Violence Against Children Costs Nigeria N1.4tr Yearly – UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that Violence Against Children (VAC) costs Nigeria N1.42 trillion yearly and called for increased spending on child protection services.
UNICEF said the money was equivalent to 1.6 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Profit (GDP).
It called on Nigeria to reallocate 0.1 percent based on the current levels of consolidated CP expenditure of Nigeria’s budget to increase total consolidated CP expenditure by 63 per cent.
UNICRF made the call on Tuesday at the launch of two survey documents,” A Financial Benchmark for Child Protection, Nigeria Study, Volume 1 and “The Economic Burden of Violence Against Children” in Lagos.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in September 2015 called for a National Campaign to End Violence against Children (VAC) in Nigeria.
Juliane Koenlg of UNICEF Abuja presented the report of the studies on behalf of the consultants of the survey.
Koenlg said, “The analysis of the economic costs shows that violence against children carries a considerable burden in Nigeria.
“The findings provide a strong evidence-base for urgent prioritised development and funding of interventions by all stakeholders for the reduction of violence against children.
“The adverse consequences of childhood violence affect not only children as individuals, but by extension, families, communities and societies. Nigeria’s future economic growth and development, may unfortunately, be compromised if sustained, commuted support and resources to Nigeria’s Child Protective Systems are not secured.”
She said that the systems were essential in the identification and prevention of suspected cases involving violence against children as well as to ensure immediate access to health and protective services for victims when warranted.
Koenlg said it was associated with poor physical and mental health as well as educational attainment in Nigeria, adding that they were vital components of a country’s economic growth and development.
Denis Onoise, a Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF, explained that there was need for call to action by governments and stakeholders to add child protection budget line to national chart of accounts.
He said based on the study only 14 per cent of child protection expenditure in Nigeria was devoted to critical prevention services.
“Hence the needed strong shift in budget allocation and expenditure toward prevention services to create a more holistic child protection system,” he said.
Bola Balogun, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, commended UNICEF for the efforts put into the reports, adding that the findings in the assessments serve as a wakeup call for all stakeholders to go back to the drawing board and chart a new course toward increased funding for child protection.
Grace Obi-Ukpabi of the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Abuja, on her part, said investments on human beings have accrued benefits.