BANE OF CHILD ABUSE IN NIGERIA

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BANE OF CHILD ABUSE IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the study

1.2 Statement of the problem

1.3 Aims and objectives of the study

1.4 Research methodology

1.5 Definition of terms

1.6 Overview of chapters

 

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

2.1 A brief history of child abuse

2.2 Nature and types of child abuse in Nigeria

2.3 Causes of child abuse in Nigeria

2.4 Effects of child abuse in Nigeria

2.5 Possible solutions or preventive measures to child abuse in Nigeria

 

CHAPTER THREE: child abuse and the law

3.1 Legal instruments of child abuse

3.2 United Nations Convention on the Rights of a child

3.3 Child Rights Act(2003)

3.4 Impacts of the law on the Nigerian Child

 

CHAPTER FOUR: judicial approach to child abuse

4.1 Preliminary issues arising from court proceedings

4.2 Common Law approach to child abuse

4.3 Statutory provisions on child abuse

4.4 Comparative analysis with the jurisdiction

4.5 Methods and problems of enforcement

 

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Summary

5.2 Conclusion

5.3 Recommendations

5.4 Bibliography

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1    Background of the Research

The general frameworks within which human rights are protected in Nigeria include the rights of a child which are in Chapter IV of the 1999 CFRN. The Rights to fair hearing and the right to life, the rights to personal liberty and the right to freedom of movement among others, Section 421 prohibits unjustifiable discrimination on basis of ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion2.

We have other legislations that seek to protect the rights of a child, like, Children and Young Persons Act, Criminal Code, Penal Code, Child Rights Act 2003.

In 1996, Nigeria submitted its first report on the implementation of the Child

Rights Convention to the United Nation Committee on the Rights of the Child. One of the major recommendations made by the Committee was to finally ensure the domestication of the Child Rights Convention, as this is necessary for its full implementation in Nigeria3.

 

The United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child came into force on 2nd September, 1990[1] and The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child came into force in 1999, while Nigeria domesticated the United Nation Convention on the Right of the Child and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of a Child in 2003. Subsequent upon the domestication of Child Rights Act 2003, the

following states passed their Child Rights Law:

Anambra State 2004[2] , Taraba State 2005[3] , Imo State 2004[4] , Kwara State 2005[5] ,

Nasarawa State 2005[6] , Plateau State 2005[7] , Abia State 2006[8] , Ekiti State 2006[9] , Oyo 2006[10] , Osun State 2007[11] , Ogun State 2006[12] , Ondo State 2007[13] , River State 2009[14] , Kogi State 2007[15] , Jigawa State 2007[16] , Lagos State 2007[17] , Edo State 2007[18] , Akwa Ibom State 2008[19] , Delta State 2008[20] , Benue State 2009[21] , Cross River 2009[22] and Ebonyi State 201026 and Nigeria being the focus of this research passed the Child Rights Law in 2010.

Although Nigeria has passed the Child Rights Law since 2010 but the prevalence level of child abuse within the state is alarming, which shows that either there are fundamental defect in the law or the lack of commitment from those having the responsibility of implementing the law.

The Child Rights Law principally seek to protect the child from all forms of abuses and create an enabling environment for the proper growth of a child. Nigeria Child Rights Law provided that “every government, person, institution, service, agency, organization and body responsible for the care and welfare of a child shall, at all times, ensure adequate opportunities for the child in the enjoyment of the rights provided for the child27.

Moreover, Nigeria Child Rights Law provides that every child is entitled to enjoy the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health[23] .

It is interesting to know that the law provides that every child has the right to free and compulsory universal basic education and it shall be the duty of the government to provide such education29.

Too many children are considered to be the property of adults[24] , and are subjected to various forms of abuse and exploitation. We cannot claim that we live in a world where children‟s best interests are the primary consideration in all decision affecting them. In fact, the contrary is evidenced by the way human kind allocates its resources, the limited attention given in ensuring that it is in the best interest of the children and the way it conduct its war[25] .

The survival and continuity of the human society depends upon the protection, preservation, nurture and development of the child. Providing the child with a good start in life and ensuring that their material and emotional needs are adequately met is very important.

The Child Right Act 2003[26] and Child Right Law 201032 define a child to mean: “A person under the age of eighteen (18) years”.

However Children and Young Persons Act section 2 provide that a “child means a person under the age of fourteen years.”[27] Also Children and Young Persons Law of Nigeria define a child in section 2 to mean “any person who has not yet attained the age of fourteen years”.[28]

Furthermore, Article 1 of Convention on the Right of the Child defines the holder of Rights under the child Convention as “every human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, Majority is attained earlier”[29] . The convention clearly specified the upper age limit for childhood as eighteen (18) years, but recognizes that majority may be obtained at an earlier age under laws applicable to the child. The Article thus accommodates the concept of an advancement of majority at earlier age either according to the federal or laws within that country.

