Child Protection Network (CPN), Oyo State chapter has said that early marriage and child marriage along with teenager pregnancy is now endemic in Ibadan, the State capital.
CPN while insisting that the trend of early marriage and teenage pregnancy are denying women to realize their potentials called on all stakeholders to find solutions to the problem.
CPN made these declarations while on an advocacy visit to seek support of the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, in order to tackle the menace of violence against children in the state.
CPN Coordinator, Dr. Ebunlomo Walker while speaking on behalf of the group on Tuesday, noted that the visit to the monarch was part of the 19 days of activism on prevention of violence against children and youth.
Walker added that early marriage along with teenage pregnancy has become endemic in Ibadan, thus it required urgent attention from stakeholders including the Olubadan of Ibadan land.
Walker who noted that child abuse and violence against Children and Youth is a world-wide problem, maintained that is only worse in Nigeria because of poverty, ignorance, norms, social values and traditional practices that are harmful to the well-being of children.
She said, “Early marriage/child marriage along with teenage pregnancy has become an epidemic. Ibadanland will need to find a solution to avoid young girls becoming mothers and multiplying children that they are unable to cater for. The trends deny them full education which threatens their full potential as women
“Child Abuse/Violence against Children and Youth is a world-wide problem. It is only worse in our society because of poverty, ignorance, norms, social values and many times traditional practices that are harmful to the well-being of children.
“We appreciate God for his protection and for granting peace in Ibadanland. We appreciation our Royal Father, The Imperial Majesty, Kabiyesi Oba Saliu Olasupo Adetunji, the Olubadan of Ibadan and his Chiefs In Council for the opportunity given us to come here for this advocacy visit.
“We are here Kabiyesi to bring awareness and call attention to the all-important issues of child protection in Ibadan land. We are marking the 2020 edition of a global campaign: 19 Days of Activism on Prevention of Violence against Children and Youth.
“We are members of Child Protection Network Oyo State, the Oyo State chapter of the Child Protection Network, Nigeria. It is a group of over 60 NGOs/FBOs/CBOs, agencies, associations and security outfits (Police and NCDCS). The Network was initiated by UNICEF, with mandate to work closely with Ministry of Women Affairs.
“That is why a period of the year, 1-19th November has been earmarked for an annual global campaign during which organizations working on protection of children put up activities to draw the attention of government, leaders of society, especially the traditional leaders of which Kabiyesi is preeminent, to the scourge to obtain the support of the multiple stakeholders to address the issues. This is to ensure that our children are free from abuse and given their rights to survive and thrive to develop to adults contributing to society.
“Today, 10th November is the day for activism on Prevention of Child Trafficking. Prevention of Child Labour has been marked on November 5th. November 12th is dedicated to Traditional Harmful practices – Female Genital Mutilation, Early, Child and Forced Marriage, Ritual killings, child sexual assault for ritual purposes in which we are seeing old and not so old men defiling young girls including babies for ritual purpose. November 15th is for Prevention of Addiction and Substance Abuse among children and drug abuse among our children and youth.
“In the area of violence to children through harmful traditional practice – the major one in Oyo State is Female Genital Mutilation, the prevalence of which Oyo State ranks among the top 5 in the country.
“The centre of child trafficking has moved from Edo State to Oyo State, with Ibadan as the hub. Of the over 500 trafficked persons brought back by Oyo State government from Lebanon, over 75% were Oyo State indigenes”