Child Rights: UNICEF Calls For Establishment Of Family Courts 

By Temitope Mustapha, Kano.

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has called for the establishment of family courts across the States in Nigeria in order to improve the quality of administration of justice system on children’s issues.

UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Fatimah Adamu, made the calls in Kano State on Monday during a two day media dialogue on new Country programme 2023-2027 and the status of implementation of the Child Rights Law 2003 in states.

According to Adamu, only three states in Nigeria have established the family court, an aspect she said forms a critical Structure in the implementation of child rights act in Nigeria.

The issue of establishing family court is domesticated in the Child rights laws of the states and it is peculiar in application as provided for by each of these states,” Adamu said.

“Some CR laws recognise the establishment of family courts while some acknowledge it’s designation.”

Adamu identified the implementation of Child Rights Act as a challenge, saying it is bedevilled with huge misconception.

Measurability/Implementation Of Child Rights

The Child Protection Specialist pointed the need for all sectors to budget for children while also develop national agenda for children that would address issues such as child marriage, out of school children, and child labour, amongst others.

Adamu emphasised that the role of the law is to protect all children, while the implementation of the Child rights law is to reduce most of the problems confronting the Nigerian child.

UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Fatimah Adamu.

Passing or domesticating the CR laws does not only address the problems facing the children but it full implementation which involves investment of finds is most crucial,” Adamu added.

Adamu, who said that 35 states and the FCT have adopted the CRL as Bauchi State was yet to adopt it, called for more establishment of family courts in the states saying that only three states had established the family court. She also said that issues of children’s protection should be a priority to all duty bearers as well as stakeholders.

The UNICEF Specialist called for thorough implementation plan from states. She hinted that UNICEF will work with the states to develop the plans and further advocate the sessions of the child rights act that are not working. Adamu harped on behavioural change towards issues that concern child rights in Nigeria.

Objectives Of Media Dialogue

Earlier, UNICEF Chief of Communication, Dr. Geoff Njoku, said the meeting was organised to re-assess the results achieved on country project between year 2018 and 2022 , as well as begin discussion on targets to achieve between year 2023 and 2027.

He also said the media dialogue was held to consider the status of the child rights act adopted by Nigeria 20 years ago. Dr. Njoku affirmed that Child Rights cuts across all sectors hence the need for it proper implementation.

UNICEF & Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB)

A Representative of CRIB at the dialogue, Temitoye Falayi, said that the new Country program documents focuses on key areas the government of Nigeria requires UNICEF’s Support, such as on Knowledge and finance.

He listed the key areas to include Health and Nutrition Basic Education, social policy advocacy, WASH, HIV/AIDS and child protection.

“The new country program contains the fundamental Paradigm shift from Service delivery to Upstream Work of contributing to building of an evidence based data collection, analysis and it’s use for Children and women in support of more equitable Social policies and programs,” Falayi said.

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