Another definition of a child by Oxford dictionary is “A young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority”[30] . The Nigerian Children‟s Trust Fund Act defines “A child as the person who has not attained the age of sixteen years”.[31]

Furthermore, Ayua and Okagbue in their book define a child under the customary definition that it “varies from ethnic group to ethnic group due to the lack of a uniform system of customary law in Nigeria”.

In some ethnic groups a boy remains a child until initiated into an age grade society or until he is old enough to contribute financially to community development. In others, childhood terminates at puberty”[32] .

Black‟s Law Dictionary defines a child to mean “a person under the age of maturity”.39

In Okon vs. The State it was held that “under section 2 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act, a „child‟ means any person who has not attained the age of fourteen years and this definition is exhaustive”.[33]

Also in Solola and Anor vs. State[34] “A child is defined by section 2 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Law[35] as a person who has not attained the age of 14 years”.

Similarly, in the case of R. vs Carton, it was held that the meaning of the word child “must in every case depend on the content in which it appears”.[36]

These definitions clearly show the contradiction in the definition of a child under various laws in Nigeria. But for the purpose of this research, the Child is a person under the age of 18 years. The reason being that the Child Right Act 2003 and

Nigeria Child Right Law 2010 definition is the same which also tally with the United Nation Convention on the Right of the Child and African Charter on the Right and Welfare of the Child meaning it is an acceptable international definition.

1.2    Statement of the Research Problem

Nigeria has enacted various laws for the protection of the right of a child against child abuse. Nigeria in particular has also promulgated the child right law in the state for the protection of the right of a child against child abuse. Similarly, there are various institutions like the courts, Ministry of Women Affairs, Borstal and Orphanage homes for enforcement of the right of a child. Also successive government in Nigeria has at various times initiated and established programmes, schemes and initiative for the progressive realization of children rights.

Despite these arrays of laws, policies and institutions realization and enforcement of child rights in Nigeria and more particularly in Nigeria here been very low.

Consequently, the research examines the following questions.

  1. What are the challenges and possible solutions to the protection of child rights against child abuse?
  2. What is the impact of Legal instruments against child abuse in Nigeria?
  3. What is the efficacy of judicial approach to protection of child rights against child abuse in Nigeria?

1.3    Aim and Objectives of the Research

The aim of this research is to appraise the protection of the rights of a child in Nigeria, in order to achieve the following objectives.

  1. To determine the challenges and possible solutions to the protection of child rights against child abuse
  2. To assess the impact of Legal instruments against child abuse in Nigeria
  3. Examine the efficacy of judicial approach to protection of child rights against child abuse in Nigeria

1.4     Research Methodology

The research methodologies adopted here are doctrinal and empirical research methodology. Doctrinal method means “theorizing without considering the practical consequences. It is called a visualized research, imaginative research,   unpractical research, a visionary research or conceptual research”[37] . The researcher went through volumes of books, statutes, and cases in the area of the law this research covers.

Empirical Method “involves the collection of fact and data through interviews, questionnaires from target groups. The fact and data are later analyzed or experimented upon, from which result are obtained. It is also called field-oriented method of research”[38] . It include visit to Governmental and non- Governmental organizations based in Nigeria relevant on the general issue of child protection and implementation of Child Rights Law 2010, of Nigeria to interview individuals and administer questionnaire.

1.5 Definition of Terms

The following words and phrases are been defined or given explanations as used in this work. Thus, they are put to the scale of contextual meaning. However, the researcher strives as much as possible not to deviate totally from their conceptual meanings.

A Child:

A child is any person under the age of 18 years.

Child Abuse:

Child is said to be abused when the parents, care givers or any human action leads to physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual abuse of the child. It also involves failure of the parents to provide the necessary love and care for the child.

Physical Abuse:

Generally, child physical abuse refers to the non-accidental use of physical force against a child that can or results in harm to the child. A parent does not have to intend to physically harm his child to have physically abused on him (e.g., shoving, hitting, slapping, shaking, throwing, punching, kicking biting, burning, strangling and poisoning, physical punishment that results in bruising would generally be considered physical abuse). Depending on the age and the nature of the behaviour, physical force that is likely to cause physical harm to the child may also be considered abusive (e.g., a situation in which a baby is shaken but not injured would still be considered physically abusive).

Emotional Abuse:

Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that can seriously interfere with a child’s positive development, psyche and self-concept. It is any act on the part of a parents or caregiver that has the potential for or has actually caused serious emotional cognitive, mental or behavioral disorders. Actions that can constitute an emotional abuse may include constantly blaming the child, belittling and or berating the child, being unconcerned about the child’s welfare and overtly rejection of the child by parents or caretakers or caregivers.

