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In every society and community, there are certain social vices that are very much detested in the
course of social and economic endeavour. Child abuse and child labour in general are certainly
kinds of such social vices that hinder the developmental process and progress of some
developing countries like Nigeria. It may be difficult discussing the problem of child abuse in
Nigeria without eliciting the African perspective. This is because first as Africans (and later
developing nations), there exists a common heritage that seem to signify that similarities in
culture or traditions may indicate a commonality of perceptions towards issues regarded as child
abuse and eventually, similarities in strategies for addressing the problem. However institutions
and various governmental and non-governmental organisations have come up with different
measures with the aim of eradicating the social problem that has time without number killed the
dreams of many children in Africa. It is sad to know that today, irrespective of the efforts
different governmental organisations, individuals, multinationals, and non-governmental
organisations have put together in the bid to eradicate the problem of child abuse, the problem
still exists and still does more harm to the future of our leaders of tomorrow who are the children
of today. It is the responsibility of the media to create awareness on the issue, inform the public
about the problem, and also enlighten them on the different forms of child abuse that people
engage in knowingly or unknowingly. The act of creating awareness is done by the media
through the production of different types of programmes that may be prepared in various forms,
for instance it could be a television or radio programme which can be a drama, Soap opera,

documentary, magazine show, news- story, series, serials and so on. It might also be in form of
an editorial, article, feature story and the likes.
This research project would be producing a radio documentary and would be using it as a tool
for creating awareness on child abuse in the Nigerian society and also educating the audience on
the need to help save the future of todays child. This professional work is a radio documentary
production which caters to the general audience and serves the function of examining a social
problem and bringing to the notice of the public the different forms of child abuse that exist in
the Nigerian society and the way forward.
In general, "media" refers to various means of communication. For example, television, radio,
and the newspaper are different types of media. For the purpose of this research project, the type
of media that would be used is radio and this is because it has the features that would make the
presentation of materials of evidence for the subject matter (child abuse in Nigeria: a radio
documentary production) feasible. Radio is a widely used communication medium for
transmitting and receiving audible messages/information through sound waves. Now an
important question that would probably come to mind is; what is a radio programme? And of
what importance is a radio programme to this research study? A radio programme is the
broadcast programming of a radio format or content that is organized for commercial
broadcasting and public broadcasting radio stations. (Columbia Encyclopaedias: Sixth Edition,
Uyo (1987) states that radio programmes serve functions which include information,
entertainment and education. Radio programmes have unique compositions and patterns of

arrangement. To the second question which inquires to the importance of radio programme to
this research: radio, today, is a very influential medium of disseminating information largely due
to its affordability and mobility. Messages from radio can be transmitted across long distances
using specialised broadcasting equipments, and it is particularly a strong means of reaching rural
and remote areas. This research is on child abuse in Nigeria, and for it to become effective, it is
necessary to make use of a medium that would easily disseminate the information gathered to the


Lasswell (1948) proffers three basic functions of the media:
1. SURVEILLANCE: the media provide timely and vital information about the occurrences
around the world that are of public interest and importance.
2. CORRELATION: the media select, interpret, and criticize the information they pass to
3. CULTURAL TRANSMISSION: the media reflects our own belief, values and norms.
Other scholars like Charles Wright and Dennis McQuail gave additional functions:
4. ENTERTAINMENT: in our free time the media the media provides an escape from our
every day life.
5. MOBILISATION: the media promotes the societys interest for instance during the
period of crisis.
These fundamental functions identified by the scholars form the basis for most of the content in
the different types of media. The print media (newspapers, magazines, and other journals) offer

news stories, features, interviews, editorials, and cartoons among other types of materials to
enhance peoples lives just as the broadcast media (radio and television) produce programmes
aimed at achieving the afore listed aims.


The Oxford Advanced Learners English Dictionary (Sixth Edition) defines a documentary as a
film or a radio or television programme giving facts, records or reports about something by using
pictures or recordings.
Uyo (1987) writes that the word documentary is a derivative of document, from Latin word
documentum which means example, proof or lesson. The author illuminates on the potential of
documentaries to educate as he writes that the genre intensively and extensively dwells on
relevant subjects using real people, situations and events.

Nichols (1991) writes that documentaries are classified with their modes of presentation. He
provides six modes of presenting radio documentaries - poetic, observational, expository,
participatory, performative, and reflexive.
1. Poetic documentaries, which first appeared in the 1920s, were a sort of reaction against
both the content and the rapidly crystallizing grammar of the early fiction. The poetic
mode moved away from continuity editing and instead organized images of the material
world by means of associations and patterns, both in terms of time and space. Wellrounded characters'life-like people'were absent; instead, people appeared in films as

