The collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has culminated in the establishment of a pivotal Child Protection and Research Centre dedicated to consolidating information on child welfare in Nigeria.
During the official unveiling of the centre in Abuja, the Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, emphasised the significance of the centre as a comprehensive repository for information related to children across the country. She stressed the essential role of data in efficiently addressing the objectives outlined in President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda.
“This centre, facilitated by UNICEF, stands as a commendable initiative supporting Nigeria’s commitment to child protection,” said the minister. The centre will systematically document cases of abuse, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and other violations against children. The accumulated data will serve as a foundation for research to find enduring solutions to these challenges.
Kennedy-Ohanenye underscored the centre’s role in facilitating intervention by providing a platform for whistleblowers to report incidents of child maltreatment. She highlighted the urgency of such initiatives, especially concerning cultural practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that affect voiceless infants.
UNICEF’s Deputy Country Representative, Rownak Khan, expressed the timeliness of the research centre as an intervention to identify entry points for supporting children. Khan emphasised the indispensable role of data and evidence in understanding the realities of a child’s life, asserting that the centre would be instrumental in designing nationwide programmes for the most marginalised and vulnerable children.
Khan highlighted the initiative’s longevity and impact, saying, “This is a true example where we will be leaving a lasting legacy, as the research will form the foundation for all future work in collaboration with the government.”
The Chief Child Protection Officer at UNICEF, Ibrahim Sesay, outlined the intended work of the research centre. He explained that the centre would compile and analyse reports showcasing areas and locations with high incidences of child violations and areas with data indicating improved treatment of children.