UNICEF urges state govts to domesticate Child Rights Act
The fund said the domestication of the Act (CRA) by states would provide the necessary legal framework to address issues affecting children.
Mr Geoffery Njoku, the Communication Specialist of UNICEF, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Njoku said that there should be laws to protect the rights of children being integral part of the society.
“Children’s issues are rights issues which are covered by the constitution and there should be a body of laws to protect children and ensure that their rights are realised.
“It is good to have the CRA before you have something to implement,” said the communication specialist.
The official noted that there were some disparities in the Child Rights Laws passed by the states that have domesticated the CRA.
He commended all the states in the South West, the South East states excluding Enugu, the North Central states and Jigawa for domesticating the CRA out of the 36 states of the federation.
Njoku said that there was a consciousness of the CRA in these states which gradually was deterring the violation of the rights of children.
“Domestication of the Child Rights Act has made an impact but not as much as we expect, but particularly there is the consciousness that there are rights of children.
“It is being quoted and I have heard some states say that they are going to prosecute certain people based on the provisions of the Child Rights Act.
“This means that awareness is there and in some states they have family courts which is a prescription of the CRA, but the impact is small compared to the magnitude of the problems we have,” he said.
Njoku said that the protection of children’s rights was a collective responsibility for the government, civil society organisations, media, international development partners and parents.
He said that government at all levels had the task to ensure that the rights of children are placed on top priority of their agenda for proper development.
According to him, domestication of the CRA is key to our development and it is key to our existence because without children we will not have children in 50 years time.
He, however, appealed to the states yet to domesticate the CRA to do so for the protection of the rights of their children.
“We call on these states to go ahead and domesticate; they should look at the prescriptions, look at the articles properly and see which way they can work around it.
“They should contextualise it within their own local realities and then domesticate it; nobody is saying that they should take everything hook, line and sinker and put it in their laws.
“They should look at what to adjust, adopt and then go ahead so as to have something to work on children,” said Njoku.
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