Piqued by the high rate of rape and other forms of violence against children in Plateau State, the state government and United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) have agreed to partner towards eradicating the menace in the state.
Plateau State government, on Wednesday, released data revealing that no fewer than 50 cases of rape of all sexes have been reported in the past four months in the state.
Addressing newsmen ahead of the launch of a campaign to end Violence Against Children (End VAC) in Jos, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Develpment, Mrs.Rufina Guruyen said the available record in her ministry revealed 5O recent cases of rape in the state, adding that the process of getting the date had been painstaking because parents of the victims of rape were not keen on disclosing the acts for fear of stigmatisation.
The commissioner, who said her ministry was working towards ensuring that justice was done to all reported cases, enjoined parents in the state to oblige the ministry with information of rape with the aim of bringing the perpetrators to book and serving as deterrent to others
Speaking earlier, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Communication Officer, Media and External Relations, Mr Samuel Kaalu, said approximately 6 out of every 10 children in the country experienced some form of physical, emotional or sexual violence before the age of 18, annually.
He said research and findings revealed that violence against children are on the increase in the country.
He said: “One in two children experiences physical violence; one in four girls and one in ten boys experiences sexual violence; and one in six girls and one in five boys experiences emotional violence.”
Kaalu commended government of Plateau State for standing against violence against children, adding that Plateau was the fourth state in Nigeria to respond to the call made by President Muhammadu Buhari during the launch of the National Action to End Violence Against Children during which every state in Nigeria initiated its own campaign.
According to him, in response to the call by President Buhari to end violence against Children campaign, it will be launched in Plateau State by Governor Simon Lalong, the Governor of Plateau State, on 29 September, 2016.
According to Kaalu, the Orientation /Ethical Training is to sensitise the media as well as enhance their skills on reportage of children’s issues as part of overall efforts to raise awareness on the end-violence-against-children campaign in Plateau State, given that the role of the media in helping to end violence against children can never be overemphasized.
EndVAC is a national child protection campaign funded by the United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) and Plateau State government keyed into it following President Mihammadu Buhari directive to all states to initiate the programme.