FG, UNICEF commission Child Protection Research, Information Centre to ensure their rights


By Palma Ileye

Federal Government through the Ministry of Women Affairs and the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, has launched the Child Protection Research and Information Centre to ensure appropriate advocacy and for the collation of information on child welfare in Nigeria.

Speaking at the commissioning held at the Centre situated at the Federal Secretariat Complex in Abuja, the Minister of Women Affairs, Barr Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye stated that the Centre will help with evidence based advocacy to fight for children’s rights.

Kennedy-Ohanenye stated that the provision of accurate data was crucial to curbing the menace of child abuse and protection of their rights noting that the Centre was a repository for information on all cases pertaining children in the country.

She explained: “Note that if we don’t get data, there is no way we can operate efficiently. All the things that President Bola Tinubu, the President of this country, in in his Renewed Hope agenda, can be achieved without us have credible data. This is a major step towards the realisation of the agenda.

“The Center is a very laudable project which UNICEF has done to support Nigeria’s effort at protecting children.”

The Minister also explained that cases of abuse, SGBV and other violations against the child will be recorded in the center to assist in research that can lead to durable solution finding.

“This is a major boost and support in our effort to protect children. So many things that should not be are happening to the children, they cannot talk for themselves. Even some of the cultural norms like Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, against babies that can’t speak for themselves.

“Now whistle blowers can reach us and we put up this information to help with intervention and that is why I said that this data is the major step towards achieving the renewed hope agenda,” she added.

Also, UNICEF Deputy Country Representative, Rownak Khan, said the research centre was a timely intervention to understand points of entry in terms of support for children.

She said, “Without data, without evidence, we won’t know what is happening Tina child’s life. This center will actually be the bedrock to give us all evidence to allow us design programmes for children all over Nigeria mainly focusing on the most excluded children, the vulnerable.

“In UN, we talk about sustainable development and sometimes we provide support which are not very sustained and it does not leave any legacy but this is one true example where we will be leaving a lot of legacy as the research will be the background for all the work that will be done and it will stay with the Government.”

On his part, Chief Child Protection Officer, UNICEF, Ibrahim Sesay, while pointing to the work expected to be conducted in the research center stated that the center will harvest and annex reports showing areas and locations with high incidence of child violations and areas with data on better treatment of children.

He said, “We have gathered standard tools for gathering these data across the 36 states through the development and deployment of the child protection information management system throughout the federation. This will help in gathering data and data analysis.”

Adding that, “We will strengthen capacity in the Ministried, across the federation including development partners so that we are all on the same page to ensure we have credible, verifiable and reliable data concerning children in Nigeria.”