Violence against women and girls still common in Nigeria, says UNICEF

Violence against women and girls still common in Nigeria, says UNICEF

- UNICEF says Nigeria still witnesses massive violence against women and girls

- This was contained in a new report by the global body released on Wednesday, March 4

- Experts say Nigeria must address the issue to ensure vulnerable girls and women are protected

UNICEF has warned that much more needs to be done to protect the rights of Nigerian girls, particularly from violence.

The warning is coming at a time the world is set to mark 25 years since the historic Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action to advance women’s and girl’s rights across the globe.

In a new report released on Wednesday, March 4 titled: A New Era for Girls: Taking stock on 25 years of progress, UNICEF, Plan International and UN Women reveal that violence against women and girls is still common, despite significant gains in education globally.

Violence against women and girls still common in Nigeria, says UNICEF
UNICEF says Nigerian authorities must do more to ensure the safety of vulnerable women and girls.
Source: UGC

Globally, 1 in every 20 adolescent girls aged 15–19 years - around 13 million - has experienced forced sex, one of the most violent forms of sexual abuse women and girls can suffer.

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In Nigeria, 1 in 4 girls has suffered sexual violence, while only 2 per cent of girls aged 15–19 years who ever experienced forced sex sought help from professionals.

“Sadly, after 25 years, the world is still a very violent place for girls and women – including in Nigeria,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative.

Hawkins called for rapid and aggressive investment in protection services and support programmes to address the issue.

According to him, the initiative will give survivors of violence an opportunity to speak up and to heal.

He called for collaboration with local communities to change practices that make women and girls vulnerable to violence and abuse.

The report further notes that harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) continue to disrupt and damage the lives and potential of millions of girls globally.

Each year, 12 million girls are married in childhood, and four million are at risk of FGM.

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In Nigeria, about 19.9 million girls have experienced FGM. 43 per cent of girls are married before their 18th birthday and 17 per cent before they turn 15.

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Meanwhile, Nigeria has been ranked in the bottom 10 for performance on child flourishing by a report released on Wednesday, February 19.

The report was by a commission convened by UNICEF, the World Health Organization and The Lancet, and the ranking is based on factors including measures of child survival and well-being such as health, education, nutrition, equity and income gaps.

Similarly, UNICEF recently revealed that over 20,000 grave violations were carried out against Nigerian children in the last seven years.

UNICEF while warning that children across the globe have continued to pay a deadly price in the face of the conflict said, more than 170,000 grave violations have been carried out against children.

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In a related development, Skills Outside School Foundation (SOSF) has concluded plans to train over 200 female primary school pupils on life and leadership skills in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl.

The SOSF is partnering with UNICEF, Department for International Development (DFID) and Plan International to carry out the project.

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