Violence or any form of abuse against children does not only leave serious phsychological consequences, it also digs holes in the pockets.

For Africa, that hole could be as deep as 1.42 trillion naira annually – the cost implication of children abuses resulting in deaths and disabilities, according to a new report by UNICEF released on Thursday.

The amount according to the report is equivalent to 1.6% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.

The report was unveiled on Thursday in Abuja by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr Olajide Olawale; the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Mohammed Fall; the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, among other top officials in both the public and private sectors of the economy.

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A breakdown of the 1.42 trillion naira showed that the cost of physical violence against children alone accounted for 1.01 trillion naira. The report stated that 52% of boys and 50% of girls in Nigeria were victims of physical violence prior to the age of 18.

Out of the 1.42 trillion naira, the report put the cost of sexual violence against children in Nigeria at 307 billion naira, adding that 11% of boys and 25% of girls in Nigeria were victims of sexual violence before the age of 18.

It said the balance of 91 billion naira was the cost of emotional violence suffered by children in Nigeria. It noted that 20% of boys and 17% of girls in Nigeria were victims of emotional violence prior to the age of 18.

Speaking during the unveiling of the report on the financial benchmark on child protection services and the economic burden of violence against children, Mohammed said that it was important for the country to pay more attention to the issue of child protection in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

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