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1.1       Background to the Problem

The Nigerian society and indeed African societies in general highly value children. This is because of the intrinsic and emotional satisfaction children offer their parents as well as the instrumental role they play in lineage and kinship matters. Moreover, God sees the need of sending children to parent for the purpose of multiplication, joy and happiness in the home.

The birth of a child is thus celebrated in the society, in many circumstances, with joy, songs and dance Kisekka (2001) assets that the Nigerian in the first one year of life is certainly a centre of attention. He is often carried on the back, curded, bathed and talked to by an array of old relations. The child, therefore, rarely eats plays as sleeps alone.

Okwara (2005) notes that child is a valuable gift from God and every ethnic group in Nigerian puts high value on children. In spite of this, it is unfortunate that some children have been exposed to abuse and neglect. Okolo (1996) reports that in several Nigerian communities, children are rejected and sometimes sent to the streets  to tend for themselves and learn how to survive on their own.

Bidemi and Adefuye (2007) are of the view that it has always been their customary for children to help their parents work. Children of trader would assist their parents to sell their goods; those of farmer would help them on the farm. Today, the situation has changed drastically as adult supervision of the children has reduced in several cases.

The child is now sent into the streets and highways alone. Sometimes to the market to sell goods, he is battered, under-nourished, poorly clothed and often abuse takes forms which include: beating with the hand, beating with available instruments, kicking and knocking on hard objects strangling of suffocating, stabbing on slashing drowning, burning, poisoning, deliberate neglect, exposure, hawking, lock in, starvation and education deprivation. All these practices expose the child to injuries and emotional tensions that do not allow for their effective growth and development.

Fontona (1996) states that in America alone, between 50,000 and 70,000 incidents of child abuse and neglect occur yearly. De Francis (1996) also reports that in London. 10,000 children are severally battered, 5,000 to 7,500 sexually abused, 1,000 neglected every year. Gesinde (2007) notes that accurate statistics on child abuse in Nigeria are currently unavailable.

However, its existence has been reported by Ifeyinwa (2002), Dunapo (2000) and Bukoye (2000). Thus, in Nigeria  the prevalence of  child abuse appears higher  than it does in the United States of America. Britain is reported by Wisdom (2007) as having the lowest figures of child abuse and neglect among  the first world nations.

Child abuse is defined in various ways by various people. The royal collage of Psychiatrists (2004) asserts that child abuse is a term when an adult harms a child or young person under the age of 18. Wisdom (2007) defines it as the physical, psychological on sexual maltreatment to a child’s physical moral or mental well-being.

It also means physical abuses sexual abuse and neglect which many result in bruises, broken bones, permanent physical of developmental impairment, and emotional trauma or death. The African network for the prevention and projection against child abuse and neglect (ANPPCAN) (1986) defines abuse as the intended, unintended as well intended acts and the endanger the physical, emotional, moral and educational welfare of the child.

Chalk, Gibbons and Scarnpa (2002) are of view  that when child abuse occurs with child neglects, they are collectively called child maltreatment.

Thus, the media, particularly the broadcast media, have been part of the campaign against child abuse. If that is so, it is probable that the electronic media in the state have also been part of the campaign and would probably have some kind of influence on the audiences especially the people of Itu. It is on this note that the study out to ascertain the influence of the broadcast media on the campaign against child abuse in Itu Local Government Area of Akwaibom State.

1.1.1    The History of Itu local Government Area

The name Itu is derived from the native name of a sea animal called “Manatee”  this animal was known to migrate from the Atlantic Ocean, up the Cross river, to bask on the Sands of Itu.

Itu is located in the South-East of Nigeria and is one out of thirty-one Local Government Area of AkwaIbom State.  The Local Government Area  occupies a landmass of approximately 606.10 square kilometer. It is bounded in the north and north-East by Odukpani. In Cross River State and Arochukwu in Abia State in the west by IbionoIbom and Ikono Local Government Areas, in the South and South-East by Uyo and Urua Local Government Area respectively.

After many Local Government were carved out from Itu, the Local Government  is left with five clans namely, Itam, Oku Iboku, Ayadehe, Itu and Mbiabo clans, the headquarters is are MbakAtai where the secretariat is located. Itu Local Government Area has 127,033 recipients according to 2006 national population commission.

Itu is predominantly a rural environment, a reverie area, very fertile terrain for cultivation of enable crops like okro, pepper, and pumpkin etc. the economy is purely rural and petty trading and fishing is their way of life. The arrival of the church of Scotland missionaries was a prelude to the modern medicine and cure.

The spread of the gospel was followed by the building of dispensaries, clinics and hospital of note were they establishment of leper colony for the treatment of lepers/leprosy; Mary Sesser hospital at ObotItu, clinic at IkotObong, UyoItametc and dispensary at Ikpa in ibionoIbom.


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