The Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) has call on all religious, political and traditional communities as well as the three tiers of governments to act collectively to stop the rising sexual violence against children in Nigeria.
This is contained in the communiqué of an international workshop on churches’ commitment towards ending sexual violence against children in the country.
The communiqué read by the General Secretary, CCN, Dr. Yusuf Ibrahim Wushishi, said the workshop was a fall out of the findings and recommendations of the “Out of the shadows” Index, recently published by “The Economist Intelligence Unit”, which underline the urgency to strengthen prevention and responses to sexual violence against children.
The programme which is in collaboration with UNICEF and with the financial support of USAID and the European Union (EU), said it is important to see Nigerian children as heritage of God and should not be made victims of violence of any form.
“We call on all the religious, political and traditional communities as well as governments and the entire society at large to respond to the findings related to sexual violence against children in Nigeria as contained in the findings and recommendations of the ‘Out of the shadows’ Index:”
“We hereby share the toll-free helpline (08008008001) for victims of sexual violence and their families and encourage the society to make use of it.
“It should be noted that Child Sexual Abuse includes non-contact abuse, exposure to sexual language and images. Such violence is intimately linked to mental health challenges later in life.
“Raise awareness and stop the exposure of children to sexual images and language, for which internet poses an increased risk,” it said.
The council also drew the attention to the need to re-examine existing policies of all the bodies to which they belong and the policies of the country with a view to determine whether these policies encourage sexual violence against children in any form.
It added: “There is no such law in Nigeria mandating people to report incidents of child sexual abuse and exploitation.
“We call on the government to make the reporting of child sexual abuse mandatory. We also demand training of police, so that reports on child sexual abuse are treated adequately. Special consideration should be given to children with disabilities to ensure their protection from sexual abuse.”