Boys particularly vulnerable, insecure during violent conflicts — NGO

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By Martha Agas

An NGO, Restore Hope for the Boy-Child Initiative, has said that boys are particularly vulnerable and subjected to torture during violent conflicts and other insecurity situations.

The Executive Director of the organisation, Dr Babatunde Kayode, said this at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja to mark the International Day of the Boy-Child.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the day is celebrated annually on May 16 to advocate for the well-being of the boy-child, and the need to feel happy, healthy and valued in families and communities.

The observance day was founded by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a university lecturer from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to highlight the unique challenges and pressure faced by boys.

The 2024 theme of the international day is “Boys Health and Well-Being.”

The NGO director, who said that boys also face sexual abuse, added that such incidences were hardly reported because of the pressure on the boy-child to show masculinity.

Kayode said “societal expectations of male strength and emotional resilience often result in a culture of silence among male children, even in the face of danger.

“The suppressed pain can lead to psychological problems and trauma.”

He noted that the growing incidence of single parenthood had also created a void in mentorship and positive role models for boys.

According to him, boys from a young age carry the burden of being providers, shaping their choices and often diverting them from pursuing their passions to meet financial expectations from family and society.

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He said that the situation could lead to rise in toxic masculinity, mental and physical challenges, ritual killings and involvement of boys in internet fraud and violent conflicts.

An awareness walk organised by the Restore Hope for the Boy-Child Initiative, to mark the On Day of the boy-child on Thursday in Abuja.

He added that the situation could also lead to an alarming rate of school dropouts and drug abuse among boys.

He said a study had found that teachers had observed low attention spans and declining educational performance among primary and secondary school-age boys.

He said that addressing the situation required concerted efforts from critical stakeholders, noting that “addressing these issues require collective efforts of parents, schools, society, government and private individuals to find holistic solution.”

Kayode, who pointed out that issues of the girl-child were given more attention, added that

bringing boy-child issues to the fore would lead to a healthy society.

“Our mission is to bring to the fore, the emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing of male children, just like the girls,” he said.

He explained that the NGO’s activities aligned with the Child Rights Act and would involve conducting needs assessments to identify the most pressing requirements of the boy-child.

The organisation conducted an advocacy walk around Garki in Abuja to create awareness for  the boy- child.

Destiny Tada, a student who spoke on behalf of the boy-child, said he is happy about the renewed attention to boys through the celebration of  the day, and expressed hope for a better future.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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