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The worrisome state of pedophilia in Nigeria

Just this week Monday, the news of a 10-year-old girl, Masenengen Targba, who was delivered of a baby girl at a Makurdi hospital in Benue State went viral but the unidentified rapist of the minor is still on the run.

The victim, said to be an orphan, relocated along with her uncle to the North Bank area of Makurdi where the perpetrator allegedly raped her and put her in the family way.

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The 10-year-old was delivered of the baby girl through caesarian section at the hospital in Makurdi. The medical director, Dr Mike IjIko, urged the government to pursue cases of young girls in similar conditions to logical conclusion.

Many underage girls continue to suffer in the hands of pedophiles who take advantage of so many conditions to abuse them sexually thereby demoralizing them; some of them for life.

Some of the conditions that increase the risk of girl-children to sexual abuse can be found in schools, baby factories, child labour, poor parenting, and poverty. This is in addition to a growing number of girls in the rural areas who drop out of school to avoid being raped on their way to or from school via lonely footpaths.

A survey revealed that pedophilia is on the increase in Nigeria and globally. A pedophile is an adult who prefers children as sex partners.

It is gradually becoming a norm to see in the media reports of cases of child rape and molestation. A growing trend shows that the girl-child is mostly affected as men old enough to be their fathers raped them, inflicting physical and emotional scars on their victims.

Many victims of child rape are molested by trusted family members or friends. Most victims are lured by male acquaintances that ostensibly send them on errands only to pounce on the unsuspecting girls and sexually molest them.

Child sexual abuse in Nigeria is an offence under several sections of Chapter 21 of the country’s criminal code.

UNICEF reported in 2015 that one in four girls and one in 10 boys in Nigeria had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 and according to a survey by Positive Action for Treatment Access, over 31.4 percent of girls said that their first sexual encounter had been rape or forced sex of some kind.

According to UNICEF, six out of 10 children in Nigeria experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse before the age of 18, with half experiencing physical violence.

The founder, Make a Change Initiative, Lemmy Ughegbe, recalled at a media briefing for #Justicefor Ochanya, that 13-year-old Ochanya died on October 17, 2018, after battling complications that arose from the prolonged sexual assaults she allegedly suffered in the hands of one Mr Andrew Ogbuja, and his son, Victor, for several years while she was living with them, adding that “pedophilia is on the rise in Nigeria and it is worrisome.”

“By statistics, there is an Ochanya in every corner of Nigeria, in every state and LGA. They are all over the country and not peculiar to any one part alone. The people you trust, family members are assaulters and everyone needs to be vigilant.”

He said the people should “all join hands to fight this menace as a people, religious body and traditional institution.” He also called of government to step in with strict measures that will serve as deterrent to every interested in child molestation.

 

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