Coalition urges state governments to domesticate the Child Rights Law | By Yinka Ojo

As Nigeria celebrates Children’s Day on Sunday, a group of child rights Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have called on the Federal Government to ensure that Nigerian children enjoy their right of access to justice.

In a statement to commemorate the 2012 Children’s Day, Dr. Emilie Secker, spokesperson for the Niger Delta Child Rights Watch Project, urged state governments to ensure that child rights laws were implemented.

The statement, which was made available to Daily Times on Saturday, noted that some states had yet to domesticate the Child Rights Law.

The coalition called for the passage of the Child Rights Law in all states of the federation, as well as the establishment of family courts to bring justice to victims of child abuse.

“Sadly, the case data from our Niger Delta Child Rights Watch Project has also shown that many police and child welfare officers in the various ministries of women affairs are not properly equipped. They are not properly equipped to give appropriate support to children who have suffered abuses like rape, abandonment and violence,” the statement read.

“We therefore call upon the Nigerian government to ensure that both the police and other relevant government officers are given sufficient training and resources so that they can understand the principles of the Child Rights Act. The training will also enable them to apply the principles of the Child Rights Act effectively to investigating and charging cases of child abuse.

“Presently, very few cases of abuse reach the courts and those who abuse children rarely face justice for their crimes. This needs to change if Nigeria is going to show the world that it is committed to the principles of justice, human rights and the rule of law.”

The statement noted that Cross River government had taken commendable steps, with the establishment of family courts to adjudicate child abuse cases.

“We have already seen how genuine government commitment and action can have a huge positive impact on child rights protection in Cross River State where the Child Rights Act is in place. The family courts established in 2011 have also led to the achievement of a groundbreaking prosecution for child rights abuse,” it read.

“This has not only provided justice for the child but also sent a clear message that abusing the rights of any child is against the Nigerian law. I truly believe that all children in Nigeria deserve this protection and that other states need to follow the lead of the Cross River State government in this regard.”

Yinka Ojo

Yinka has taught at various levels of education. He has published a textbook on effective teaching practice and several academic papers in reputable journals. He is currently an education consultant. He loves writing, poetry, music and is presently working on a musical album billed to be released into the market soon. 

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