Abuja – The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged the government at all levels to prioritize the protection and care of children, especially those facing challenges like child labour and trafficking, no shelter, hunger, out-of-school situation, poor antenatal and postnatal care, orphans and vulnerable children syndrome, etc, to avoid further violation of the rights of this vulnerable group.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu SAN, who stated this as the Commission joins the rest of Nigerians to mark the 2022 Children’s Day cerebration, noted that the country has a lot to do in terms of protecting the rights of the children by equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills that will enable them to realize and maximize their opportunities in life.
“We cannot allow our children to wander the street, face the challenge of kidnapping, malnutrition, trafficking, drug use and addiction, recruitment into terrorism, violent crimes, sexual and other forms of assault and forced/child marriages, if we really want the best for them”, Ojukwu said.
According to the Chief Human Rights Officer, our children have great potentials and can contribute to national actions for the common good of humanity and our country, and this will only happen when they are given the necessary care and support.
Incidentally, the theme of 2022 Children’s Day celebration, “Strengthening Supportive Systems for the Protection of the Nigerian Child; A Wake Up Call”, challenges the relevant authorities to put in place the necessary mechanisms that will enhance the protection of children in Nigeria.
“The Commission acknowledges the historic adoption by Member States of the United Nations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child ( CRC) which makes it an obligation for member states to take all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures to implement the core principles of non-discrimination, devotion to the best interests of the child, the right to life, survival and development”, Ojukwu stated.
The Commission therefore commends the federal government for the passage of the Child Right Act 2003 and its adoption across the country except in few States that are yet to adopt this legislation.
“The Act which states that the best interest of the child shall remain paramount in all consideration of issues affecting children. It also incorporates all the rights and responsibilities of children and consolidates all other laws relating to children and specifies the duties and obligations of parents and authorities”, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria added.
As a Commission, the Executive Secretary stated that a lot of interventions have been made in support of the Child’s Rights across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, aside from successfully handling complaints on violations of the rights of the child.
To this end, the Commission urges governments and all stakeholders to further commit themselves to addressing critical issues such as poverty, quality education, access to health care, sexual and gender based violence, child labor and trafficking and all harmful practices that affect our children.
The Commission further wishes to use the opportunity to call for the adoption of the child rights law in the outstanding states as well as the adoption of a policy for the protection of civilians including children especially in periods of conflict, insurgency, terrorism and large scale atrocities and criminalities like NIgeria is presently undergoing. It is also inevitable for all MDA’s to mainstream human rights and the interest of children into all migration issues as our commitment to achieving the objectives of the Global Compact on Migration, the Learned Senior Advocate further stated.