entities, just like any other, that are found in the material world. The films were
fragmentary, impressionistic, and lyrical. Their disruption of the coherence of time and
spacecoherence favoured by the fiction films of the daycan also be seen as an
element of the modernist counter-model of cinematic narrative. The real world
Nichols calls it the historical worldwas broken up into fragments and aesthetically
reconstituted using film form.
2. Expository documentaries speak directly to the listener, often in the form of an
authoritative commentary employing voiceover or titles, proposing a strong argument and
point of view. Images are often not paramount as they exist to advance the argument and
are reserved for use in television documentaries. Historical documentaries in this mode
deliver an unproblematic and objective account and interpretation of past events.
3. Observational documentaries attempt to simply and spontaneously observe lived life with
a minimum of intervention. Filmmakers who worked in this sub-genre often saw the
poetic mode as too abstract and the expository mode as too didactic. The first
observational documentaries date back to the 1960s; the technological developments
which made them possible include mobile lightweight cameras and portable sound
recording equipment for synchronized sound. Often, this mode of film eschewed voiceover commentary, post-synchronized dialogue and music, or re-enactments. The films
aimed for immediacy, intimacy, and revelation of individual human character in ordinary
life situations.
4. Participatory documentaries believe that it is impossible for the act of filmmaking to not
influence or alter the events being filmed. What these films do is emulate the approach of
the anthropologist: participant-observation. Not only is the filmmaker part of the film, we

also get a sense of how situations in the film are affected or altered by her presence.
Nichols: The filmmaker steps out from behind the cloak of voice-over commentary,
steps away from poetic meditation, steps down from a fly-on-the-wall perch, and become
a social actor (almost) like any other. (Almost like any other because the filmmaker
retains the camera, and with it, a certain degree of potential power and control over
events). The encounter between filmmaker and subject becomes a critical element of the
film. Rouch and Morin named the approach cinma vrit, translating Dziga Vertovs
kinopravda into French; the truth refers to the truth of the encounter rather than some
absolute truth.
5. Reflexive documentaries do not see themselves as a transparent window on the world;
instead they draw attention to their own constructiveness, and the fact that they are
representations. How does the world get represented by documentary films? This
question is central to this sub-genre of films. They prompt us to question the authenticity
of documentary in general. It is the most self-conscious of all the modes, and is highly
sceptical of realism.
6. Performative documentaries stress subjective experience and emotional response to the
world. They are strongly personal, unconventional, perhaps poetic and/or experimental,
and might include hypothetical enactments of events designed to make us experience
what it might be like for us to possess a certain specific perspective on the world that is
not our own, e.g. that of black, gay men in Marlon Riggss Tongues Untied (1989) or
Jenny Livingstons Paris Is Burning (1991). This sub-genre might also lend itself to
certain groups (e.g. women, ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, etc) to speak about
themselves. Often, a battery of techniques, many borrowed from fiction or avant-garde

films, is used. Performative documentaries often link up personal accounts or experiences

with larger political or historical realities.

The various types of documentaries that exist are classified based on their subject matters or in
their area of focus. Here types of documentaries include: news documentary, social documentary,
science documentary, historical documentary, and nature. Topics under these areas are explored
in different ways in the sole objective of informing and enlightening the people who make up the

Social documentary
This type of documentary focuses on contemporary social issues and explores them exhaustively
in order to influence change within the society. It is one of the most prominent sub genres and
always has a well defined point of view.

Historical documentary
This sub-genre enlightens the audience about important people, places and events of the past. It
reveals important aspects of past occurrences, and gives the audience a new insight into old
matters. Historical Documentary makers often have to be creative in the use of still pictures and
animations because getting live footages of past events always is a problem or some sort of
hindrance. An example of historical documentary is Rhawn Josephs Hitlers dairies a
documentary about Adolph Hitlers Third Reich and Word War II.

News Documentary
News documentaries focus their attention on issues in the news by bringing the audience closer
to events through detailed descriptions, important background information and other items. News
documentaries are often made up of commentaries, interviews and news analysis.

Science documentary
Science documentaries inform its audience about scientific discoveries, mysteries and
breakthroughs. Science documentaries focus on subjects like outer space explorations,
atmospheric conditions of planet earth, the cellular evolution of man and other scientific topics.


This research study aims at eliciting a social vice that has eaten deep into so many societies.
Child abuse is a social problem which destroys the present and harms the future, this is so
because it denies children the opportunity to be children and to grow up properly, it deprives
them of opportunity for education which is necessary to sustain their future.
The media is otherwise referred to as the fourth estate of the realm and this means that the media,
just like the government, has the sole responsibility of keeping an eye on the happenings in the
society and informing the public with authentic information that are of public interest and that
would help develop both the public and the nation. In addition to this, Joseph Klapper has a
famous conclusion which says that the mass media have some kind of effect on some kind of
people under some kinds of conditions with some kinds of consequences. He said this while
discussing the mass media as an instrument of national development. Lucian Pye has also noted

that the mass media are amplifying factors in the society which informs people about happenings
in and around them.
This radio documentary aims at performing some functions of the media with the basic objective
of creating more awareness about a social vice as old as human existence child abuse.

Documentaries give facts and records about various issues and events. Uyo (1987) explains that
documentaries intensively and extensively dwell on relevant subjects using real people,
situations and events.
The relationship between the subject of study which is child abuse in Nigeria and the genre
(documentary) being used is the fact that documentary as a medium of communication has the
ability to present factual evidences thereby bringing to reality the feelings and emotions attached
to the documentary in order to attain the desired objectives. A radio programme on a subject
matter like child abuse in Nigeria could come in different formats. For instance, dramas and the
likes but the need to be able to pass across necessary information without having the access to
influence how the information is being passed across makes the documentary the most useful
programme to use because it has the ability to document reality. In documentaries, experiences
and opinions of real people are being presented for instance in this production, people from
different walks of life are being asked relevant questions on the issue of child abuse in the
Nigerian society. In his article, the structure and function of communication and society: the
communication of ideas (Laswell 1948). Harold Laswell, a communication scholar views social
transmission as one of the basic functions of the mass media. Mc Quail (1990) also writes that
the media are culturally relevant because they constitute a primary source of images of social
reality and the most ubiquitous expression of shared reality.

