The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, on Tuesday, lamented the increasing cases of sexual abuse in military formations across the country.
Yahaya, who was represented by the Commandant, Nigeria Army School of Military Engineering (NASME), Brigadier General Mark Mamman, blamed the scourge on the absence of soldiers at the home fronts, saying they were always away from their families.
He spoke at the 2021 Conference of Nigerian Armed Forces Catholic Chaplains holding in Makurdi, Benue State.
The programme has as its theme, “The role of military chaplains in present-day challenges of insecurity and moral decadence.”
“Most of our gallant officers and soldiers spend their year-round in the bushes and frontlines away from their families.
“It is pertinent to note that most of our barracks and formations are gradually being flooded with cases of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. Thus, your theme for this Combined Conference: “Protection/Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Adults in NA Formations: The Role of the Chaplain”, is important to address the causes and solution to such menace.
“The horrible effect of experiencing abuse and neglect in childhood can lead to adverse outcome in adulthood. The consequences of experiencing child abuse do vary considerably. For some adults, the effects of child abuse and neglect are chronic and debilitating, which can lead to debased character and behavior. As such this can create a strong negative hole in the family life of a military personnel,” he said.
He emphasised that the negative effects of abuse of minors could lead in some instances to substance abuse problems, which is seriously being experienced currently in the battle against terrorism in the North East.
He added that “Our country, Nigeria, and undeniably the world today, is rassling with the punitive reality of restiveness mostly sounded with religious, economic and political undertones. Today, the precious fabric of our nation is being endangered by activities of criminal elements and insurgents, sprouting almost in every region of the country.
“These restiveness have caused disorder and wanton destruction of lives and property to many unsuspecting citizens who have continued to look unto the government for solace.
“For us in the Armed Forces, we must call to mind always that the noble task of protecting the territorial integrity of the nation while also being proactively involved in aid of our civil authority is our prime responsibility. It is therefore encouraging to see you as members of the Armed Forces gathered for a combined conference to find solution together towards our common problem.”