Child sexual abuse in Nigeria

Child sexual abuse in Nigeria is an offence under several sections of chapter 21 of the country's criminal code.[1][2] The age of consent is 18.[3]

UNICEF reported in 2015 that one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18.[4] According to a survey by Positive Action for Treatment Access, over 31.4 percent of girls there said that their first sexual encounter had been rape or forced sex of some kind.[5]

The Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development reported that 1,200 girls had been raped in 2012 in Rivers, a coastal state in southeastern Nigeria.[5][6]

According to UNICEF, six out of ten children in Nigeria experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse before the age of 18, with half experiencing physical violence.[4][7]

Girl childEdit

Conditions that increase the risk of girl-child sexual assault in Nigeria can be found in schools, baby factories and the practice of child labour. Studies conducted in Nigeria disclose that young girls are victims in majority of reported assault cases in hospitals. A four-year review of sexual assault cases at LASUTH that began in 2008 and ended in December 2012, showed that out of a total 287 reported cases of sexual assault, 83% of the victims were below the age of 19.[8] A one-year survey conducted at Enugu State University Teaching Hospital between 2012 and 2013 revealed that 70% of sexual assault victims were under the age of 18. In the Enugu survey, majority of the victims knew their perpetrators and the assault occurred inside uncompleted buildings and the victims or perpetrators residence.[9]

Child labourEdit

One of the traditional means of socialization of children is through trading.[10] However, the introduction of young girls into street trading increases the vulnerabilities of the girls to sexual harassment. Sexual abuse of young girls in Nigeria is linked to child labour.[11]

Baby factoriesEdit

Religious and communal stigma associated with surrogacy and adoption has created a rise in baby factories in Nigeria.[12] A large number of female victims in the baby factories are young adolescents.[12] Operators of the baby factories mostly prey on pregnant young girls who are from lower income households, unmarried and are afraid of the public stigma associated with teenage pregnancy.[citation needed] Though, majority of the girls who enter the factory are pregnant some of girls in the factories were kidnapped or bartered to the operators. These girls are then raped solely for the purpose of procreation.[12]

Poor parentingEdit

Poverty and inaccessible to funds for parents to take care of their wards has contributed to child sexual abuse.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Chapter 21: Offences against morality" Archived 20 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Criminal Code Act, Chapter 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Rising cases of rapes". Vanguard Newspaper. 17 January 2014.
  3. ^ Ben Ezeamalu, "Fact check: Nigeria's Sexual Offences Bill stipulates 18 years, not 11 years, as age of consent", Premium Times, 30 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Release of the findings of the Nigeria Violence Against Children Survey", UNICEF Nigeria, 10 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b Is’haq Modibbo Kawu (23 May 2013). "Nigeria’s troubling epidemic of rapes", Vanguard.
  6. ^ "Hoodlums rape 1,200 girls in Rivers", Vanguard, 27 February 2013.
  7. ^ Chris Stein (10 September 2015). "UN: Child Abuse Prevalent in Nigeria". Voice of Nigeria.
  8. ^ Akinlusi FM, Rabiu KA, Olawepo TA, Adewunmi AA, Ottun TA, Akinola OI. Sexual assault in Lagos, Nigeria: a five year retrospective review.
  9. ^ Ohayi, Robsam S. et al. Prevalence and pattern of rape among girls and women attending Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, southeast Nigeria International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics , Volume 130 , Issue 1 , 10 - 13
  10. ^ Ebigbo 2003, p. 97.
  11. ^ Ebigbo 2003, p. 104.
  12. ^ a b c Makinde, Olusesan; Olaleye, Olalekan (2015). "Baby Factories in Nigeria Starting the Discussion Toward a National Prevention Policy". Trauma Violence Abuse. 18: 98–105. doi:10.1177/1524838015591588. PMID 26209095.
  13. ^ Services, Department of Health & Human. "Sexual abuse - helping your child". Retrieved 17 April 2019.


  • Ebigbo, P (2003). "Child Abuse in Africa: Nigeria as focus". International Journal of Early Childhood. 35: 95–113. doi:10.1007/BF03174436.

Further readingEdit