The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has challenged parents on their responsibilities of proper upbringing of children in order to reduce rate of child rights violation in Nigeria.
Mrs Sharon Oladiji, the Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, made the call in an interview in Abuja. This is coming as the World marks the Convention of the Rights of the Child at 30 ([email protected]).
Oladiji emphasised that implementation of the Child Rights Act start with families. She noted that majority of the problems we have in the country with regard to child rights violation emanate from the family, adding that if a child is well brought up issues of molestation and abuse, among others, will not occur.
“The huge problem we have is the family and home and everybody came from a family; “when you raise a child well he goes out to become a good child, when a child has problems in the home he goes out and demonstrate it,’’ according to her.
She noted that two third of children in conflict with the law were from dysfunctional families where there is no father or mother and law, adding that majority of them are brought up by single parents.
Oladiji frowned at families that have number of children they could not conveniently cater for and at the long run some of these children were being used as house helps thereby exposing them to all sorts of child labour or other forms of abuses, among others.
She said: “What we need to do is that our leaders, society, parents, communities and families will rise up to the challenge of the day. The knowledge we put on the child comes from the family and we cannot expect an outsider to do it.
“The issue of CRA among others start with the family and part of it talks about protection, abuse and violence. We find out that a lot of children that are either sexually molested is in the house either by neighbours, uncles and people close to the family.
“When we want to address these issues and look forward to justice for the child what we hear is that this is family matter, let me not stigmatise this child or children. “For me, implementations of CRA start with families, let start with the home not pointing at the government.
“If you know you cannot cope with 10 children then don’t give birth to them. “If you have 10 children, five or six you give them out to another person maybe uncles and aunties or send some to hawk you are exposing them to all forms of abuses.”
“So the problem we have is on the family,” she added. The child protection specialist emphasized that our action or inaction of the way we treat the children have some negative impact on them.
It also acts as a legislation against human trafficking since it forbids children from being “separated from parents against their will, except where it is in the best interests of the child”.
Oladiji also described the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a human right treaty that sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children to which Nigeria is a signatory.