Stakeholders in the fight for the rights of the Nigerian child have called for the adoption and implementation of the Child Rights Act in 10 states yet to domesticate the law.
They made the appeal at the end of a two-day stakeholders’ consultative meeting on ‘child protection and safeguarding mechanisms for learners with disabilities’ on Thursday in Abuja.
The states that are yet to domesticate the Act include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara. Ms Irene Ogbogu, the Executive Director, Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC), noted that the society had the sole responsibility of protecting every single child in the community.
According to her, non-adoption of the Act signifies that children are vulnerable to all sorts of victimisation and abuse without proper punishment for the offender. “Effective solutions to child abuse require procedures and structures to protect children from violence at all levels and in all settings where it takes place.
“Working within a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approach is essential with governments, donors, communities, families and the children themselves,’’ Ogbogu said. She added that the key principles which formed the foundation of all child safeguarding interventions include prevention, paramount partnership, protection and parental responsibility.
The DRAC director noted that the implementation of the Act would also ensure that children and young persons living with disabilities are not marginalised in the society. Ms Jamila Haruna, an English Language Examiner, said that the Act could be adopted in defaulting states when the policymakers take away their selfish interests.
She added that it was important for them to get the basic knowledge on the benefits of the Act and adopt it in their various states.
Mr Muazo Dikko, father of a person with disability, added that government and child’s right NGOs must work with traditional and religious leaders in those states to ensure its speedy adoption. He said that including these leaders would ensure that culture and religion which had been a barrier to its passage would be overcome.
Participants at the meeting include educationists, officials from the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), security agencies, as well as persons and students living with disabilities.