Home Human Rights USAID Supports Child Rights Law Policy Ask in Five States

USAID Supports Child Rights Law Policy Ask in Five States

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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By Ishaq Dan-Imam, Lokoja

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nigeria, through Palladium and the Center for Women, Youth and Community Action (NACWYCA), has organized a two-day media training workshop on the Child Rights Law (CRL) implementation towards achieving the policy Ask of the child rights law passed into law by the national assembly in 2003.

Twenty-seven Journalists from Kogi, Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa, and Plateau states drawn from private and public media organizations, attended the training held at Nasarawa Luxury Hotel in Lafia, capital of Nasarawa state in north-central Nigeria.

The imperative of the child rights law, and the bottlenecks to its full implementation in the five states, formed the basis of increased advocacy for the Scale project funded by USAID and its partners.

Scale, which is the project’s acronym, stands for, strengthening civic advocacy and local engagement. it’s a five-year advocacy project aimed at prioritizing the children in the five states and safeguarding the rights of children through collaborative efforts of the parents, governments, the media, and civil society.

According to the executive director of the implementing partner, center for women, youth and Community action, NACWYCA, Dr. Nawani Aboki, the policy Ask of the child rights law includes the establishment of a family court to try children with conflict the law; building of functional safe spaces to accommodate child offenders, Juvenile homes, for the rehabilitation of such children; budgetary allocation for CRL implementation; and practice direction in line with section 218 of the child rights law, which provides for the establishment of government accommodation for children below 18 years safe spaces for children under investigation.

Speaking against the backdrop of non-budgetary allocation for child rights law implementation in the states, on account of lack of funds, affecting governments’ commitment to the steady implementation of the law, Dr. Aboki, said, “ordinarily, governments are shouting lack of money, but if you prioritize children, you cannot be talking of resources.

A cross-section of participants at the two-day media training workshop

A lot of waste in government. So, why don’t use that money to support the upbringing of our children? so, the issue that there is no money should not be an obstacle at all; it’s only an excuse. governments must prioritize the rights and education of our children. that is key, and I think that is all that the child rights law is all about; prioritize the children,” Aboki said.

Dr. Aboki, while speaking on the purpose of the workshop, said media professionals as conveyors and managers of information, were being trained on the CRL implementation so that they could provide to the public and serve as advocates of child rights, adding that “if I see fewer children on the street; if I see children accessing quality education; if I see anyone who violates the right of children punished for what he or she has done, that will give me a lot of smiles on my face, and I will be excited,” he said.

Benue state commissioner of information, culture, and tourism, Hon. Michael Umoru Inalegwu, who was a participant in the workshop and head of the Benue delegation to the media training, said the workshop was an eye-opener for the Journalists in attendance as it puts a bigger task on the Journalists to educate the general public and governments to, “wake up that child rights law in Nigeria needs to be implemented, and when that is done, the society will get the greatest benefit; benefit in the sense that when we properly take care of our children and bring them up in the way and manner that makes them happy, they will live up to our expectations and our society will not experience the kind of issues of banditry, hooliganism, drug abuse, and other criminal acts.”

Inalegwu assured that Benue state would mobilize adequate resources and media in the state towards seamless implementation of the child rights law in Benue state since according to him, the state government is worried by the incidence of out-of-school children, child labor and the menace of street children, which the Ortom administration had since given priority attention since assumption of office.

He promised to facilitate stakeholders’ engagements on the CRL implementation in Benue state as he hopes the state takes the lead in its implementation because of the state government’s disposition to child rights protection.

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