The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development has advocated full implementation of the Child’s Rights Act 2003 by all states of the Federation.Sen.Aisha Alhassan, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development said this in Abuja at a Two-day National Conference on the rights and welfare of the child.
Alhassan said the gathering was aimed at enhancing understanding on the provisions of the Child’s Rights Act and facilitating its passage by the states.She was represented at the occasion by Mrs. Jummai Mohammed, Director Child Development in the Ministry.
The minister said the conference was organized to strategize for the well being of the Nigerian child and increase awareness on the rights of the child, especially the girl-child.
Alhassan noted that due to the federal system of government and the nature of the country’s constitution, every state is expected to pass similar laws within its territorial jurisdiction.
She, however, said the adoption of the Act by states would ensure that children at all levels, particularly those at the grassroots, enjoy their rights to survival, development, protection and participation.
Alhassan further expressed her concern about certain portion of the Act which she said had been uttered by some states.“We are aware of and appreciate the concerns and apprehension about certain portions of the Act by some states during the advocacy visits by the Honourable Minister.
It is for this reason that we have strive to encourage each state to make such amendments as are necessary to accommodate their peculiarities without losing the spirit and essence of the law.
The conference would however examine the areas of contention in the Act such as child marriage, female Genital mutilation, and street children for amicable and mutual resolution,’’ she said.
The minister commended the international community for clearly demonstrating and increasing awareness and importance of children for their well being.
She said in recognizing the role of children in national development, the government of Nigeria endorsed the UN Convention on the rights of the child, Africa Charter on the rights and welfare of the child among others.
She also said Nigeria is morally and legally bound to implement the provisions of the treaties.
“The convention in its article four stipulates that “States shall undertake all appropriate, legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of rights recognized in the convention.
Nigeria enacted the Child’s Rights Act on July 31, 2003, which states the rights and responsibilities of a child in Nigeria and provides for a system of justice administration, care and supervision”,she said.
He also said it spells out governments obligations,as well as organizations, parents and other authorities involved in child’s rights promotion and protection.The Act also enables children with disabilities to enjoy their rights fully as it provides special measures for their care and protection’’,she stated.
Alhassan also commended the contributions of different arms of government, NGOs and private individuals, adding that they all had critical role to play in the discharge of international obligations