Christian Aid, CSOs Blame Lack Of Child Rights Act Domestication On Religious, Cultural Beliefs

Christian Aid and other Civil Society Organisations (CSO) on Tuesday blamed lack of full domestication of Child Rights Act in on religious and cultural beliefs .

They CSO actors made this known at a webinar in commemoration of the 2021 International Day of the African Child with the theme “ organised by Christian Aid UK, Nigeria.

Mr Martins Abantlehe, Programme Communications Volunteer, Christian Aid said that the International Day of the African Child was designated by the African Union on June 16th yearly to draw attention to the plights of the African child.

“In Nigeria, the Child Rights Act is the policy framework that exists to “provide and protect the rights of a Nigerian child; and other related matters.

“In spite of the domestication of this act in various states of the country, the wellbeing of children is not adequately protected as there are gaps in the implementation of the act.

“Current situation of out-of-school children in Nigeria, the Ministry of Education said the number of out-of-school children stands at 10.1 million.

“It is an increase of more than 3 million from last year, implying that out of school children figure in Nigeria as at June 2021 stands at 13.3million.’’

Mr Agboola Afees , Program Officer Education and Girl-Child Literacy. Youthhub Africa said that in 2003, the Child Rights Act was passed into law adding that presently only 25 states or so had domesticated it.

Afees The child right act in Nigerian was designed to address the triple issues of child labour, child abuse as well as out-of-school challenge

He said that the remaining states yet to domesticate it where mostly from the north and the impediments included political issues and the fact that the Act was religiously, culturally sensitive.

“However, the name of the Act had to be changed from Child Rights Act to Child Protection Law due to some sensitive religious and cultural issues. ‘’

Afees said that some claimed that when the Act is domesticated, it would empower the child in certain ways that might not be in tandem with social norms.

He said that CSOs had to convince communities that the Act had not come to rubbish their religion or cultural norms but to help educate children and increase their welfare.

He said this became imperative because it was observed that a huge number of Out-of School children where from states that had not domesticated the Act.

He said that is all states could domesticate the Act, the law could be used to hold government accountable and to rise to its responsibility to children.

Mr Victor Arokoyo, Senior Programme Coordinator, Christian Aid, said that not having the Act in place has had adverse effect on children.

Arokoyo said that most public school were bedeviled by dilapidated buildings with children in tattered cloths attending in not so good condition of transportation.

He added that the economic situation had forced many children into becoming providers hawking to cater for families adding that out-of –school children were poor kids who could not cope with education conditions.

“Some of them trek long distances to go to school and sometimes when its rainy they don’t go because of lack of access .

“We as NGOs need to do more to draw attention to these issues and make sure education works for children.’’

Arokoyo called for the need to do a lot of advocacy and talk more about the economic issues children go through, call for improved teacher’s welfare and create good learning environment.

Mr Emmanuel Tagwai ,a development activist ,NGOs gave technical support on the domestication of the Child Rights Act ,carried children along in the journey of domestication in Kaduna state.

Tagwai said that there was need for continues sensitisation and frequent mention of the Act and the need for the law to be fully domesticated and implemented.

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