The Gombe State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare says it has handled 66 cases of child abuse in the past eight months.
Mr Jenis Maiyamba, Director of Child Development in the ministry, disclosed this on Tuesday in Jos at the sidelines of a Child Protection System Strengthening Meeting organised by UNICEF.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the cases involved rape, drug, abandonment and forced marriages, among others.
According to him, 20 of the cases bordered on sexual abuse and rape, five cases each of drug and physical abuse, four cases each of forced marriage and abandonment and one case of human trafficking.
Others are child labour (10), conflict with the law (15), unaccompanied child (one) and repatriations (two).
He attributed the successes recorded in the fight against child abuse in the state to the increase in the number of child protection actors at the ward, community and local government levels.
“This has also led to an increase in the reporting of child abuse issues in our communities.
“Access to services has equally improved with different stakeholders working together to end all forms of child abuse in the state,’’ he said.
The director added that 15 social welfare officers were also trained during the period on how to provide psycho-social services to internally-displaced persons.
Maiyamba, however, identified the non-domestication of the Child Rights Act in the state as one of the major setbacks in the ongoing fight against child abuse in the state.
He also listed shortage of qualified social workers, budgetary provisions and lack of capacity of child protection actors at the community and local government levels, as other challenges.
NAN reports that the meeting, organised and funded by UNICEF, the European Union and USAID, drew participants from the eight states of Kano, Lagos, Kaduna, Gombe, Edo, Cross River, Plateau, Benue and the Federal Capital Territory.
Other participants were officials of the Federal and State Ministries of Women Affairs, Civil Society Organisations, NGOs and other stakeholders in child protection.(NAN)

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