Child Abuse: Cleric seeks implementation of sanctions against offenders

By Wandoo Sombo
Abuja, Oct. 31, 2022, Rev. Fr. Benedict Ugwuanyi has called for the implementation of civil sanctions against child abusers, to protect children in the country.
Ugwuanyi, a priest  from Nsukka Catholic Diocese, is of the view that unless strict sanctions are meted out to offenders, it will be hard to nip the escalating menace in the bud.
In a statement he signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Monday, the cleric emphasised the need to strengthen economic suport to families of victims of child abuse.
According to him, strengthening economic suport to families has become important because poverty is one of the underlying causes of child abuse, especially child sexual abuse in Nigeria.
 ” Poverty in most parts of the country is indeed worrisome. The current economic situation in Nigeria has brought about the challenge of financial insecurity.
” Increasingly, many low income families are thrown into abject poverty, leading to more and more children dropping out of school, being exposed to the rough life in the streets and most of the time, these children end up as victims of child abuse.
“Strengthening poor family’s economy can prevent child abuse and neglect by improving parent’s ability to meet their children’s basic needs.
” It equally reduces conflicts among the couple and as such, gives the child a conducive atmosphere to grow.”
 The clergyman also said that economic independence would help protect families, especially those in need, from exploitation and other risks.
“Family economic stability and empowerment reduces the risk factors for child abuse in the families.”
He opined that religious communities were uniquely positioned to prevent and respond to violence against children.
” There is strong consensus across religious traditions about the dignity of every child and the need to protect children from different forms of violence.
He say the inherent rights of the child were present in the teachings and traditions of the world’s major religions.
According to the cleric, their extraordinary moral authority, religious leaders are able to influence, think, foster dialogue and set priorities for members of their communities.
He stressed the need to protect the little ones and prevent them from falling victim to any form of child abuse.
” Consequently, having a good knowledge of the issue at hand will create a change of mentality which is needed to combat this ugly phenomenon,” the cleric said.
The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that the Child’s Rights Act (2003) is the law that guarantees the rights of all children in Nigeria.
It provides for the best interest of a child to be of paramount consideration in all actions and also provides for a child to be given protection and care necessary for his or her well-being.
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