Group urges government to address access to justice for Nigerian child
The Inclusion Project (TIP) has urged the Federal and State governments in Nigeria to take immediate and urgent steps to address the problems hindering friendly access to justice for the Nigerian child.
The group in a statement signed by the Program Manager, Yomade Adegboyega said the tiers of governments need to immediately lunch a comprehensive justice reform programmes and policies that will not only ensure a child-friendly justice system in Nigeria but also encourage and sustain the desired access to justice by the victims of these violations, particularly in the area of pretrial intelligence, information and evidence gathering by the police and other law enforcement agencies.
Adegboyega said such would include in-trial protection of the child and post-trial restoration and compensation regime, which will invariably eliminate all forms of trauma and stigma on the child and help for the proper reintegration and confidence of the child in the society.
According to the group, the non-implementation of the provisions of the Child’s Rights Act and other laws like the Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) Act by the Federal Government, including the failure of many states in Nigeria to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act have helped to increase the limitation or friendly access for justice for the Nigerian child whose rights have been violated.
They noted that Nigeria is a signatory to several international laws and conventions including the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights; the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child and the Organization of African Unity Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the child.
These laws, TIP said have made copious provisions for the recognition, protection and enforcement of the rights of the child in our society, yet in Nigeria, no much progress has been made to complement and ensure the implementation of this child – friendly laws as a result of the nature of the administration of justice and legal system which is basically non – child friendly.
The group added that some of the Southern States in Nigeria have taken bold steps to domesticate the Child’s Right Act or enact similar laws but these steps (given the incessant and unabating spate of violations of the rights of the Nigerian children going on every day, especially in respect of sexual abuses and violations, most of which are unreported at the family level), are insignificant.
TIP insist that many more need to be done by all the tiers of governments in Nigeria to speedily and totally ensure that the rights of every child in Nigeria is adequately protected and accordingly enforced whenever violated.
They further call on states that have not enacted the Child Rights Act to urgently adopt the law for the protection of the rights of every child in their state, and ensure a child-friendly justice system in all the states in Nigeria.