…UNICEF says Nigeria loses N1.4 trn annually to violence against children***
The Niger Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated a total revenue of N1.7 billion in the first half of year 2019, representing 56 per cent of its N3.05 billion target for the year.
Mr. Yusuf Abba-Kassim, the Area Comptroller highlighted this on Wednesday in Minna, noting that the amount was an improvement of N800 million over the amount generated during the same period in 2018.
“What we have is more than 100 per cent improvement, the difference is N855 million,” he said.
Abba-Kassim said that the revenue was generated from command’s activities within the three states of its coverage comprising Niger, Kwara and Kogi.
He said that about N277 million was collected as revenue in June, adding that measures had been put in place to ensure optimal revenue generation in the area.
Abba-Kassim said that 48 prohibited items with duty paid value of N78 million were seized in different part of the three states within the period.
He expressed confidence that the area command would meet its projected revenue target for the year.
Abba-Kassim assured that measures were in place to step up security at border posts to curtail illegal trades and prevent contraband from entering the country.
He warned smugglers and their accomplices to steer clear of the command, stressing that his personnel had been directed to be vigilant to prevent illegal entry of arms and ammunition as well as other contraband through land borders.
The NCS official solicited the support of stakeholders, traditional and religious leaders in mobilising residents to volunteer information that would aid officers in apprehending those involved in smuggling within the command.
In the meantime, the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says Nigeria loses over N1.4 trillion annually due to Violence Against Children (VAC).
A consultant with Bauchi Field Office of UNICEF, Mrs. Rita Pele said this at the inauguration of the reports on Financial Benchmark and Economic Burden of Violence Against Children in Nigeria in Jos on Wednesday.
The documents were for Gombe and Plateau States.
According to Pele, the figures represent 1.6 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
She explained that the figures were based on the survey conducted this year by the Federal Government in collaboration with UNICEF.
“On average, deaths and disability resulting from acts of violence against children cost Nigeria N1.42 trillion annually.
“This is equivalent to 1.6 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP. This includes physical, sexual and emotional violence against children in the country,” Pele said.
In his address, the Chief of UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, Mr Bhanu Pathak, called for increased funding by government at all levels to end violence against children in the country.
Represented by Mr Amos Kudzala, the Officer-in-Charge of the field office, Pathak said the launch of the two reports provides first-hand information on the high economic cost of violence against children in Nigeria.
“The launch of these reports today affords us the opportunity to know firsthand what we are putting into child protection as well as its high economic cost.
“The report points out clearly that there is huge financial loss from cumulative loss earnings due to loss of productivity as a result of sufferings associated with various degrees of violence,” he said.
According to Kudzala, the findings of the two studies point to the strong need for increased funding of interventions by government to prevent and respond to violence against children in Nigeria.
“So, it becomes critically imperative for all of us to join hands together and protect the children of Nigeria from neglect and abuse.
“This can only be possible if government re-commits to adequately fund services through huge budgetary allocations that will protect children from violence,” he said.
Unveiling the document, Mrs Hassana Ayika, Permanent Secretary, Plateau Ministry of Women and Affairs and Social Development, said the launch was timely.
She pledged the continuous support and commitment of the state government to protecting the rights of children in the state.
“Plateau has since keyed into the call to protect the rights of children in the country.
“We have enacted the Child Right Law and even established the Family Court to address any violation of the rights of children.
“So, Plateau is already leading on issues of child protection,” she said.
The launching of the two documents was aimed at creating awareness on the need to increase allocations and expenditures for child protection services and dissemination of information on the need to spend more on child protection among others.