The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, has lamented that children and spouses of soldiers and personnel of the Service serving fatherland in far ways spots across the country are now exposed to sexual abuses in the barracks.
Gen. Yahaya said this was because of the absence of soldiers at the barracks who are away on official assignment outside the barracks to protect and defend the country.
He said this at the 2021 Conference of Nigerian Armed Forces Catholic Chaplains in Makurdi, Benue State, last Tuesday.
Represented by the Commandant of the Nigeria Army School of Military Engineering, Brig.-Gen. Mark Mamman, the Army Chief said the soldiers have always been away from their family members to protect the nation.
“It is worthy to note that the Armed forces is over-stretched in all ramifications, with the various areas of restiveness to cover and manpower to deploy.
“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 solutions 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 behaviour.
“As such, this can create a strong negative hole in the family life of military personnel” he said.
Speaking further, the Army Chief said, “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 a solution together towards our common problem,” Gen. Yahaya was quoted as saying.