Oyo State Government says it recorded 17 reported cases of child abuse across the state between March and June.
The state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Wasiu Olatunbosun announced this in a statement on Thursday in Ibadan.
Olatunbosun quoted Marcus Williams, Chairman of the Response Team on Sexual, Gender, Gender Based Violence and Child Abuse of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, as saying that the victims were in the age range of between one and 17 years.
According to the commissioner, Williams, while presenting the scorecard of the team between March and June, said the 17 persons involved comprised three boys and 14 girls.
He said that part of the mandate of the team was to prevent and protect against violence and other ill-treatment of children through holistic practice response, which is multi-sectoral and child-centred.
The chairman hinted that incomplete information of violence against survivors and most times, reports that were inaccurate, hindered swift responses of the team in most cases.
He added that dearth of responders, cultural values and family pressure of the survivors limited the extent of prosecuting the offenders.
Sanni appreciated the efforts of the team for its swift responses.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Christiana Abioye, said that security agencies and non-governmental organisations have been collaborating with the ministry to ensure that cases of rape and gender-based violence are dealt with accordingly.
She appealed to philanthropists, who have passion for care and advocate for the survivors and less privileged to follow due process of registering with the ministry as the state government would not spare anyone jeopardising its efforts.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
African Child Day: CBAAC canvasses for implementation of child-friendly justice system
The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) has called for the implementation of child-friendly justice system in Africa as cases of child-rape,labour and sexual violence increased across the continent.
The Director overseeing the office of the Director-General of CBAAC, Mrs. Osaro Osayande made the call in a statement, in commemoration of the Day of African Child (DAC) on Tuesday.
The theme for the 2020 edition of DAC is: “Access to a Child Friendly Justice System in Africa”.
Osayande also appealed to stakeholders at all levels to put effective measures in place to curb the rising cases of sexual violence in the country.
She said it was time for African leaders to work unanimously in implementing a child-friendly justice system to restore hope and confidence in every African child.
” CBAAC lends its voice against all forms of sexual violence, including rape, the centre is in support of the implementation of a Child-friendly justice system across the continent.
” Rape is a traumatic experience which causes psychological, emotional and physical pains to its victims, together with its adverse effect.
” We appeal to stakeholders at all levels to put in place effective measures to curb the rising cases of sexual violence in Nigeria,” she said.
Osayande said that as a cultural agency, CBAAC had in the past raised its voice against societal ills that negate the good tenets of African cultural values, through its numerous children programmes.
She urged parents and stakeholders to provide children with appropriate education as education was a human right and children deserved good education to be successful in life.
” We say No to Rape for a Better Africa!
” Indeed, this year’s DAC celebration calls for serious introspection and commitment towards addressing the numerous challenges facing children across the continent.
” We felicitate with African children on a special day like this,” she said.
She said that the centre will participate in the webinar meeting organised by the African Union Commission seeking to examine the elements of a child-friendly justice system in Africa.
Thousands of black school children took to the streets in Soweto, South Africa on June 16, 1976, to protest discriminatory educational policies by the South African government and to demand their right to be taught in their own language.
Hundreds of them were shot down in what became known as the “Sharpeville Massacre”, and in the two weeks of protests that followed, more than a hundred people were killed and more than a thousand injured.
Hence, the DAC is aimed at remembering these children and the brave action they took to claim their right as well as celebrate the entire Children of Africa who have endured one form of challenge or the other in the course of their growth.
Osayande said three decades down the line, children across Africa were still faced with varied forms of societal challenge that have hampered their safe growth and development.
She said among other societal ills, was the uncontrollable spate of sexual violence, manifesting in the form of rape, inflicted on the African child, including women and girls.
” These are sad realities particularly in Nigeria and some parts of the continent and this is the reason African leaders must unanimously implement a child-friendly justice system for the African children,” she said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
Child labour gains since 2000 could be wiped out by COVID-19, UN warns
The UN made the observation in a statement issued to commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour marked annually on June 12.
It, however, appealed to governments to continue to invest in measures that have helped reduce the number of youngsters working, by 94 million, since 2000.
Existing global estimates indicate that 152 million children are being put to work, but the figure is due to be updated next year, once the wider impact of Coronavirus lockdown precautions become clearer.
The statement quoted Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as saying: “As the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes, without support, many could resort to child labour.
“Social protection is vital in times of crisis, as it provides assistance to those who are most vulnerable.
“Millions more children risk being pushed into child labour as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, which could lead to the first rise in child labour after 20 years of progress.’’
Echoing that message, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore, explained how child labour was “a coping mechanism for many families” in times of crisis.
“Quality education, social protection services and better economic opportunities can be game changers.
“Of particular concern is growing evidence that child labour has risen in line with school closures linked to the pandemic, with more than one billion youngsters in some 130 countries impacted to date.
“Even when classes restart, some parents may no longer be able to afford to send their children to school,” ILO and UNICEF warned in a joint statement.
They added that children “may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions” as the pandemic continues.
