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UNICEF calls for domestication of Child Rights Act in Nigeria

The United Nations Children Education Fund is  urging the Federal government to ensure  the domestication of the Child Rights Act in all  the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital territory.

The child right body is also calling  for universal access to birth registration services, by giving an identity to each and every child.

While stating the need to raise awareness on child abuse due to some prevailing social norms and harmful practices.

 UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Mohammed Fall said violence against children, in any form, not only has a lifelong impact on a child’s physical and psychological development, but also eventually results in diminished human capital , affecting all society.

According to Fall, if Nigeria does not achieve the SDGs , including those on ending violence against children. The world will not achieve the SDGs.

“We need to make crucial case for increased investments in protecting Nigeria’s children, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all Nigerians thrive in good health and flourish across human capital and economic growth indices.”

In his words”Today, we have in our hands two very important reports, which, taken together, provide the evidence that violence against children represents a huge cost to Nigeria’s economy (1.42 trillion NGN, which is the equivalent of 1.58% of Nigeria’s GDP), and also that we can and should invest more in protecting children.”

He hinted that to implement a comprehensive child protection system with a strong legal foundation, investment in children is very critical.

“The reports not only call for a reallocation of only 0.1% of Nigeria’s budget to child protection services, but also importantly highlight the necessity of adequate release of funds during the fiscal year”

“The fiscal budget and subsequently expenditure on child protection services are currently low, not even reaching 0.5% of Nigeria’s total expenditures (2015: 10.1 billion NGN, which equals 0.16% of the consolidated Federal and State expenditure.

 Currently, government expenditures cover mainly responsive child protection services, thereby neglecting the importance of essential preventive measures”.

The Country Representative further reiterates its firm commitment to provide continued support in the areas of child protection towards achieving the SDGs in 2030.

“As child rights advocates, we at UNICEF firmly believe in the importance of investing in children, keeping in view the need to protect and promote the rights of each and every child, including protecting our children from any form of violence.”

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