By Davies Iheamnachor, Port Harcourt
Paediatric Association of Nigeria, PAN, has stated that six out of 10 Nigerian children are abused or maltreated before they get to the age of 18.
PAN disclosed this statistics at its 52nd Scientific Conference and 53rd Annual General Meeting of the Paediatric Association of Nigeria, PAN, tagged PANConf UYO 2022, held at the Amunice Event and Conference Centre in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
In a communique jointly signed by Dr Olufemi Ogunrinde, President of PAN and Dr. Maria Garba, Secretary, and made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt yesterday, the body regretted the raise in cases of child abuse in the country.
PAN in the communique observed that over six out of ten children get abused physically, emotionally or sexually abused before they clock 18 years, noting that abuse has long term effect on children.
It also noted that children can easily be abused in situations where protective laws are either not in existence or not implemented, calling for stiffer implementation of laws protecting children.
PAN read 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.
The body tasked all stakeholders from the family to the community, NGOs, professional bodies and the Government to play more decisive roles in protecting children from child abuse and to ensure punishment of offenders.
It further advocated that the Child Rights Act be domesticated in states of the Federation where it is yet to be domesticated.