The Child Protection Network (CPN), an Enugu-based coalition of NGO, has called on children and students to shun bullying and cult-related attitudes to stem the tide of child abuse in the country.
The Chairperson of CPN, Mrs Margaret Nwagbo, made the call during the celebration of Universal Day of the Child and World Day Against Child Abuse held in Enugu on Wednesday.
Nwagbo who noted with dismay the rise of child abuse by older children over the younger ones, advised those responsible for the ugly development to retrace their steps.
According to her, the weaker children may not have the strength to rise to their full potential presently, but might be future stars tomorrow even as some of them face slow physical development; hence the need to stop bullying at them.
“Not all weak children are stupid. A weak child can turn out to be a governor of a state tomorrow; therefore, there is the need to give all children the attention they deserve.
“We must end bullying. We must advocate and stop this now since it leads to gang up and cultism.
“For the weaker children will not have the strength to rise to their full potential if being shouted down always we must allow them to grow at their God given pace,’’ she said.
She called on parents to take out time and carry out full observation of their children; while fathers should always bring out time for their boys.
A staff of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), who spoke on condition of anonymity, encouraged children and students to focus on their studies.
She urged them to shun people especially relatives that distract them with offer of working abroad and making foreign currency.
“There is no job out there for someone who does not have a profession or learnt a trade; rather they will deceive you and use you as slaves making money for them abroad.
“They might even use you as sex slave to satisfy either a male or female. So, say no to child traffickers even if they are related to you.
“For anyone of you receiving imminent threat to travel abroad without your consent from anybody no matter how related to you, please report to these NGOs and NAPTIP so that we investigate the matter,’’ she said.
Rev. Fr. Ambrose Ekereoku, Executive Director, Carmelite Prisoners’ Interest Organization (CAPIO), urged the children especially the girl-child to always speak out against any sexual abuse on them at home.
“You should be able to speak out and confide in an adult or any of the NGOs if someone is taking undue sexual advantage of you. CAPIO’s office in Enugu is always open for such complaints,’’ Ekereoku said.
The event featured debate and drama portraying the negative effect of child abuse and child neglect.
It would be recalled that CPN came to being in 2011 when UNICEF brought together stakeholders fighting for the rights of the child at a workshop.
The Universal Children Day is celebrated annually on Nov. 20 with the goal to improve child welfare worldwide, promote and celebrate children’s rights and promote togetherness and awareness amongst all children.
Also, Nov. 19 has been designated as the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse and there is currently physical, sociological, psychological and verbal child abuse.