United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF)

The economic impact of the violence against children in Nigeria is estimated at about $6.1 billion, which is equivalent to about 1.07 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund said on Thursday in Abuja that it was stated in a report on studies it jointly launched with the Federal Government.

It was overseen by the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.

The reports include: The Economic Burden of Violence against Children-Nigeria Study; Financial Benchmark for Child Protection- Nigeria Study.

UNICEF said: “The study may actually underestimate the economic burden of violence against children, as serious consequences of such violence were not included, due to a current lack of data.

“However, it was noted that the study may actually underestimate the economic burden of violence against children, as several serious consequences of such violence were not included, due to a current lack of data.

“This financial loss is from the cumulative loss of earnings due to loss of productivity, stemming from suffering associated with different degrees of violence over time.”

Commenting, Ifeoma Anagbogu, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, said: “The cost of inaction is high, when it comes to violence against children.

“Violence affects children’s health, education and productivity.

“It is clear that we need to eliminate any form of violence against children- both from a moral perspective and an economic perspective.”

The report revealed that about half of the Nigerian children surveyed experienced physical violence by parents, adult relatives, direct or indirect caregivers or community members before they reached 18.

Also, Olajide Odewale, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, said findings of the studies called for increased funding of interventions.

“The findings of this study point to the strong need for increased funding of interventions by government to reduce violence against children in Nigeria,” Odewale said.

UNICEF’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Malick Fall, said the evidence presented in the report indicated an urgent need to provide child protection services and prioritise the elimination of violence against children.

Fall said: “This can ensure the country’s human capital has the mental, physical and emotional stability needed to boost its social and economic development.

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, giving us an opportunity to join our collective efforts to protecting children from violence, abuse and neglect.

“This includes a re-commitment to increase investment in child protection services.

“The research on violence against children was led by the Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with UNICEF.”

It also had funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, through USAID, EU and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

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