In other words this production holds a social significance which is changing the behaviour and
attitude of the general public towards an even plight that has befallen the Nigerian society; this
will in turn foster individual and national development.


Documentaries were originated in the 1930s and were used to inform, entertain and educate
people. Documentaries have also been used to motivate people to take certain actions that have
brought about positive changes in the lives of so many. For deeper appreciation for the role
documentary plays in this regard, various works of scholars will be reviewed and examined.

Furthermore this section would be looking at the various forms of child abuse that exists in the
Nigerian society, what NGOs and the Nigerian government have done and are still doing to
eradicate if not curb the problem of child abuse in Nigeria. Reviewed inserts of reports on the
issue of child abuse and child labour would also be examined. The Nigerian constitution also has
some things to say on childs rights, the Childrens Act 2003 and other laws protecting children
in child abuse would also be examined.


Grierson (1979) asserts that documentary is the art of social engineering, its functions being to
express norms and values which then become integrated into the value system of the spectator.
He posits that documentaries have been used to call attention to injustice and in many cases to
campaign for change. Furthermore Grierson provides that documentary movement is motivated
by a force which is social and not aesthetic and that the mass media is the ideal tool for such
education because of the following reasons;

It gives general access to the public.

It can be used to play a mediating and socialising role in the modern society.

It is capable of direct description, simple analysis and commanding conclusion.

Facts can be recorded, preserved and utilised for generations to come.

Conclusively, from the afore listed facts it can be deduced that documentaries have been used as
an eye opener, awareness creator and source of relevant information for the general public
sensitizing them to issues needed to be raised onto the platform of social discourse.
For the effective dissemination of relevant information in this project, this mode of documentary
is more appropriate because expository documentaries speak directly to the listener, often in the
form of an authoritative commentary employing voiceovers, proposing a strong argument and
opinion. This type of documentary tries to persuade the listener. (They may use a rich and

sonorous male voice or a sweet irresistible and attractive female voice.) The (voice-of-God)
commentary often sounds objective and omniscient.


In every society children are required to do some work and such work may differ depending
on the society involved. This type of work is an important part of a childs basic education
and a means of handing over necessary skills from parent to children. This kind of work is
beneficial to the childs physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development provided it
does not interfere with schooling, recreation and rest.
Child labour in contrast is work by children under conditions harmful to their health usually
for long hours and for very low wages. Such work is destructive and exploitative. Children
are not physically suited to long hours of strenuous and monotonous work. They are not
usually aware of dangers; neither do they have enough knowledge of these precautions they
should be taking.
a. The domestic servant: It is the most prevalent type of Child labour in Nigeria. Such
children are subjected to a heavy load with little or no pay. They are deprived of
affection, schooling and leisure. In addition they are also vulnerable to physical and
sexual abuse.

b. Child Beggars: These children are employed by adults to beg. They can be found on the
major roads all over the country harassing motorists and pedestrians alike often without
regard to their personal safety.
c. Street Hawking: This is another obvious form of Child Labour. The child hawkers may be
children who live with their parents or domestic house helps.
d. Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: This is the most hazardous form of child
labour because of the added risk of infection with sexually transmitted diseases especially
HIV/AIDS. These children are usually coerced or enticed into working as prostitutes. In
some extreme cases, such children are sold outright by impoverished parents.
e. Industrial and Agricultural Child Labour: A large number of children are found in paid
employment particularly in seasonal activities such as farming and in small workshops.
Many of these children have suffered physical harm, which stem for the nature of the
work involved or from poor working
Physical Abuse: It has to do with the infliction of physical pain or injury on the child. The
most common form of this is subjecting a child to a severe beating or extreme punishment
for minor offences. Any chastisement of a child should take into consideration the childs
age and should never include anything that might do real physical harm to the child. It
should also be not a regular occurrence.
Physical Neglect: It is the denial of care, adequate nutrition and medical care. The most
glaring form of this neglect is the various incidents of abandoned babies. Also the problem

of street children is a direct result of this type of neglect. Many unloved and unwanted
children run away from home and take to the streets exposing themselves to further abuse.
It is taking advantage of a childs tender years and innocence in order to subject the child to
engage in sexual activities that he/she does not fully understand and to which they cannot
give any informed consent.
Sexual abuse can take many forms and may differ considerably between cultures. It is not
restricted to sexual intercourse and covers a wide range of behaviours. It may be purely
verbal rather than physical. Sexual abuse can have long-term consequences. Many abusers
have a history of being sexually abused themselves.
Some of the more frequently cited kinds of sexual abuse are:
a. Incest: It is sexual relations, which occur between two people in the same family such as
father and daughter or mother and son. However situations, which are almost as
disturbing, may involve those who are not blood relations such as stepfather and
stepdaughter. Incest may include sexual activity, which falls short of intercourse. Incest is
a particularly difficult subject for the child involved for reasons, which include shame,
embarrassment and often a sense of guilt that they have consented or encouraged it.
b. Rape: It is the forcing of sexual intercourse on an unwilling male or female. Rape is
particularly traumatic for a child with no prior experience of intercourse and it may be
accompanied by additional physical as well as psychological abuse. Sexual intercourse