“More children could be forced into exploitative and hazardous jobs, (and) gender inequalities may grow more acute, with girls particularly vulnerable to exploitation in agriculture and domestic work.
“More worrying still, more may be forced into the worst forms of labour, as households use every available means to survive,” they warned.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
NGO seeks domestication of Child Rights Act to end rape, child labour
An NGO, Netete Initiative, has called for domestication of the Child Rights Act to end child labour and all forms of violence against women and children in the country.
The NGO made the call while briefing newsmen on Friday in Abuja in commemoration of the World Day Against Child Labour, celebrated every June 12.
The President of the organisation, Mrs Rose Gold-Idehen, said that domestication of the Act was important, especially in states that were yet to implement it.
Gold-Idehen decried the spates of abuse and violence against women and girls in the society, saying it had increased tremendously during the COVID-19 lockdown.
She called on the Federal Government, Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders to sensitise states that have not domesticated the Act, to adopt it to address violence and other forms of abuse.
“States that have not yet domesticated the Child Rights Act should do so urgently for effective protection of the girl-child rights.
“It is a pity that some states are yet to domesticate the act because it shows that they lack adequate understanding of the children’s need.
‘” I advise that those states should have a rethink on the Act because their inaction is having effect on the average Nigerian child,” she said.
She noted that children were more at risk and exposed to sexual violence, criminal tendencies and other related offences, when they engaged in child labour.
According to her, it is important for the government to compel all states in the federation to adopt the Child Right Act.
Gold-Idehen also called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency over the increasing cases of sexual violence against women and the girls.
She called for investigations and prosecutions of sex offenders and their accomplices.
“We demand justice for all victims of sexual violence. We encourage our women and girls to report all cases of violence against them, no matter how closely related the perpetrator is to them, ” she said.
Also speaking, the NGO’s Secretary, Justice Gladys Olotee, disclosed that the organisation had recently empowered women and girls in Edo through advocacies, education and donations.
Olotee condoled with the families of Miss Uwaila Omozuwa, who was raped and killed in Edo, while studying in preparation for school resumption.
She, therefore, encouraged parents and the society to focus on the training of the male child, who were also victims and perpetrators of Gender Based Violence (GBV).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the World Day Against Child Labour is to create more awareness and activism that will prevent child labour and its effects on the child.
The 2020 theme for the day is, “COVID-19 – Protect children from child labour now, more than ever”.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
COVID-19 may push millions of children into Child Labour – ILO, UNICEF
Mr Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General and Ms Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, said this on Friday in Abuja at a ceremony to mark the 2020 World Day against Child Labour.
The theme of this year’s anniversary is, “COVID-19, Protect Children from Child Labour Now More than Ever”.
Ryder said that a joint ILO-UNICEF new report, entitled: “COVID-19 and Child Labour: A Time of Crisis, a Time to Act” had been released.
He said that the report focused on the impact of COVID-19 on child labour and the elimination of child labour by 2021.
The ILO chief said that the report looked at some of the main ways through which the pandemic was likely to affect progress towards the eradication of child labour.
According to the ILO chief, the report shows how the pandemic can lead to rise in child labour after 20 years of progress made to minimise child labour.
He said that child labour decreased by 94 million since 2000, adding that the gain was now at risk due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Ryder said that the global estimates in 2017 showed that 152 million children were in child labour worldwide.
“Children already in child labour may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions.
“More of them may be forced into the worst forms of labour, which causes significant harm to their health and safety.
“As the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes, without support, many may resort to child labour.
“Social protection is vital in times of crisis, as it provides assistance to those who are most vulnerable.
“Integrating child labour concerns across broader policies for education, social protection, justice, labour markets, and international human and labour rights makes a critical difference,” he said.
According to him, some studies have shown that one percentage point rise in poverty leads to at least a 0.7 per cent increase in child labour in certain countries.
Also, Ms Fore said that in times of crisis, child labour became a coping mechanism for many families.
Fore said that as poverty rose, schools closed and the availability of social services decreased as more children would be pushed into the workforce.
“As we re-imagine the world post-COVID, we need to make sure that children and their families have the tools they need to weather similar storms in the future.
“Quality education, social protection services and better economic opportunities can be game changers,” she said.
The UNICEF executive director also said that vulnerable groups, such as those working in the informal economy and migrant workers, would suffer most from economic downturn.
Fore added that there would be increase in unemployment, general fall in living standards, health shocks and insufficient social protection systems, among other pressures.
“Evidence is gradually mounting that child labour is rising as schools close during the pandemic.
“Temporary school closures are currently affecting more than one billion learners in over 130 countries. Even when classes restart, some parents may no longer be able to afford to send their children to school.
“As a result, more children could be forced into exploitative and hazardous jobs.
“Gender inequalities may grow more acute, with girls particularly vulnerable to exploitation in agriculture and domestic work,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the ILO and UNICEF proposed a number of measures to counter the threat of increased child labour.
They included more comprehensive social protection, easier access to credit for poor households, promotion of decent work for adults and elimination of school fees to get children back to school, among others.
Edited By: Joe Idika/Ejike Obeta (NAN)