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UNICEF laments poor child rights act compliance, sensitive-budgeting




The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), has decried the increasing occurrences of child abuse and violence against children in the country, attributing it to poor child-sensitive budgeting of government at all levels.

UNICEF Communications Officer, Mrs. Blessing Ejiofor, made the disclosure recently at an advocacy meeting held in Ibadan, Oyo State, which it organised was for scaling up of mass communication training institutions, and mainstreaming child rights report curriculum in the country.

According to her, the one-day event, in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, was necessary to get more teachers and media practitioners involved in the protection of the child’s rights.

Ejiofor said that as a matter of profession, the inclusion of the child rights reportage into mass communication training, and mainstreaming it in their (schools’) curriculum would end abuse and violence against children.

She attributed the series of abuses meted to children in the country to the passiveness of government at all levels to implement the Children Rights Convention (CRC), which she said deprived them of their survival, development, protection and participation rights.

UNICEF’s Communication Specialist, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, who gave a lecture on child rights reporting in the country, noted that the training would lead to more communication training institutions teaching child rights reporting.

The two speakers tasked mass media practitioners and institutions to place more emphasis on ending Violence Against Children (VAC), by ensuring that young journalists in their institutions show more interest in the reportage.

Professor Emeritus, Prof. Pai Obanya, who was a resource person at the advocacy meeting, faulted government policies on child rights act, describing them as mere cosmetics.

“It doesn’t pay to just say you have a policy on something without specifically putting resources aside for it. It relates to taking into account what the declaration says about right to life, protection, health nutrition and self-actualisation.

“Nigeria has a problem of, first of all, not ratifying enough and when it ratifies, it doesn’t really sensitise the populace to know what it is all about. And on the part of government, we have not fully implemented the international agreement we entered into on the child’s right,” he said.

Though he mentioned that a few governments in the federation have openly ratified it, he regretted that on ground, we don’t see this happening because if it was happening, we wouldn’t have 10 million children out of school.

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