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Nigeria has 1.3 million orphans largely due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, communal and sectarian violence and natural disasters, according to women affairs minister Rita Akpan.
Abuja, Nigeria, 06/16 - Nigeria has 1.3 million orphans largely due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, communal and sectarian violence and natural disasters, according to women affairs minister Rita Akpan.
Akpan, speaking in Abuja on Tuesday ahead of the yearly observance on 16 June as the Day of the African Child, also warned that the number could rise.
The minister urged Nigerians to extend love to orphans by adopting and giving them the care they needed to become useful citizens.
"Because of their status, orphans within the extended families are sometimes made to work harder than other children. They are exposed to maltreatment, abuses, neglect and exploitation," she said.
The theme of this year`s observance is "African Orphans: Our Collective Responsibility."
HIV/AIDS is creating a major humanitarian crisis for families in Africa, where it is estimated that 11 million people under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to the disease.
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