Child Rights Act: What Nigeria should urgently do to help children —UNICEF

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Rukayat Akanbi, Bauchi

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on Nigeria’s stakeholders to take the rights of children as priority to prevent their future from been jeopardised.

The Agency also said about 50 per cent of children in the Northeast Nigeria are yet be immunised while 34,000 of them in Taraba are down with severe acute malnutrition and large number of them are not enrolled in school.

Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, Mr. Bhanu Pathak while addressing journalists at the UNICEF’s Office on Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), highlighted the Agency’s requests from the government to save every child.

He said: “We are calling on the government to ensure that every school-age child is in school, the issue of domestication of the Nigeria Child Rights Act2003 by states and registration of child birth and children identity should be given priority.

“We are hugging Nigerian government to take the issue policy and regulations seriously. Without the law it is very difficult to get justice and to operate. The 36 states and FTC are supposed to have adopted this (Child Rights Act) law which provide a legal framework for the rights of children.

“However, only 25 states in Nigeria have enacted the Child Rights Law so far. The 11 states that are yet to domesticate are all in the northern part of the country. Among the UNICEF Field Office Bauchi-supported states, for instance, Adamawa, Gombe, Jigawa and Bauchi are yet to enact this law.”

He lamented that the cases of malnourished 34,000 children in Taraba might claimed their lives if not urgently addressed. “Similar number of them are in Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa and Jigawa. If the state governments did not take action, many of them will die,” he warned.

UNICEF further charged government, parents, communities traditional and religious leaders and all stakeholders to ensure that all the school age children are enrolled in school and complete a quality education.

Being World Children’s Day, the Agency has launched a music video on the children’s rights; passport to your right and CRC/SDGs mobile application in Abuja. While he said Prof. Wole Soyinka has presented his poem at the United Nations General Assembly to mark the anniversary.

Also, major roads and Emir’s Palace in Bauchi were decorated and light up in blue to mark the occasion.

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