By Chidi Opara
Abuja – The National Child’s Rights Implementation Committee (NCRIC) says 32 states have now passed the Child’s Rights Act.
The Co-Chair of the Committee, Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, said this on Thursday in Abuja when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Buki Ponle.
Nwaobiala said Kano, Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe States had yet to pass the Act.
He said some traditional practices had hampered the enactment of the Act in the states and urged them to ensure passage of the legislation.
Nwaobiala said that the committee was established in line with the provisions of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003 to initiate actions and programmes that would ensure the observance and popularisation of the rights and welfare of the child.
According to him, NCRIC is a multi-sectoral committee comprising relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) dealing with children.
The body, he added, derived its powers from international statutes, conventions, declarations and treaties.
He said these include the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child of which Nigeria is a member.
The primary objective of the committee, he said, was to initiate actions, programmes and projects that would ensure the observance and popularisation of the rights and welfare of the Nigerian child.
Nwaobiala said the committee was also to develop and recommend to the Federal and State Governments specific programmes and projects that would enhance the implementation of the rights of the child through the State Child’s Rights Implementation Committee.
He said the body was equally to complement the workings of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in the area of examining the progress made by states in respect of the rights and welfare of children.
“Our mandate is to ensure that the rights of children are promoted, protected and that children enjoy their rights as enshrined in the UN convention and treaties,” he said.
The committee co-chair commended NAN’s managing director for being a longtime advocate of the rights of children.
He expressed appreciation to NAN for the warm welcome accorded his delegation and solicited support in the area of sensitisation on the need to enact the Act in the remaining four states.
Nwaobiala said he was also in the agency to present the periodic report of the committee on the Child’s Rights Act for perusal.
He said that the committee was also preparing a comprehensive report on the situation of children in the country to be submitted to the international community.
Responding, Ponle noted that the actions of adults in form of certain criminal acts and different forms of abuse often rubbed off on children.
He urged parents, guardians and other stakeholders to put in place measures to shield children from negative influences.
Ponle, who recalled his active involvement in the stages leading to the enactment of the Act, commended the committee for the visit.
He expressed gladness that 32 states in the country had passed the Act and called on the remaining four to enact same.
Ponle also pledged the support of the Agency in deepening advocacy to ensure the passage of the Act in the remaining states.
NAN reports that the highlight of the visit was the presentation of the full version of the Child’s Rights Act Report and the CRA 2003 Abridged Version of the Act to the managing director.(NAN/vitalnewsngr.com)