By Polycarp Auta
The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says Nigeria loses over N1.4 trillion annually due to Violence Against Children (VAC).
A consultant with Bauchi Field Office of UNICEF, Mrs Rita Pele, said this at the inauguration of the reports on Financial Benchmark and Economic Burden of Violence Against Children in Nigeria in Jos on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the documents were for Gombe and Plateau States.
According to Pele, the figures represent 1.6 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
She explained that the figures were based on the survey conducted this year by the Federal Government in collaboration with UNICEF.
“On average, deaths and disability resulting from acts of violence against children cost Nigeria N1.42 trillion annually.
“This is equivalent to 1.6 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP. This includes physical, sexual and emotional violence against children in the country,” Pele said.
In his address, the Chief of UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, Mr Bhanu Pathak, called for increased funding by government at all levels to end violence against children in the country.
Represented by Mr Amos Kudzala, the Officer-in-Charge of the field office, Pathak said the launch of the two reports provides first-hand information on the high economic cost of violence against children in Nigeria.
“The launch of these reports today affords us the opportunity to know firsthand what we are putting into child protection as well as its high economic cost.
“The report points out clearly that there is huge financial loss from cumulative loss earnings due to loss of productivity as a result of sufferings associated with various degrees of violence, ” he said.
According to Kudzala, the findings of the two studies point to the strong need for increased funding of interventions by government to prevent and respond to violence against children in Nigeria.
” So, it becomes critically imperative for all of us to join hands together and protect the children of Nigeria from neglect and abuse.
“This can only be possible if government re-commits to adequately fund services through huge budgetary allocations that will protect children from violence,” he said.
Unveiling the document, Mrs Hassana Ayika, Permanent Secretary, Plateau Ministry of Women and Affairs and Social Development, said the launch was timely.
She pledged the continuous support and commitment of the state government to protecting the rights of children in the state.
“Plateau has since keyed into the call to protect the rights of children in the country.
“We have enacted the Child Right Law and even established the Family Court to address any violation of the rights of children.
“So, Plateau is already leading on issues of child protection,” she said.
NAN reports that the launch of the two documents was aimed at creating awareness on the need to increase allocations and expenditures for child protection services and dissemination of information on the need to spend more on child protection among others. (NAN)