By Olayinka Latona
THOUSANDS of Nigerian children are said to be traumatized by physical, sexual and emotional abuses by adults who are supposed to take care of them. Even some supposed religious and community leaders are accused of abusing children in the name of religion.
In order to check the menace of child abuse in the society, especially among religious bodies in Lagos State, the Chief Tafseer of Agege Central Mosque, Alhaji Kewuyemi AbdulGaniyi has enjoined his Islamic colleagues to sensitize their members on the dangers inherent in child sexual abuse.
He made this call during a one-day consultative meeting, saying that sensitization of the society in this regards can go a long way in curbing the menace in Nigeria.Â Â Tagged â€œA multi sectoral approach in response to Child Sexual Abuse in Lagos State,â€ the forum was conducted under the aegis of Media Concern for Women and Children, MEDIACON, a media-based non for profit organization, working in the field of sexuality and reproductive health and rights incorporating developmental issues.
In his words: â€œMy advice to other clerics in Islam is that they should intensify the sensitisation programme on the issue of child abuse in general. If they have not been creating the awareness before now, they should start it now and begin to discuss it openly to their various members. And if there are reported cases among their members, they should be urgently reported to the appropriate quarters, because this issue is not a private matter but a national issue. It is even against the holy Quaran.â€
Sexual abuse happen on a daily basis, he said, therefore any child abuse case should not be handled with levity because the scars of child abuse can be deep and long lasting, affecting not just abused children but the society in general.
In the same vein, Dr. Adeleye Adesua, vice principal of Good News Theological College and Seminary, Abuja, representing the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), put it that one of the issues bedeviling the Church of God is that of child abuse adding that child abuse is no more a hidden thing in the society.
According to him, one of the reasons why some pastors are still finding it difficult to talk about child abuse is because they were not well trained and fully prepared for the task ahead of them, stressing the need for all churches to educate their members and report cases of any child sexual abuse to appropriate authorities.
â€œIf churches keep quiet about child sexual abuse cases, especially among the children, they will learn it somewhere else and we are destroying the future of tomorrow leaders. It is better we let them know what the Holy Bible and Holy Quaran are saying about these issues,â€ he pointed out.