The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has lamented that 330,389 students are out of school in troubled Borno State due to the Boko Haram crisis.
The United Nations agency however called on the State House of Assembly to expedite the passage of the Child Rights Act in order to protect the rights of the out-of-school conflict-affected children and others in the state.
The UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Phuong Nguyen, said this on Wednesday during a public hearing on the Borno State Child Rights
Domestication Act organized by the Ad-hoc Special Committee on Violence Against Persons, Justice and Judiciary on Domestication of Child Rights Act 2015.
Nguyen while commending the lawmakers and the state government on the public hearing expressed optimism that more states in the northeast would expedite processes to domesticate the Child Rights Acts.
She added that when passed into law, UNICEF would work with stakeholders to make the law active for the protection of children in the state.
She said: “While the domestication of the CRA is an important milestone, much more work lies ahead to implement the Borno State Child Rights Act. UNICEF and all other development partners are committed to ensure that enablers are available for this Act to be enacted into law, thus providing the legal framework binding all duty bearers to its article.”
In his remarks, the Deputy Speaker of the Borno State House of Assembly, Honourable Abdulahi Askira, noted that the Act is religious and culture friendly. He added that the aim of the Bill is to protect children from all forms of abuses.
He said: “Today is a great day for Borno children. Let me assure everyone that the bill has the blessing of stakeholders and it is a bill everyone will be proud of. It is also a guide for ministries, departments and agencies on the protection of children.
The rate of child abuse in Borno is alarming and when passed into law, the Act will address these issues. I invite you to make contributions that will enhance the quality of the bill.’’
Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri