The Legal Aid Council has appealed to some northern states yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act to do so to protect the rights of children in their respective states.
Mrs Joy Bob-Manuel, the Director General of the council, made the appeal in Abuja on Thursday at the 2nd edition of awareness creation campaign to promote Nigerian children’s rights.
She expressed regret that about nine states in the North were yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act.
Bob-Manuel said the council was determined to continue to advocate for the protection of the child rights as they were the future generation.
She added that “it is important that we continue to give awareness talk on rights of the child; recently, Nigeria joined other nations of the world to celebrate children’s day on May 27.
“This programme is our own effort as Legal Aid Council to continue to give our own share of encouragement to parents, teachers, guardians and government that we all have a stake in looking after the child and that the child has a right.
“Nigeria signed the Child Rights Act in 2003 but it took so long for states to domesticate it, unfortunately, there are nine states in the North yet to do so.”
She revealed that all the states in the South-South, South-East and South-West had signed the Child Rights Act into law.
She called on the nine states in the North to emulate others in the interest of the children.
She also called on states currently facing child-related offences to report such offenders to the council for free legal services.
She said various organisations like the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) offering legal aid services were equally ready to help victims.
She added that it was only when the violated child’s rights were reported that the law would be enforced.
Mrs Ngozi Okogbue, who represented FIDA at the event, urged parents to train their children in the right way to achieve brighter future.
She commended the states that had domesticated the act, and pleaded for its implementation for the protection of Nigerian children.Mr Dannis Eje, the Assistant Director, Inspectorate Department, Federal Ministry of Labour, also called on states to ensure implementation of the Child Rights Act.
The council used the programme to celebrate the 2018 Children’s Day.