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UNICEF Takes Campaign on Child Protection, COVID-19 to Enugu Monarchs

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From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) has taken COVID-19 community sensitization campaign on Integrated child protection to front line traditional rulers in all the 17 council Areas of Enugu state, South- East Nigeria.

African Examiner reports that the campaign which was funded by (UNICEF) in conjunction with Enugu sate ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development and National population Commission NPC, was designed with a view to  sensitizing  the communities on the dangers of violence against children (VAC).

It is also aimed at ending violence against women and children, as well as the need to increase birth registration services, reduce the spread of COVID-19 and child protection.

Flagging off the campaign, at the palace of the Traditional ruler of Nike “Igwe Julius Nnaji” in Enugu East council Area of the state, UNICEF Chief of field office Enugu Mr. Ibrahim Conteh, explained that the international organization was moved due to the high prevalence of violence against children under the age of 18 years.

According to Conteh, who spoke through UNICEF Child protection specialist, Mr. Victor Nwachukwu, front line traditional rulers were chosen for the campaign because of their influential nature in the communities to ensure that the message penetrates into the target audience.

He said: “6 out of 10 children experienced some form of violence, 50% of all children experienced physical violence, 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 10 boys experiences sexual violence, while 1 out of 6 girls and 1 out of 5 boys experienced emotional violence” he noted . and appealed to the traditional rulers to assist in reducing the abuse.

On the issue of birth registration, UNICEF had advised women to ensure that their new born children are registered with the National Population Commission, explaining some of the benefits to the people.

They equally appealed to the Enugu monarchs to make stringent laws that would help to reduce the increasing rate of rape in the society which the organization noticed that it increased more during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In a remark, a medical Doctor and member of the Enugu state  COVID-19 team Dr. Uche Okenwa, from the state Ministry of health, emphasized the need for the people in the rural communities to adhere to all the rules of cleaning their hands and protecting their nose and mouth with face mask to avoid contacting the virus .

He stated  that COVID-19 is real and warned that people should stop doubting the existence of it in Enugu state,  saying “in Enugu state as at yesterday 14th June, 57 cases were confirmed out of which 26 were discharged, 26 are active while 5 deaths have been registered ” .

Dr. Okenwa disclosed that 18 cases were register just in two days after the market was reopened and advise people to always put their face mask in every social gathering.

Responding, Igwe Nnaji, applauded UNICEF and the other partners for initiating and funding the program, assuring them of doing his best in creating the needed  awareness as well as  making sure certain laws are made to reduce the trend.

The Enugu first class Traditional ruler,  however, urged the National Population Commission staffers to endeavour to make the people at the community level get acquainted with their operations, saying most people at the grass roots do not know much about its primary functions.


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