By Ishaq Dan-Imam, Lokoja
The Kogi State Government has signed into law the Family Court Rules and Practice Direction for the Domesticated Child Rights Law in the State.
The Kogi Chief Judge, Justice Josiah Majebi, signed the documents in his office in Lokoja on Wednesday.
Majebi said that the family court came into existence about 10 years ago and needed to have the rules of the court and practice direction.
“We thank God for this opportunity to bring into force the rules of court to regulate proceedings relating to the rights, advancement, welfare, and trial of children under the Kogi state child rights law 2009 and other purposes connected thereto.
“This is also the practice direction and the implementation of the Kogi state child rights law 2009 and the family court rules 2023.
“Because of the importance of facilitating trial, we set up a committee headed by Justice Angelina Salihu, which worked assiduously to ensure that these rules come into force within a reasonable time.
“As of today, by the special grace of God, the Kogi family court rules 2023 and practice direction have been signed. This is a welcome development, “he said.
The chief judge thanked the child rights advocate cluster in Kogi State led by the President of Teens Educational Development and Information Initiative, TEDiiN, Elder Titus Alonge, for their roles in ensuring that these rules came into force.
The Palladium SCALE project with funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is aimed at full implementation of the child rights law in five north central.
The signing of the CRL ‘Practice Direction’ is a significant milestone towards the full realization of the CRL policy demands as the signing kick starts the legal framework for the law implementation.
Earlier, Justice Angelina Salihu, the Review Committee Chairperson, said that by the new family Court law and practice direction, the processes of evaluation summons would definitely be shorter and faster than the writ of summon they were using before.
“In as much as some of these children commit heinous crimes such as murder, there’s no home or prison, where they can be kept.
“Also victims of rape are not having it easy making in the road to living a normal life, which are parts of our challenges.
“We thank God for the domestication of the child rights law and signing the family court rules and practice direction in the interest of the children,” Salihu said.
Alonge explained that his NGO of over 25 years centers mainly on the issues of children to make sure that they were well catered for and protected from harm from societal ills hence the commencement of the program.
In putting the family court rules and a practice direction, he said: “We took a very wide sensitization program starting with major stakeholders or relevant ministries, Departments, and Agencies that deal with issues of children.
“We gathered our stakeholders from Ministries of Education, Justice, and women affairs as well as youths and sports development with CAN, JNI, and PWDs leaders for crucial stakeholders meetings.
“At the meeting, we discussed and came up with beautiful ideas that we are celebrating today that have been signed into law by his lordship, the chief judge of Kogi,” Alonge said.
The Project Manager of SCALE Project in Kogi State, Mr. Abaniwo Nathaniel, expressed delight with signing the document, which he says gives impetus to the child rights protection campaign in the state.
Nathaniel urged the Kogi state government to set up the state CRL implementation committee to fast-track the process of child rights arbitration in the State.