Sexual Abuse:

A child sexual abuse is the use of a child for sexual gratification by an adult or significantly older child/adolescent. Thus; any act which exposes a child to, or involves a child in, sexual processes beyond his or her understanding or contrary to accepted community standards. Sexually abusive behaviours can include the fondling of genitals, masturbation, oral sex, vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger or any other object, fondling of breasts, voyeurism and exhibitionism, and exposing the child to or involving the child in pornography.

Spiritual Abuse:

Spiritual abuse is characterized by religious mind control or thought reforms; satanic or sadistic ritual abuse of a child through an organized, secret manipulations, often multi-generational group who engage in mutilation, ritual killing, cannibalism, drinking of blood, systematic torture to change or program a child’s mentality, etc.

Child Neglect:

Child neglect refers to the failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child (where they are in a position to do so) with the conditions that are culturally accepted as being essential for their physical and emotional development and wellbeing.

 

1.6 Overview of chapters

Chapter one is title the introduction to the study, this chapter will includes background to the study, the statement of the research problems and research objective which the study intends to address. Chapter two will focus on review of related literatures, this will be done to see the agreement and disagreement of previous scholars, writers, authors and researchers on the topic under investigation. Chapter three will examine the legal conceptualization and definition of child abuse. Chapter four analyzes judicial approach to child abuse. finaly chapter five will comprises of conclusion, suggest recommendations and bibliography

[1] United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child

[2] st

www.womenaffairs.gov.ng/…6th%20Nigeria%20cedaw%20report%20fi... 1 August, 2015

[3] st

http://disnaija.com/…/unicefworriesovermergingofchildrenwithcriminals... 1 August, 2015

[4] st

www.allafrica.com/stories/200408040683.html 1 August, 2015

[5] st

www.salvationchambers.com/102.pdf  1 August, 2015

[6] st

www.lindaikeji.blogspot.com/2011/02/acidgirl.html  1 August, 2015

[7] st

https://plateaunewsonline.wordpress.com/…/theplateaustateministryof 1 August, 2015

[8] st

www.unicef.org/nigeria/protection_2169.html 1 August, 2015

[9] st

www.ekitistate.gov.ng 1 August, 2015

[10] st

www.childdevelopmentconcern.com/popularization%20%of%20child’s%20...  1 August, 2015

[11] st

www.sunnewsonline.com 1 August, 2015

[12] st

www.unicef.org/nigeria/child_rights_legislation_in_Nigeria.pdf 1 August, 2015

[13] st

http://www.unicef.org/nigeria/protection_2169.html1 August, 2015

[14] st

www.thetidenewsonline.com/…/domesticatingchildrightslaw…theriv... 1 August, 2015

[15] st

www.punchng.com 1 August, 2015

[16] st

www.jigawastate.gov.ng/staticpage.php?id=154 1 August, 2015

[17] st

www.lagosstate.gov.ng/childrightslaw.pdf 1 August, 2015

[18] st

www.justiceanddemocracy.org/child_right.pdf 1 August, 2015

[19] st

www.aksonline.com.ws033.alentus.com/child_rights_law.aspx 1 August, 2015

[20] st

www.deltastate.gov.ng/index.php/template/…/896ministryofjustice 1 August, 2015

[21] st

www.dailytimes.com.ng 1 August, 2015

[22] www.thetidenewsonline.com/…/domesticatingchildrightslaw…theriv... 1st August, 2015 26www.dailyindependentnig.com/…/ebonyichildrenmarkedbroadcastingday/ 1st August, 2015 27 Section 4 (2) Nigeria Child Rights Law, 2010

[23] Section 4 (1) Ibid

[24] Section 7 (1) Ibid

[25] http://www.unicef.org/rightsite/237.htm12th February, 2013.

[26] S. 277, Child Rights Act 2003, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 Volume 5 Chapter C50 32 Section 2, Nigeria Child Rights Law, 2010.

[27] Children and Young Persons Act 1958

[28] Children and Young Persons Law of Nigeria

[29] The United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child

[30] www.oxforddictionaris.com/definition/english/child. 1st April, 2012

[31] S 1 (3) Nigerian Children‟s Trust Fund Act 1990 Laws of Federation 2004 Volume II.

[32] Ayua I.A, and Okagbue I, The Rights of the Child in Nigeria, Intec Printer Limited, Ibadan,(1996) P.30 39Garner B.A, Black‟s Law Dictionary Ninth Edition, P. 271.

[33] Okon vs. State (1988) 1 NWLR Pt 69 at 173

[34] (2005) 5 SCNJ 139

[35] Criminal Procedure Law (CAP 30) Laws of Ogun State 1978

[36] R. vs Carton (1945) 1 CH Div 372

[37] Aboki, Y. Introduction to legal research methodology. 2nd edition, Tamaza publishing company limited Zaria (2009)

[38] Ibid

 

BANE OF CHILD ABUSE IN NIGERIA

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