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‘Criminalize corporal punishment of children’ – NGO tells FG

A Nigerian student tied to tricycle for being late to school. Photo: CNN

The Federal Government has been urged to criminalize corporal punishment of children in the country.

The Secretary General of an NGO, Centre for Legal Rights Advancement, Professor Bem Angwe made the call in Abuja at the launch of a campaign to end corporal punishment of Children.

Professor Angwe who is a former Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, said corporal punishment of children was inimical to their wellbeing.

According to him, six out of 10 children between three and 14 years suffer violent punishment in their homes and schools with resultant negative effects.

He described corporal punishment as a violation of children’s right to respect and dignity.

Professor Angwe noted that 66 countries had taken steps to protect the rights of children through legislation that prohibit corporal punishment.

But he complained that, in Nigeria’s case, seven years to the targeted year 2030 for the sustainable goal of ending violence against children, about 80% of children in the country still suffer various forms of physical abuse.

“Nigeria, as a country, has demonstrated a determination to realize her commitment towards bringing to an end violence against children by the year 2030 through legal reforms and multi-sectoral responses,” he said.. “The Child Rights Act 2003 prohibits physical punishment of children.”

A human rights lawyer, Frank Tietie, told the event that Corporal punishment against children was clearly outlawed in Nigeria by the Child Rights Act, adopted by 34 states of the Federation.

“From the outcomes of research and personal experience as a human rights lawyer, I can confirm that the application of corporal punishment against children has negatively impacted society,” he stressed. “This is because children who have received corporal punishment ultimately grow up to become violent people. Therefore, the present state of increasingly violent situations in Nigeria can be attributed to the institutionalization of corporal punishment against children.

“The good thing is that it has been made illegal but not many Nigerians are aware.”

Mr Tietie applauded Professor Angwe and his NGO for taking up the responsibility of sensitizing the public on the dangers of corporal punishment on children.

Reporting by Tersoo Zamber; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade and Tony Okerafor