DEMOCRACY AND VIOLENCE AGAINST THE NIGERIAN CHILD: IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC MORALITY, LEGAL FRAMEWORK AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Author: Valentine Oyedipe, PhD Candidate
Department of Sociology, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria
Member of the Carnegie Council for International Affairs Global Ethics Network
The future of any nation lies a great deal in the manner the nation has been able to cater for its children. More significantly, in a democratic regime where government is by consent, accountability and majority rule, coupled with the minority rights being protected. There is no gainsaying the fact that a democratic regime is under obligation to protect effectively the rights of its citizenry. However, the Child Rights Act (CRA) was enacted in 2003 by the National Assembly to protect the rights of the Nigerian Child and other related matters. The Act affirms that the interest of a child should be a paramount concern in all actions and protection and care of the child should be basic rights to ensure his well-being. Contrastingly, the Nigerian child has been subjected to both physical, psychological/emotional violent conditions at varying degrees by the significant and the generalized others; conditions that are antithetical to the actualization of full humanness and civilization of the Nigerian child. These violent conditions include among others poverty, nutritional deficiencies, child battering, child marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), child trafficking, child abandonment, child rape and torture, child soldier etc. Consequently, this paper examines the nature/character and the dimension of violence against the Nigerian child in the nascent democracy and the level of the success made in the implementation of the Child Rights Act with a view to unravel the implications for public morality, legal framework and sustainable development in Nigeria.The paper recommends that the Nigerian child should be treated with dignity and be given opportunities to live and achieve his full humanness.
Key word: child rights, democracy, public morality, sustainable development