UNICEF hounours First Ladies of Kebbi, Zamfara states with Champions for the Protection and Welfare of Children Awards

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has honoured the First Lady of Kebbi state Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu and her Zamfara state counterpart, Hajiya Aisha Bello Muhammad Matawalle with champions for the protection and welfare of children awards in recognition of their advocacy roles on the domestication of the Child Rights Acts as stately laws in their respective states.

As Bugudu urges UNICEF to support Nigeria with HPV vaccine to save girls from cervical cancer

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has honoured the First Lady of Kebbi state Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu and her Zamfara state counterpart, Hajiya Aisha Bello Muhammad Matawalle with champions for the protection and welfare of children awards in recognition of their advocacy roles on the domestication of the Child Rights Acts as stately laws in their respective states.
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Kebbi and Zamfara States are the latest to domesticate the Child rights law bringing the total number of states to 33 while three States (Bauchi, Gombe and Kano) are still at various stages of the domestication process.

Meanwhile, the First Lady of Kebbi State, Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu has called on UNICEF to support Nigeria with the Human PappilomaVirus Vaccine (HPV) in order to protect Nigerian girls from cervical cancer.

Speaking after she received the UNICEF Champions Award for the protection and welfare of children yesterday in Abuja, Bagudu stated that one of the greatest inequities Nigeria is having today is the unavailability and lack of access to Human PappilomaVirus Vaccine and considering that UNICEF is involved in vaccine delivery, it will be of great benefit if UNICEF will support Nigeria with the HPV vaccine for our girls.

She noted that Nigeria has made significant progress in the journey towards including the HPV vaccine in routine immunization but it has not yet been realized, stressing that if UNICEF adds its strong voice to the course, it will hasten the progress.
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Bagudu observed that it was a long and difficult process, getting the Child rights Act domesticated in the state adding that the state governor read every line of the Act thoroughly and ensured that the Act was smoothened culturally to adapt to the peculiarity of the state.

She commended UNICEF for the support given to the state to ensure that the Act was domesticated and appealed to UNICEF to include birth registration in the services it is offering to the state.

Bagudu further noted that the state is battling with a high level of malnutrition and called for more sustainable ways and long-term measures that would be deployed to tackle the problem of malnutrition in the state.

She said, “We can keep on using Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Dood (RUTF) and spending millions on it but unless we get to the root of the problem and adopt a different lifestyle and diet for all our women, it’s going to be difficult. She, therefore, appealed to UNICEF to include a nutrition support programme for the state.

Earlier, UNICEF Nigeria Deputy Representative Roshan Murtaza, said that the award was in recognition of the remarkable passion they have shown in championing children’s rights and ensuring the child rights Act was domesticated in their various states despite the challenges and dynamic nature of their states.
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In her response, the First Lady of Zamfara state, Hajiya Aisha Bello Muhammad Matawalle said that the Zamfara state Child Protection law came into existence through persistent advocacy considering that Zamfara is a very religious state.

Matawalle who was represented by her Senior Special Assistant, Zarah Babagana said, “The Zamfara State Child Protection law has come to stay, and proud to be among other states of the Federation that have not only enacted but domesticated the law. Zamfara state is concerned about issues affecting children and wants to ensure that they are accorded their rights. Called on international partners to assist the state in tackling some of the problems that have impaired the fundamental rights of children, especially in the area of education “.

On his part, UNICEF Nigeria Chief of Child Protection, Ibrahim Sessay said that the domestication of the child rights Act is very important and called for full implementation of the law in the states.

He stated that UNICEF will continue to work closely with the states in improving, and promoting, the rights and well-being of the children adding that the legal framework should be binding by all parties and stakeholders.

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