By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu – An NGO, Africa Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) has called for establishment of family courts to support vulnerable and abused children.
The Lead Psychologist in the NGO, Mr Chimezie Elekwachi, made the call in Enugu on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Elekwachi, who focused on rising cases of violence and abuse of children in the country, said that with family courts, the rights of children would be better upheld and
punishment meted out on perpetrators.
He stressed the need to check the rate of physical and sexual abuse of both female and male children, as well as the need to give them a voice.
He added that “as most states have passed the Child Rights Act, it is necessary that states establish family courts to handle cases pertaining to children.
“Professionally speaking, it is the family courts that will effectively handle child and children issues, as well as protect the image, personality and integrity of the child or children.
“The courts are necessary to treat the growing number of child abuses as it will also help the society to protect children better.”
He said ANPPCAN had launched a website — childrights.org.ng — to receive prompt complaints from victims.
He added that “with this website, anybody even a child can report any act of abuse on him or her and we will follow up the complaint to logical conclusion.”
Elekwachi, who is a clinical psychologist, enumerated some of the growing forms of child abuse to include street begging, forced labour and forced hawking.
He said “in our neighbourhoods today, homosexuals and lesbians take advantage of children and exploit them sexually.” (NAN)