Implementation of child rights law critical to out-of-school reduction –UNICEF
May 29, 2023
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has advocated the implementation of the Child Rights Law in the states as this was critical in the reduction of out-of-school children in the country.
The Child’s Protection Specialist of UNICEF Office in Kano, Hajia Fatimah Adamu, made this known at a two-day media dialogue in Kano on Monday.
The media dialogue is on the new country programme 2023-227 and the status of the implementation of the Child Rights Law (CRL) 2023 in states.
This is in collaboration with Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information.
Recall that in 2022, the UNESCO report showed that approximately 20 million Nigerian children of its approximately 200 million population are out-of-school which amount to 20 per cent of Nigeria’s entire population.
Adamu said that the CRL was put in place to protect all kinds of children, stressing that if implemented appropriately, would lead to the end of out-of-school children menace in the country.
According to her, in 2022, there has been several efforts to reduce the out-of-school children but a lot of reasons are responsible to the high number.
“Issues of conflict/crisis of banditry attacks on community leading to people not able to go back to their community and distance to cover when going to school are responsible.
“Children who are in the street, running from home where social workers should take care of and this not happening is also responsible for the high number.
“The CRL is to protect all kinds of children and this must be implemented by states. A lot of programmes like teachers’ recruitment, provision of second chance education for older children must be put in place.
“In other words, for effective implementation of the CRL, there should be massive investment in education to bring children out of the street,” she said.
Adamu also called for the establishment of more family courts in the states to tackle child rights issues in the country.
The UNICEF specialist called for thorough implementation plan from states while hinting that UNICEF would 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.
She said that priortising family courts as a structure for the implementation of child’s right must be put in the front burner by states.
“In 1989, the United Nations Convention on Child Rights (UNCRC) enacted the Child Rights Acts and was adopted by its UN General Assembly on Nov. 20, 1989.
“This acts covers the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children.
“Nigeria ratified the CRC in 1991 while the African Union (AU) ratified in 2001. All these culminated as Child Rights Acts (CRA) which was enacted in 2003.
“A lot of states have passed the child rights law as at 2005 but the question is if you have passed it, have you put down structure to implement it?.
“Structure like family court so that when a child commits a crime you don’t put such a child with terrorists,” she added.
Adamu, who said that 35 states and the FCT had adopted the CRL, said a state like Bauchi had yet to adopt it.
Adamu called for more establishment of family courts in the states saying that only three states had established the family court.
Also speaking, Mr Temitoye Falayi who spoke on behalf of CRIB, said the new country programmme documents would focus on key areas that the Government of Nigeria required UNICEF supports, knowledge and finance.
Falayi highlighted the key areas to include Health and Nutrition, Basic Education, Social Policy, Advocacy, WASH, HIV/AIDS and Child Protection.
“The new country programme contains the fundamental paradigm shift from service delivery to upstream work of contributing to building of an evidence based data collection, analysis and its use for children and women in support of more equitable social policies and programmes”.
Njoku said that it would also create a discussion and target on the new programme (2023-2027). (NAN)