By Wevole Ezin, Calabar
UNICEF has commended Jigawa state government for signing into law the Child Protection Bill, saying it was another feat for children’s rights in Nigeria.
It will be recall that the federal government had in 2003 enacted the Child Rights Act 2003 and urged states to domesticate the Act into law to safeguard children’s rights from being violated.
Jigawa state Governor, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar has in December 22, 2021, 18 years after, joined 28 other states including Cross River to domesticate the Act into state law.
The UNICEF Deputy Representative in Nigeria, Rushnan Murtaza who congratulated the state said,“This is a great achievement for children in Jigawa and we congratulate the Governor of Jigawa for signing into law the Child Protection Bill.”
According to him that children in Jigawa State continue to face numerous challenges including lack of access to formal education, adequate primary healthcare, good nutrition and protection from violence – especially girls and the situation becomes worse for children in street situation.
“I also want to encourage the different arms of government in Jigawa and other states with child rights legislation to demonstrate their commitment to full implementation by taking ownership of the issue and ensuring children are safe and protected across the state.”
“The domestication of the Child Protection Bill in Jigawa State will help safeguard the rights of children, including ensuring parents, caregivers and authorities across the spectrum fulfill their obligation to protect children, and prioritize access to health and education – especially for the girl-child – amongst several other demands that will enable children grow and thrive on an equal footing,” said Murtaza.
On his part, the state Attorney General, Dr. Musa Aliyu said, “The bill has been passed at a critical time when there is a rise in sexual abuse of children, child labour and child trafficking – all of which make children unsafe and subject them to trauma that can have lifelong impact.”
A total of 29 states, have now domesticated the Act into law, the other eight, Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Yobe, Kano and Zamfara states are in the process of domestication and some have already passed at the State Houses of Assembly.
However, child rights acts was recently passed by the Borno, Kebbi and Yobe State Houses of Assembly and are now awaiting signing into law by the respective State Governors.