By; SAMSON YAKI, Lafia
The Sustainable Mechanisms for Improving Livelihoods and Household Empowerment (SMILE) has warned that about 600,000 children in Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Edo and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are at risk of the social support offered by it.
The Nasarawa State coordinator of the SMILE, Mrs. Vivian Efem- Bassey, disclosed this at the weekend in Lafia during the review of the zero draft document on ‘End Violence Against Children’ in the state.
She noted that SMILE, a United State Agency for International Development’s (USAID) funded project in Nasarawa State, had supported ten local government areas in the state.
She expressed concern of its sustenance by the state government at the expiration of the five-year tenure of the project, which according to her, would expire next September.
Also speaking, the consultant handling the ‘Nasarawa State End Violence Against Children Multi Sectoral Response Plan’, Mr. Nathaniel Awua-Pila lamented at the spate at which violence against children in some states had been regarded as normal.
He noted that the major challenges influencing violence against children was the inability of perpetrators of such acts to be held responsible.
He noted that low reporting rate and poor response were other challenges highlighted in the response plan, hence encouraging parents and guardians “to speak out to curtail the spread of violence in the society.”
Awua-Pila however tasked journalists to give much premium “to reporting cases of abuse of children to awaken the society of the looming dangers it poses to the society.”
The coordinator equally urged the state government “to also create a budgetary allocation for violence against children. The allocation for Orphanage and Vulnerable Children (OVC) does not cater for abused children.”