1 January 2009 / All Africa.com
Lafia — Nigeria is top on the list of countries involved in the use of child labour in Africa. Also poverty, ignorance and other factors are said to be responsible for child abuse in the country.
A lecturer in the Department of Social Development at the Nasarawa State Polytechnic Lafia, Alhaji Mohammed Osoki, made the revelation while presenting a paper at a one-day sensitisation workshop on child abuse, organised by the orientation Department of the Nasarawa state Ministry of Information in collaboration with UNICEF at Akwanga council area of the state.
He said that lack or failure of mother-child bonding among other things were the causes of child abuse in the country.
He said people who were abused as children were likely to grow up and become abused parents, adding that parents who experienced emotional, cultural, family, social and economic deprivation were likely to abuse their children by resorting to projection, displacement and scapegoating.
Osoki called on parents to avoid abusing their children and other children entrusted in their care, explaining that child abuse inevitably leads to permanent damage and great suffering in children.
Hawking, especially by the female children, which was identified as one of the problems of child abuse according to him, could lead to life threatening illness, death or physical disfigure, citing the examples of the Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF), HIV/AIDS and other related diseases.
Apart from the diseases itself, high drop-out of schools, he pointed out, can be traced to children who hawk for their parents and become exposed to sexual abuse consequently resulting in teenage pregnancy.
Apart from growing up to become parents who abuse children he said child abuse also brings about high risks in children like mental retardation, premature infancy and also breeds social problems such as unemployment, broken homes, drug addiction and other social vices.
Osoki however called for the enactment of laws defining and enforcing appropriate behavioral pattern towards children and also the need to embark on public enlightenment on the nature and consequences of child abuse.
He also emphasised on Government to embark on measures to control political and socio- economic forces that create wealthy financial, economic and social pressures on parents and which engender child abuse and neglect.
A call was also made on both the Federal, State and Local Governments to introduce policies that will alleviate poverty and to guarantee welfare benefits and programmes so that children's needs such as education, shelter, health and food can be met notwithstanding the adverse socio-economic handicaps of parents.