A Nigerian Minister has said 11 out of the 36 states in the country are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act passed 17-years ago in 2003.
Pauline Tallen, the Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs, stated this at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Women Affairs on two proposed legislation.
Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa, Zamfara, Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe, Borno, and Adamawa are the 11 states yet to domesticate the Act despite efforts by the Minister to ensure that the Child Rights Act is domesticated in these states.
Ms. Tallen said the bills will help in reducing rape cases and gender-based violence.
“Out of the 36 states we now have 25 states that have domesticated the Act. I am still not too happy that we still have 11 states that are yet to domesticate the act.
“However, I am reaching out, I just returned from an advocacy tour of some of the states and I am still moving on until I cover the 11 states.
“I have just returned from Adamawa, Bauchi, and Gombe. The three states I have visited since after the COVID-19 and they have reassured me because I addressed the houses of assembly of the three states and had a public hearing with stakeholders.
“The old persons are not left out of it and it is heartbreaking that this vulnerable class has been so badly abused by evil men in our society. COVID-19 has opened our eyes to a lot of things especially on the vulnerable children, the girl-children.
“I have said it that the girl-child is instrumental to the development of Nigeria. When you train a child, a girl-child, you are not only training a child, you are training a generation,” the Minister said.
A UNICEF report had indicted Nigeria as having the highest number of child marriages in Africa, with over 20 million girls and women married in childhood.
Sponsor of the bills, Ibikunle Amosun, a senator representing Ogun central, said the legislation seeks to ensure that women and children are protected from all forms of abuse.
“This bill further gives protection to the Nigerian child against sexual violence and abuse suffered in the hands of caregivers and others, whom for lack of appropriate legal restrictions, have found themselves in positions that give them an undue advantage and access to the children,” he said.
By Abel Ejikeme