By Aminat Isah
The Federal Government( through the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development) and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNCEF on Thursday released a joint report on the high economic cost of violence against children in Nigeria.
The report estimates the economic impact of the violence against children in Nigeria to be about USD$6.1 billion, an equivalent of about 1.07 percent of the country’s GDP, being a financial loss from the cumulative loss of earnings due to loss of productivity, resulting from suffering associated with different degrees of violence, over time.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Ifeoma Anagbogu, said the cost of inaction is high, when it comes to violence against children, as violence affects children’s health, education, and productivity.
She noted that the report is a clear pointer that is needed to eliminate any form of violence against children, be it from a moral perspective and an economic perspective.
The report revealed that about half of the Nigerian children surveyed experienced physical violence by parents, adult relatives, direct or indirect caregivers or community members, before they reached 18.
Similarly, Mr Olajide S. Odewale, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, said the findings of the research indicate the strong need for increased funding of interventions by government to reduce violence against children in Nigeria.
It was noted that the study may actually underestimate the economic burden of violence against children, as several serious consequences of such violence were not included, due to a current lack of data.
The evidence presented in the report indicates an urgent need to provide child protection services in Nigeria and prioritize the elimination of violence against children, which can ensure the country’s human capital has the mental, physical, and emotional stability needed to boost its social and economic development.
Mohamed Fall, UNICEF’s Country Representative in Nigeria said ” this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, giving us an opportunity to join our collective efforts to protecting children from violence, abuse and neglect. This includes a re-commitment to increase investment in child protection services,”
The research on violence against children was led by the Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with UNICEF, and with funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through USAID, the EU and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.