with a minor however defined ought to be treated as raped even if the child consents
since the child is not considered to be mature enough to make an informed judgment.
c. Prostitution: This is the involvement of children in exchanging sex for money or other
favours and is often seen as sexual abuse. Most children were forced into this, some do it
out of desperation and others are too young to make a mature voluntary choice.
d. Paedophilia: This refers to sexual attraction towards the very young. A child may be
either obliged or persuaded to have sex with an older person to fulfil the latters sexual
desire and is a form of sexual abuse because of the immaturity of the child.
e. Sexual Harassment: It may take many forms including repeated teasing or
embarrassment often, but not always by boys or men towards girls.
This includes instances of verbal abuse for example subjecting a child to constant criticism
and humiliation. Never commending a child for his/her efforts. Normally this results from
having an unreasonable expectation from a child. Also many parents fail to express the love
their children need. Such attitudes shatter a childs fragile ego and convey the message that
the child is unloved and unwanted. It may also lead to feelings of depression, guilt and fear.
The emotional well being of a child will ensure that he/she grows into a balanced and welladjusted adult.


Nigerias estimated population of 120 million in 2002 (projected from the 1991 National
Population Census) makes it the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa and the tenth most
populated country worldwide. Nigerias population is largely rural, with 63.7 percent of the
population living in rural areas. Currently, about 45 percent of Nigerias total population is less
than age 15, with about 20 percent (24 million) under age five. The sheer numbers involved,
therefore, demand that child survival issues be placed in the forefront of the national agenda.
Despite its wealth of human and natural resources, Nigeria is ranked among the 13 poorest
countries in the world; two of every three Nigerians (66%) live below the extreme poverty line of
US$1 a day (World Bank, 2001). Nigerias low gross national product (GNP)per capita of
$310 in 1998is lower among people living in rural areas, limiting their access to adequate
nutrition, quality health care, and other basic social services, especially among vulnerable groups
(women and children) (World Bank, 1999; UNICEF, 1999). Less than one-half of the population
has access to safe water (40% in rural areas) and only 41 percent have access to adequate
sanitation (32% in rural areas). Overall, the adult literacy rate is 56 percent; however, the rate for
males (67%) is much higher than for females (47%). These facts adversely affect the survival of
children and the reproductive health (RH) status of women in general.
Child survival in Nigeria is threatened by nutritional deficiencies and illnesses, particularly
malaria, diarrhoea diseases, acute respiratory infections (ARI), and vaccine preventable diseases
(VPD), which account for the majority of morbidity and mortality in childhood. Other threats
include high maternal morbidity and mortality. There is the need for an enabling environment

through well-articulated policies, projects, and programmes to ensure wholesome development

of Nigerian children and enhance the quality of life.


Female Literacy. Womens education has been reported as a key factor in reducing infant and child
mortality. The higher a womans level of education, the more likely it is that she will marry later, play a
greater role in decision making, and exercise her reproductive rights.
Her children will tend to be better nourished and enjoy better health. Data from both the 1999 NDHS
and the 1999 MICS reveal that lower educational levels among females was related to higher infant and
under-five mortality. Both surveys highlighted female illiteracy and under-five mortality being twice as
high in the northern zones than in the south.
Similarly, rural areas had lower levels of female literacy and consequently higher under-five mortality
than urban areas. The relationship between female literacy and child survival is also clearly
demonstrated when looking at immunization coverage rates and treatment of diarrhoea illnesses. Timely
and appropriate use of ORT in the treatment of diarrhoea illnesses (the second main cause of under-five
mortality after malaria) reduces mortality outcomes. The 1999 NDHS reports that the proportion of
caregivers that use ORT progressively rises with levels of education. The same survey data also show
that the proportion of children not immunized at all decreases from 60 percent among illiterate mothers
to 24 percent among mothers with primary education, before dropping to 10 percent among mothers
with secondary education.

Access to Safe Water and Adequate Sanitation. Many of the diseases that lead to increased morbidity
and mortality of children under five are largely related to the unavailability of safe water, unhygienic
behaviours, poor sanitary facilities, and poor housing conditions. ARI, a major killer of children under
five, along with VPD such as measles, diphtheria, and tuberculosis, are easily spread in poor
overcrowded houses. Also, increased prevalence of diarrhoea diseases, cholera, and typhoid is seen in
situations of unsanitary refuse, excreta disposal, and use of unsafe drinking water. In addition,
inadequate drainage and accumulated wastewater encourage breeding of mosquitoes with increased
malaria attacks (the single most significant cause of death among children). The 1999 MICS reports that
54 percent of the population had access to safe drinking water (71% and 48% in urban and rural areas,
respectively). The southeast is the worst hit region; only 39 percent of the populations get their drinking
water from safe sources. Just over one-half (53%) of the population live in households with a sanitary
means of excreta disposal (1999 MICS), a situation which varies from 40 percent in the northeast to 58
percent in the southwest, and from 44 percent in rural areas to 75 percent in urban areas. A comparison
of data from the 1990 and 1999 NDHS shows improvement in access to safe water; the proportion of the
population collecting water from surface sources declined from 52 to 38 percent, while the proportion of
obtaining water from ground sources such as boreholes and wells rose from 35 to 44 percent between
the two surveys.
Poor access to safe drinking water encourages the spread of certain vector-borne illnesses:
onchocerciasis (river blindness) and dracunliasis (guinea worm), which are transmitted by vectors
associated with water, causing more debilitating illnesses than those listed above. In the 1990s,
remarkable progress was made in reducing guinea worm cases from 394,082 in 1990 to 13,237 in 1999,
representing a 97 percent reduction from efforts of the Nigeria Guinea Worm Eradication Programme
(NIGEP). In 1999, only about eight states were reporting significant numbers of cases. Poor coverage

for water supply and sanitation is linked with insufficient funding of operations and maintenance, lack of
capital to complete and initiate water projects, and inadequacy of skilled labor and management
capacity. Other problems are inefficient billing and collection of water revenue needed for operation and
maintenance, and inadequate monitoring and evaluation of performance.
Compounding the lack of safe water is the lack of awareness of the health consequences of unhygienic
behaviours, such as defecating and urinating in bushes outside houses, poor refuse disposal, and
infrequent hand washing. Another problem is the use of the same water source for bathing, washing, and
feeding of cattle.
Poverty. There is a synergistic interrelationship between poverty, ignorance, poor health, malnutrition,
and reduced child survival, which is worsened by social exclusion and political marginalization. A child
born to a financially deprived and less educated family is at risk of dying perennially or within the first
month of life, since the mother was probably poorly nourished during pregnancy, had little or no ANC,
and is unlikely to have delivered at a health facility. On surviving the first month of life, the child is then
exposed to increased risks of illnesses, such as malaria and diarrhoea, due to poor living conditions,
limited access to safe water and inadequate sanitation, malnutrition from household food insecurity, or
ignorance about good child feeding practices. Large family size (from ignorance of and lack of access to
family planning) puts pressure on the mother to work in order to provide for the family, thus leaving the
child quite possibly inadequately cared for. All these factors are further aggravated by limited access to
health services due to poor income and low levels of maternal education, often leading to the nonimmunization of the child. A World Bank analysis (Table 3), based on 1990 NDHS data and subdividing
the surveyed households into quintiles, found a significant relationship between poverty and increased
infant and child mortality, low immunization coverage rates, reduced access to health services, and


In 2001, recognizing the need to assist impoverished nations more aggressively, UN member
states adopted the targets. The MDGs aim to spur development by improving social and
economic conditions in the world's poorest countries.
They derive from earlier international development targets, and were officially established at the
Millennium Summit in 2000, where all world leaders present adopted the United Nations
Millennium Declaration, from which the eight goals were promoted.
The percentage of the world's population living in extreme poverty has halved since 1981. The
graph shows estimates and projections from the World Bank 19812009. Most of this
improvement has occurred in East and South Asia.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were developed out of the eight chapters of the
United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed in September 2000. There are eight goals with
21 targets, and a series of measurable indicators for each target.
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Target 1A: Halve the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day

o Proportion of population below $1 per day (PPP values)

o Poverty gap ratio [incidence x depth of poverty]
o Share of poorest quintile in national consumption

Target 1B: Achieve Employment for Women, Men, and Young People

o GDP Growth per Employed Person

o Employment Rate
o Proportion of employed population below $1 per day (PPP values)
o Proportion of family-based workers in employed population

Target 1C: Halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

o Prevalence of underweight children under five years of age

o Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Target 2A: By 2015, all children can complete a full course of primary schooling,
girls and boys
o Enrollment in primary education
o Completion of primary education
o Literacy of 15-24 year olds, female and male

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Target 3A: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education

preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
o Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
o Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
o Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

Target 4A: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality
o Under-five mortality rate
o Infant (under 1) mortality rate
o Proportion of 1-year-old children immunised against measles

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Target 5A: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal
mortality ratio
o Maternal mortality ratio

o Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel

Target 5B: Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health

o Contraceptive prevalence rate

o Adolescent birth rate
o Antenatal care coverage (at least one visit and at least four visits)
o Unmet need for family planning
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

Target 6A: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS

o HIV prevalence among population aged 1524 years

o Condom use at last high-risk sex
o Proportion of population aged 1524 years with comprehensive correct
knowledge of HIV/AIDS
o Ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged
1014 years

Target 6B: Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all
those who need it

o Proportion of population with advanced HIV infection with access to

antiretroviral drugs

Target 6C: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and
other major diseases
o Prevalence and death rates associated with malaria
o Proportion of children under 5 sleeping under insecticide-treated bednets
o Proportion of children under 5 with fever who are treated with appropriate antimalarial drugs
o Prevalence and death rates associated with tuberculosis
o Proportion of tuberculosis cases detected and cured under DOTS (Directly
Observed Treatment Short Course)

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Target 7A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies
and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources

Target 7B: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in

the rate of loss
o Proportion of land area covered by forest

o CO2 emissions, total, per capita and per $1 GDP (PPP)

o Consumption of ozone-depleting substances
o Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits
o Proportion of total water resources used
o Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected
o Proportion of species threatened with extinction

Target 7C: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to
safe drinking water and basic sanitation (for more information see the entry on
water supply)
o Proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source,
urban and rural
o Proportion of urban population with access to improved sanitation

Target 7D: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at

least 100 million slum-dwellers
o Proportion of urban population living in slums

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Target 8A: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory

trading and financial system
o Includes a commitment to good governance, development, and poverty reduction
both nationally and internationally

Target 8B: Address the Special Needs of the Least Developed Countries (LDC)

o Includes: tariff and quota free access for LDC exports; enhanced programme of
debt relief for HIPC and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous
ODA (Overseas Development Assistance) for countries committed to poverty

Target 8C: Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small
island developing States
o Through the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small
Island Developing States and the outcome of the twenty-second special session of
the General Assembly

Target 8D: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries
through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in
the long term.


The UN Millennium Declaration stressed protection of the vulnerable, and for good reason: Tens
of millions of children across the globe are victims of exploitation, abuse and violence each
year. They are abducted from their homes and schools and recruited into armed conflicts,
exploited sexually, or trafficked and forced to work in abominable conditions. Girls in particular
are vulnerable, particularly when not in school. They also suffer from abuses that may have their
societys mandate, but severely curtail their rights: they are victims of violence in the home, they
arent allowed to attend school, or are forced into early marriage, or to undergo genital
UNICEF raises awareness about the importance of child protection, enhancing capacities at
various levels of society and in the government. Programmes and policies that work include birth
registration, media awareness, challenging traditional attitudes that lead to abuse, and advocating
tougher laws for offenders against children. UNICEF also works through communities to
strengthen safety nets. Schools, for example, are being made places where children go for health
services, food and security in addition to learning.
In natural emergencies or conflicts, UNICEF takes special care to provide protective
environments in the field for women and girls, who are at greater risk for sexual violence and
The Child's Rights Act, which was passed into law in 2003 and adopted by 23 states including
the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is yet to create the impact for which it was intended.
Child abuse and child labor, street -begging, early marriage of the girl-child and widespread rape
of children, are still the order of the day in various parts of the country, despite the Act.

There are states that have adopted the act but find it very difficult to effectively enforce the laws
and this is because there are no Institutions built to consolidate the enforceability of the law.
Why the Act is yet to create the desired impact to protect children in Nigeria and what should be
done to strengthen it to achieve the objective.

WHY the Child's Right Act not been adopted by all the states of the federation?
The Child's Rights Act 2003 was adopted with the intention of domesticating the convention on
the rights of the child. The legislation made a very wide provision for certain rights of children.
They border on children justice and family. It falls under Concurrent List. The National
Assembly cannot make laws that are binding on states on those issues. Therefore, the Child's
Rights Act enacted by the National Assembly is only application in the Federal Capital Territory
and with respect to capital offences.
It is the responsibility of the State Houses of Assembly in compliance with Section 12 of the
constitution to adopt and make their own state laws. It is unfortunate that the process has been
very slow and in some cases, very controversial.
Cross River State became the 23rd state to adopt the Child's Rights Law; this means that there is
a steady progress in the adoption and enactment of the childs right act in Nigeria.
Other states in the core North, particularly Kano State, are resisting the law. Jigawa has adopted
it despite the fact it has a Sharia civil law in place. There is a pass mark in the area of adoption of
the Child's Rights Act. So now, what is left is to ensure that the Child's Rights laws are passed by
the states and implemented?
Very few states, particularly Lagos State and the FCT, are making efforts to set up what is truly a
Family Court and children rehabilitation centres as required by the law.

There are certain issues that arise when the act is mentioned and the first is the issue of the age of
a child. The Act provides that a child is somebody under the age of 18.
In some states, that is a problem because it affects the minimum age of marriage. If you say no
child shall be given out in marriage, it means that a child below the age of 18 should not be given
out in marriage. Some states are agitating that it should be reduced to 16.
The age of maturity in Constitutional Law is 18. That is the age you can aspire for political
office. But in respect to Criminal Law, it is different.
It is still very controversial in Nigeria because the family law from one state to another changes.
In some states there is no fixed minimum age of marriage.


It has to do with the culture of some tribes and the conflict of laws in Nigeria. We have three
sources of laws in Nigeria that are in practice today. The Customary Laws, the Sharia Law and
the Common Law. It depends on which law you are contracting a marriage. If you are
contracting a marriage under the common law, the minimum age of marriage, which is 16, under
common law, has applied. If you are contracting a marriage under customary law, the rules of
that custom of the people apply, so the same with Sharia. That is why in some places, children of
12 or 13 are married. But if you do that under the Marriage Act, it is invalid because it doesn't
meet the requirement of common law. That's what the Child's Rights Act wants to put to rest. The
Act wants to set the minimum age of marriage so that it would be universal, because a 12-yearold in Lagos State has the same biological features as a 12-year-old in Kano.

