No less than 12 northern states in Nigeria are yet to pass the Child Rights Law, a child protection specialist with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Sharon Oladiji, has said.
The states are; Bauchi, Yobe, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Borno, Zamfara, Gombe, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa and Kaduna.
This information was provided during a two-day media dialogue on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) at 30, organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in collaboration with UNICEF.
Ms. Oladiji revealed that many of such nothern states earlier listed believe some sections of the child rights law need to be amended as it doesn’t go in hand with their belief and cultural practice.
CRC was adopted on November 20, 1989 by the UN General Assembly, and was ratified by 194 state parties, except Somalia.
It covers civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, thus underscoring the indivisibility and equal importance of all rights.
Nigeria adopted the Child Rights Act in 2003 to domesticate the international Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This act covers every aspect of the lives of children and adolescents. They are broken down into: survival rights, development rights, participation rights, and protection rights.
Oladiji urged the governments at all level to put laws in place to protect the rights of children in Nigeria.
She said the success of this would encourage implementation and children will consequently grow into better adults in future.
She stated that investing in a child was paramount for Nigeria and Africa to realise the rights of the burgeoning child population.
According to her: “A healthy development of a child is crucial to the future well-being of any nation. Special attention is required for Nigeria which is the country with the largest increase in absolute numbers of both birth and child population. It is time we acknowledge our shared responsibility and address this issue”.
In his presentation, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Dennis Onoise said culture is only one of the many reasons stakeholders refuse to push for the implementation of the Child Rights Law in their states.
He said personal interest also plays its part in the delay of implementing such law, because some stakeholders might refuse to push for the law because if implementation starts, it may affect them.
The Chief of communication, UNICEF, Eliana Drakopoulos also said the Convention on the rights of the child must be made public to everyone in order to ensure full protection and adoption of the CRC act.
According to Eliana: “The need to ensure that children are empowered all round to take their pride of place in our society and the world at large.
“This is a realisation that all children have a right to better life, an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potentials,” she said.