By Polycarp Auta
Many Nigerian children suffered sexual violence annually, UNICEF said on Thursday in Jos .
UNICEF’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Gianfranco Rotiliango, said this at the inauguration of a campaign on Ending Violence Against Children, organised by the Plateau Government.
The inauguration was an offshoot of the national action plan on ending violence against children initiated in Sept. 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Launching of the action plan became necessary owing to the national survey conducted by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF, and
U.S Centre For Disease Control and Prevention.
The survey, conducted in 2014 revealed that many Nigerian children suffer various forms of violence.
Representated by Dr Abdulai Kaikai, the Chief of UNICEF’s Bauchi Field Office, Rotiliango described as shocking, the alarming rate of sexual abuse children were subjected to.
“The national survey conducted in 2014 by NPC reveals a lot of shocking and tragic findings on the quantum of violence against children in Nigeria.
“It is quite alarming and disheartening to hear that more than nine million children suffer sexual violence annually.
“So, the launch of this campaign today is timely,’’ he said.
The country representative commended the Federal and Plateau governments for responding on time by putting in place modalities for ending violence against children.
Rotiliango urged children to report every act of violence meted on them, and also called on adults in the society to support the campaign and give Nigerian a better future.
He called on government, faith-based organisations, the media, and other relevant stakeholders to play critical roles in ensuring that the menace is properly tackled.
“To every adult here today, each and every one of us, as individuals have a duty to prevent and respond to violence.
“If a child reports violence, believe them, support them and take appropriate action.