Now, the controversy concerning this minimum age of marriage, for obvious reasons, is
defeating that purpose.
The United Nations Convention on the rights of the child stipulates that a child is anyone below
the age of 18.
So, it is not just political but this also creates a huge stumbling block in protecting the rights of
children in this country. If you give out a child of 12 in marriage under the purist tradition, it is
not for you to consummate the marriage, but to bring up that child to an age when she is
biologically prepared for child-bearing. But those days when you do that, the man simply puts
the child in the family way and she is not biologically prepared for child-bearing and those
results in the rupture of her uterus that gives rise to Vesico-Vagina Fistula (VVF) and other
complications. So there is the need in standardizing the age of marriage.
State officials whose states that are yet to adopt the childs right act argue that the reason is that
there was no consultation between the National Assembly and these states' authorities, before the
decision was made.
Secondly, the Federal Government, the National Assembly cannot make laws for the states. The
argument is that making a uniform rule to apply nationally is contrary to the principles of
federalism. So, they are using federalism as a defence. That is the main reason. But nobody talks
about other political undertones. For instance, the pressure not to adopt some of those provisions.
The minimum age of marriage is one; the second is the issue of being the child. Child's Rights
Act has given children some level of rights and they are feeling that it would make parents lose
control of their wards. So, they say the law is too liberal. But children have some rights.

Culture is a way of life of a people and therefore obliges changes. The culture of a society in the
19th Century cannot be the culture in the 20th Century. It's a way of life. It is dynamic when
societal value was agrarian people had to go to farm, now the economic dynamics have changed.
The culture in respect of family holding has changed. It is no longer fashionable to be
polygamous. The Act recognises the core value of African society. The African society respects
and protects the child, women. The Almajiri system in the north for example, is a system where
children are put in the hands of mentors, Islamic teachers, who are supposed to teach them and
bring them up in core Islamic education, which is a very rich education. These teachers, who are
supposed to be their mentors, now send the children to the street to solicit for alms. It has
become a permanent means of income. Look at the issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), it
was set out to achieve certain purpose.
So, as we are in the 20th Century, there are certain practices that are no longer in vogue. When
you talk about culture, you have to be careful. There has been a lot of abuse of cultural principles
that can no longer stand the test of time. There was a time twins were being killed. We have
advanced so much in science that we can no longer justify this. Our culture must be questioned
with our current knowledge of science and technology. The Child's Rights Act does not
undermine the culture of our people. A child in Nigeria is just like a child in China, New York or
1. The Nigerian Labour Act, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990 CAP 198.
The Act protects the child from being employed under exploitative circumstances or
circumstances that may be injurious to his health. Under this Act a child can only do
work of a light nature. It also forbids the employment of a young person under the age of

sixteen years to work underground, on machine work or in any employment, which is

dangerous or immoral.
2. The Criminal Code Act of Nigeria 1990, CAP 77.
Certain provisions of the Criminal Code deal specifically with the Child. These include;
a. Duty to provide necessaries
The Criminal Code imposes a duty on the person who has charge of a child to provide
necessaries for such a child. The person will be held responsible for any eventuality to
the life or health of the child, which is caused, by the failure or omission to perform
the duty.
b. Abandoning or Exposing Children
It is a crime for any person to unlawfully abandon or exposes a child under the age of
seven in a manner likely to cause it grievous harm.
c. Child stealing:
It is an offence for any person to steal a child under that does not biologically belong to
him or her.
d. Indecent treatment:
This involves making any sexual bodily contact with another person or treating
somebody as a sex object. It can also be verbal in nature like offensive remarks or
jokes of a sexual nature. The Criminal Code forbids the treatment of a child in such a

e. Defilement:
It is engaging in sexual activity with a child through natural or unnatural means and is
an offence punishable with life imprisonment under the code because of its damaging
effect on the childs emotional and physical development.
f. Abduction:
Abduction of a girl under eighteen with intent to have carnal knowledge, under this
Code, it is a crime to kidnap a girl under the age of eighteen with the sole purpose of
having sexual intercourse with her.
3. Children and Young persons Law:
This legislation specifically protects children from physical and mental injury.
4. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999
The constitution protects and respects the fundamental rights of all citizens, adult and
children alike. Chapter four of the constitution provides an array of such rights.
a. Right to Life Section 33
The Nigerian Childs right to life, survival and development are guaranteed under the
Nigerian constitution.
b. Right to dignity of human persons
Section 34 of the 1999 constitution ensures the childs right to the dignity of his/her
person and accordingly the child shall not be subjected to any form of torture or
inhuman or degrading treatment. Also the child shall not be required to perform
forced or compulsory labour.

c. Right to personal liberty Section 35

A child has a right to personal liberty. Any infringement of this provision is liable to
prosecution both under the constitution and the Criminal Laws.
d. Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion Section 38
Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution guarantees the childs right to freedom of
thought, conscience and religion. Therefore a child is entitled to change his/her
religion or belief and he/she is free to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in
worship, teaching, practice or observance.
Parents and guardians have a duty to direct their children in the exercise of this right.
e. Right to freedom of expression Section 39
Children also have a right to freely express their views and opinions without fear.
However such a right should be exercised under the proper guidance of adults.
f. Right to peaceful assembly and association Section 37
Under this right a child is entitled to assemble freely and to associate with other
persons for the protection of his/her interest. The only exception is that a child cannot
be a member of a political party.
g. Right to freedom of movement Section 41
The constitution also ensures this right except where the child is in conflict with the
law. However under the administration of juvenile justice the child is not liable to
capital punishment or life imprisonment for offence committed by him. Where the

child is under the age of twelve years, he/she is not criminally responsible for any act
or omission.
h. Right to private and family life:
Section 37 of the 1999 constitution guarantees and protects the privacy of the child,







i. Right to freedom from discrimination
The constitution in Sec. 42 (2) stipulates that no child shall be discriminated against
due to the circumstances of his birth.

