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Child Rights

Mrs Saraki speaking at the FIDA, Milan

H.E. Mrs Saraki speaking at the FIDA, Milan

The acceptance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by an increasing number of governments globally since its adoption in 1989, has made it inevitable for Nigeria to adopt a national Child rights policy. With its large population and numerous ethnic nationalities, this nation has an equivalent number of issues that concern children and young people and their rights.

Despite the passage of the Child Rights Act in 2003 and the adoption of the law in most of the states in the federation of Nigeria, central coordination of issues bothering on children has always been complicated by the fact that the same is neither on the exclusive nor concurrent list of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This has left the legislative competence to the states with minimal or with little or no coordination by the federal government. The result of this has been the multiple regimes of Juvenile Justice Administration in the country.

WBF recognized an urgent need to ascertain the current situation of the Childs Rights passage in the country with a view to encouraging state governments to live up to their responsibilities under our laws and international obligations, thereby improving the implementation of child’s rights laws in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This encouraged the WBF to organise the First National Conference on the status of the Nigerian Child with the subtheme: Children’s Rights at Cross Roads.

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National Conference on the Status of Child's Rights in Nigeria 2010 - Poster

National Conference on the Status of Child's Rights in Nigeria 2010 - Poster

Mrs Saraki speaking at the Child Rights Conference 24th to 26th May 2010

H.E. Mrs Saraki speaking at the Child Rights Conference 24th to 26th May 2010

The WBF in collaboration with a number of its partners have carried out detailed reviews of the implementation of the child rights law nationwide, focusing extensively on policy and institutional, promotional and enforcement mechanisms. One of the key results of this has been the development and introduction of shared strategies for ensuring that issues of children rights are not only placed on the agenda of the Governor's forum in Nigeria, but also developing an agenda for joint collaboration and action amongst state and non-state actors.

The national conference produced a communiqué with several recommendations which has been shared with stakeholders at different fora in the country. Key in this communiqué was the establishment of implementation committees comprising of all stakeholders in states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to monitor the implementation and compliance with CRL provisions.

As a fall out of the conference, Two committees were recently inaugurated in Kwara State after a series of meeting spearheaded by UNICEF and The WellBeing Foundation. These committees are: the Child's Rights Implementation Committee-CRIC (which was made up of state/policy-related actors in government which have interface on children issues) and the Child Protection Network-CPN (made up of CSO working on children issues in the state)

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n her remarks H.E. Toyin Saraki encouraged the two bodies to work in harmony to ensure that all actions undertaken by them should be in the best interest of the Kwaran Child and the Nigerian Child in extension as stated in their various mandates. While the scope of interest of the two bodies would principally centre on the following cases:

  • Detention of children
  • Child abuse/ child sexual abuse
  • Violence against girls (including harmful traditional practice such as child marriage and FGC/M)
  • Street- based children (including foreign Almajiris)
  • Domestic child labour / child use for commercial purposes
  • Displacement/ forced migration
  • Abduction and trafficking of children
  • Children in residential care
  • Violation of the right to education
  • Children in conflict with the law

The overall goal would be to prevent and respond to exploitation, abuse/violence and neglect and ensure protection of all children (boys and girls) in Nigeria. CRIC & CPN in Kwara would regularly review and analyse monitoring and reporting of child protection cases coming from LGA CPCs & CRICS which will help to inform programming at the state level. They shall also contribute to the development of national level child protection advocacy and policies.

This, she stated was based on the fact that there is diversity in terms of child protection challenges facing the different areas of Kwara State: some areas are more affected by early marriages, others by child labour, communal violence etc. CPN & CRIC shall strive to facilitate the creation of more target interventions that will meet the real needs of children and families in the state.

MANDATE OF THE KWARA STATE CHILD'S RIGHTS IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE (CRIC) >>

MANDATE OF THE KWARA STATE CHILD PROTECTION NETWORK (CPN) >>

In its efforts towards the protection of child rights, the WellBeing Foundation not only regularly meets with various organisations who are actively engaged in the achievement of the establishment of childrens' rights, it goes one step further to investigate and identify problems as well as proffer solutions. One of such meetings is a meeting held with representatives of the UNICEF, Kaduna field Office on the 23rd May, 2010 In Attendance were Representatives of, the WellBeing Foundation, UNICEF (Kaduna Field Office).

The following points were agreed upon:

  • For UNICEF to work in partnership with state players on child's rights and protection in Kwara State to develop a State-wide Work Plan on Child Protection, Justice and OVCs for implementation in the state.
  • To project Kwara State’s Children Rights and Protection programme as a role model for other northern states to emulate. This projection would include a basket of rights where best practices child's rights as regards Development (i.e. levels of education), Survival (i.e. health) as well as Social Protection.
  • UNICEF to work further with the State organs to make reporting structures as regards Child Rights and Protection work. These would include systems that would generate a conscious awareness/enlightenment at all levels in the state.
  • Strengthen the framework of operations by which a new Child's Rights Implementation Committee (CRIC) with desk officers at all levels would be involved.
  • In partnership with the Foundation and the Kwara State Ministry of Women Affairs mount awareness campaigns to publicize and promote Kwara state as:
    A State fit for a child
    Change begins with a child
    A state with a basket of rights for the Nigerian child
    A symbol of good governance;
    and a National champion in the North central region in Nigeria.
  • UNICEF to provide documentation support to the Foundation to project her achievements in projects that are related to child survival and protection.