The Paediatric Association of Nigeria has appealed to the 11 states yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act 2003 enacted by the Federal Government to reduce child abuse in the country, to domesticate the act.
The president of the association, Dr Edward Alikor said this in a press conference marking the 52nd/53rd Annual General Meeting/ Scientific Conference tagged, PANCONF UYO 2022 on Tuesday.
Alikor said that the inability of the 11 states mostly in the Northern path of the country to domesticate the child rights act was a serious issue to the paediatrician association.
According to him, the 11 states yet to domesticate the Act include Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa, Zamfara, Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Borno and Adamawa.
He said that domestication of the Act would increase child protection and reduce the chances of child abuse in the country.
Our correspondent reports that the theme of the conference is: “Child Abuse: An Escalating Menace in Nigeria.”
He said that the fundamental principle of the association is to look after children and their welfare wherever they are in the country.
He said that six out of every ten Nigerian children have suffered one form of abuse or the other which calls for serious concern among stakeholders.
“Nigeria is notorious for child abuse, it is estimated that six out of ten children in this country have suffered one form of abuse or the other. For boys 10 per cent and for girls 25 per cent, four out of every ten. So, you can see is a major issue.
“Many of the 11 states are in the Northern path of the country, help us advocates for the domestication of the law and its execution. It is the relevance of what we have gathered to discuss in Uyo,” Alikor said.
Alikor said that the association formed about 60 years ago with a membership of over 1000 across the country has been using the conference over the years to discuss issues concerning children.
He added that PAN will use the conference in creating awareness to the public on the issues concerning child abuse and measures to eradicate the abuse.
“Every year, the third week of January, we come together to have discussions relating to this fundamental objective of our Association.
“We move from one path of the country to another, the last time we gathered was in Kano and before then was in Ibadan and today we are in Uyo and in each occasion, we have a theme and this year’s theme is Child Abuse: An Escalating Menace in Nigeria,” he said.
The PAN president also solicited partnership from Journalists in the country to disseminate information on child abuse to enable the association to achieve its objective.
“Our reach is very limited and that is the basic reason that we are gathered for you to deliver the message; that Pediatricians are around, who we are, and what is the main theme we are focusing on, as far as our stay in Uyo is concerned,” he said