Cinematography Act of 1990 protects the child from exposure to indecent and obscene
materials, publication and films.


Tobacco and Alcohol advertisement decrees/Act forbid the use of children in the
advertisement of cigarette and alcoholic beverages.

The United Nations Convention on Rights of Children (1989)

The summary of the rights of the child under the Convention is as follows:

Every child has the right to life and to be allowed to survive and develop.


Every child is entitled to a name, family and nationality.


Every child is free to belong to any association or assembly according to the law.


Ever child has the right to express opinions and to freely communicate them on any
issues subject to restriction under the law.


Every child is entitled to protection from any act that interferes with his or her privacy,
honour and reputation.


Every child is entitled to adequate rest and recreation according to his or her age and


Every child is entitled to receive compulsory basic education and equal opportunity for
higher education depending on individual ability.


Every child is entitled to good health, protection from illness and proper medical
attention for survival, personal growth and development.


Every child must be protected from indecent and inhuman treatment through sexual
exploitation drug abuse, child labour, torture, maltreatment and neglect.


No child should suffer any discrimination irrespective of origin, birth, colour, sex,
language, religion, political and social beliefs, status or disability.


Recently, there were protests in Nigeria, and campaigns are still on, over the Nigerian Senates
passage of a resolution to retain the provision of Section 29 (4) (b) of the 1999 Constitution,
which recognizes a married underage girl as an adult (PUNCH, 2013). However, there are

antecedents to the passage of the law as contained in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria.
A famous ruling by the high court of Kaduna upheld the right of a father to compel his virgin
daughter into marriage without her consent even though she had not obtained puberty.
Supposedly in line with the Maliki School of Islamic law, this had been invoked by the lower
One such virgin is Hauwa Abubakar whose gruesome murder made headlines in 1987. At the
age of nine her father married her off to one Mallam Shehu Garba Kiruwa, a 40 year old cattle
dealer to whom he owed money. For two years she refused to go and live with her putative
husband, but she was taken to his house when she began to menstruate at the age of twelve, still
not content to accept her lot, she ran away twice and was forcibly returned to Mallam shehu but
on the third one Mallam Shehu pinned her down and chopped her legs off with a poisoned
cutlass resulting in her death. The ensuing public outcry forced the then military administrator
of Bauchi state to issue a decree empowering the government to prosecute any parent who
withdrew their daughter from school in order to marry her off. (Children & Women Rights in
Nigeria; A wake up call, UNICEF 2001).
The year of 2008 will be remembered in the Nigerias biblical calendar as the year when the
priests of Pentecostalism sacrificed thousands of children to a carnivorous god. Innocent
children of Akwa Ibom state in Nigeria were falsely accused of being witches and wizards and as
a result were sacrificed to a carnivorous god by some priests in the state. It is so sad that this is

what it is to be a child in some parts of Nigeria in the 21 st century Nigeria. Right in the face of
their parents, they were taken away and their innocent lives were wasted all in the name of some
ridiculous norms of a particular part of the country. Relief came the way of children in Akwa
Ibom state who have been abuse when the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly passed the Child
Rights Law, which makes it an offence to abuse children in any form. Meanwhile, the self styled
Bishop Ulup-Ayah, who claimed to have killed 110 child-witches& wizards, was arraigned in
court for offences, which include murder amongst others. (British channel 4, Friday January 02,
2009, 7 oclock news).
Every radio documentary occurs in the three stages which are the pre-production stage,
production-stage and the post-production stage. This radio documentary on child abuse in
Nigeria will also pass through the above listed stages.

The pre-production stage

The pre-production stage is the first stage which started from the point where the researcher
decided to carry out a research on child abuse in Nigeria and produce a radio documentary.
Several planning procedures were involved with regard to library research and gathering of
information to be sure that it is a researchable topic. The planning for the production stage was
also done at the pre-production.

The production stage

The production stage started will involve interviewing experts and stakeholders on the subject
such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that deal with cases of child abuse, medical

experts, and care-givers/guardians for abused children. It will also involve going into the
recording studio to do voice over for the documentary. Finally I had to visit the recording studio
to voice over the script that I used for the documentary.

The post-production stage

The post production stage being the last stage of production will take care of fine-tuning the
recordings and interviews to ensure a smooth and coherent flow.


Challenges are anticipated in the course of this study and production. Due to the sensitivity of the
subject of research, it is expected that some stakeholders may not be willing to give out
confidential information on the subject with a view to protecting abused children. Other
challenges to be expected has to do with accessibility to get interviews with experts who may be
busy with their daily professional work.

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Anthony, H. (2001). Children and women's rights in Nigeria: A wake up call. Abuja: National
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Clifford, T. (2008). Witchcraft and child abuse - swell times for Akwa Ibom children.

Grierson, J. (1979). A documentary biography. London: Faber and Faber.

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Nicholas, B. (1991). Representing reality. Indiana: Indiana University press.

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Oloko, S. (1992). Situational diagnosis of street working children in Calabar and Kaduna.
Lagos: UNICEF.

(1999). The Nigerian Constitution.

United Nations. (1989). Convention on the rights of the child.

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