“I am proud to launch the End Violence Against Children Campaign for Cross River State,” said His Excellency Prof. Ben Ayade, “We must work together to translate the promises we are making to children on paper today to change to the lives of children affected by acts or threats of violence. We cannot waste another minute. We cannot fail our children and our future generations.”
Millions of children suffer violence every year in Nigeria – approximately six out of every 10 children experience some form of physical, emotional or sexual violence before the age of 18, according to the Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey, carried out by the National Population Commission. The survey, conducted with support from UNICEF and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals that one in two children experience physical violence; one in four girls and one in 10 boys experience sexual violence; and one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence. Most children do not tell anyone what has happened to them and fewer than five per cent receive the help they need to recover.
At the launch of the campaign, which is supported by USAID and UNICEF, Cross River State announced priority actions, developed by a broad section of state ministries, the police, non-governmental organisations, and community and faith-based organisations, among others, to prevent and respond to violence against children.
“While national level commitments are important, the translation of these commitments into action at State, Local Government Area and Ward level is critical,” noted UNICEF Nigeria Representative Jean Gough, “UNICEF warmly congratulates Cross River State. We are excited to see States are heeding the call of His Excellency President Buhari and launching their own campaigns and state specific priority actions. UNICEF continues to be proud to support the Presidential Year of Action to End Violence Against Children and is committed to supporting States in their efforts to ensure that all children can grow up free from violence.”
“We have made progress in this fight but much still remains to be done,” added U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, Maria E. Brewer. “All children must be protected from abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect. Violence against children is never justified. Violence is preventable.”