The world yesterday joined the United Nations in celebrating the Universal Children’s Day which is observed annually on 20th November. The goal of Universal Children’s day is to improve child welfare worldwide, promote and celebrate children’s rights and promote togetherness and awareness amongst all children. November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The convention sets out a number of children’s rights such as the rights to be protected from violence and discrimination and the rights to life, health and education.
In commemorating the Universal Children’s Day, NOIPolls Nigeria presented a throwback from previous public opinion poll conducted in 2017, in partnership with Child Protection Hub Nigeria (CPHub). The poll highlighted the perception of Nigerians on the prevalence and awareness of Nigerians to incidents of child abuse in the country. The poll revealed a high prevalence (92 percent) of child abuse in Nigeria, corroborating a report by UNICEF which also indicated a high prevalence rate of child abuse in Nigeria specifying that millions of children in Nigeria suffer some form of physical, emotional or sexual violence.
Further findings from the poll conducted by NOIPolls disclosed that half of the respondents (50 percent) interviewed reported they have personally witnessed an incidence of child abuse within their localities. This data also substantiates a 2014 Nigeria Violence Against Children (VAC) survey by the National Population Commission, with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which revealed that 6 out of 10 Nigerian children experienced at least one form of violence before they are 18. Responding to question on how to curb the incidence of child abuse in Nigeria, a larger proportion (31 percent) of Nigerians suggested a public enlightenment on the effect of child abuse, while 12 percent advocated for strict punishment for defaulters of child abuse.
Concluding, the poll clearly revealed a high occurrence of child abuse in Nigeria. Given this high prevalence and the proportion of Nigerians who have witnessed an incidence of child abuse in their locality, all the stakeholders of the Federal, State and Local governments and their corresponding parastatals including International and Local agencies should champion the course to curb violence against children and focus on an enlightenment campaign directed towards strengthening awareness and enforcement of relevant legislative and policy frameworks in the course of protecting the Rights of the Nigerian Child.
Finally, it submitted that in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal to end all forms of violence against children by 2030, it is imperative for the Federal Government to persuade the remaining 11 States in Nigeria that are yet to pass the Child Right Act of 2003 to do so urgently so as to fully criminalize the dastardly act; therefore providing Nigerian children the opportunity where they are nurtured in a safe and secure environment.

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