuelling banditry, kidnapping and religious intolerance.

“Children are more likely to be abused in settings where there is power imbalance, faulty Child Abuse reporting system, lack of political will to domesticate the Child Rights Act, fund child protective services and punish offenders.

“Adolescence is a vulnerable period physically and psychologically, with heightened risk for mental illnesses including depression, suicide, and drug use disorders.”

The statement, which called on states that had already domesticated the Child Right Act, to make the law fully implemented, recommended that the reporting of child abuse should be mandatory by law.

It added: “The Child Rights Act should be domesticated in states of the Federation where it is yet to be domesticated; in States where the Act has been domesticated it should be fully implemented.

“The conference recommends that the reporting of child abuse should be mandatory by law, and the process protected to secure the identities of the victim and the reporter and ensure the successful prosecution of the assailant.”

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