COINDESK.COM

Some community and religious leaders in Kaduna State on Tuesday, pledged to support the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in ending all forms of violence against children in the state.

The leaders made the pledge during a 2-day sensitisation workshop on ending Violence Against Children (VAC) organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with UNICEF in Zaria.

Alhaji Uba Aliyu, a community leader from Kaduna South Local Government, commended UNICEF for the workshop saying it had armed them with knowledge on how to tackle VAC.

Aliyu said he would first ensure that no form of violence against children occur in his home by sensitising his family members on its forms and dangers.

He added that he would collaborate with other leaders to sensitise members of the community on VAC and how to avoid it.

Mr Sulaiman Barau, a community leader from Makarfi Local government, said he would use advocacy to sensitise his community about VAC, its impacts on children’s development and how to end it.

Mrs Murna Musa, a member of the Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria, Jema’a local government, said cases of violence against children was rampant in her community.

She mentioned that the workshop had equipped her with knowledge on how to identify VAC and tackle it effectively.

“We shall enlighten and educate our mothers at home on VAC, how to prevent it or report it when it occurs,” she said.

Also, Hajiya Amina Abdulkadir from the Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria, Zaria branch, said that the organisation would step down the campaign against VAC to local communities.

She said that married women, teenagers and children would be targeted and sensitised on VAC through Islamic schools and sermons.

Meanwhile, Mr Denis Onoise, of UNICEF Kaduna field office, said that the organisation was ready to work with relevant stakeholders to end all forms of violence against children.

Onoise said children suffer from physical, sexual and emotional violence, mostly perpetrated by people close to them.

“This is why most children who are abused don’t speak up due to fear, stigma and the thought of not being believed by their caregivers,” he said.

He, therefore, called on community leaders, religious and traditional rulers to do their best in sensitising and creating awareness to their followers on VAC and its consequences on the child.

On his part, Zubair Galadima-Soba, NOA state Director, expressed concerns over the rampant cases of violence against children in parts of the state.

He said the agency was interested in changing the attitude of the perpetrators of VAC in the state.

He appealed to the stakeholders and participants in the workshop to take the knowledge gained at the event back home and share with parents in the efforts to tackle the menace in communities.

Yusuf Balarabe, NOA focal person, said the objective of the workshop was to update the knowledge of participants on the current situation and impact of VAC in the state.

Balarabe said that the programme would help reduce the prevalence of early marriage and almajiri system in communities.

”It would also increase awareness on how to know and identify an abused child and to report same to the appropriate agency for action,” he said.

Newsmen reports that UNICEF and NOA had organised similar workshop on Sept.16 and 17 to sensitise relevant stakeholders on VAC in the state.

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