For clarity, children’s rights are the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to minors.
The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as “any human being below the age of 18.”
This definition is made in the realisation that children are rightly perceived as future leaders who ought to be protected against all forms of abuse and societal ills. In Nigeria, there is a Child Rights Act (CRA) of 2003, which is a domestication of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Article 3 of the CRC states that “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”
Twelve states out of the 36 in Nigeria are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Law (CRL) despite its benefit for children in the country.
To implement the action and put the rights of the child in prosper perspective, the Kwara State House of Assembly, has urged the state government to, as a matter of urgency, set machinery in place for the implementation of the State Child Rights Law to ensure adequate protection of child’s rights in the state.
This is part of the resolutions of the House following a motion on notice on the “Need to Implement the Kwara State Child’s Rights Law” raised by House Leader and member representing Ilorin Central Constituency, Abubakar Olawoyin Mogaji.
The Speaker, Engr. Yakubu Danladi Salihu, while reading the resolutions of the House, explained that the need for the state government to commence its implementation becomes expedient in view of the urgent need to curb child abuse and other vices against the future leaders of the state.
The legislature also directed all relevant government agencies to be alive to their statutory responsibilities of protecting the rights of the child.
The House, according to the speaker, equally directed the state Ministry of Information and Communication to embark on sensitisation on the provisions of the law, so as not to run foul of it.
Mogaji had, while raising the motion, expressed concern over the exposure of children to various forms of abuse like street hawking, lack of education, child marriage, rape, discrimination and general lack of parental care, among others.
These, he said, were the causes of juvenile delinquency, pointing out that the implementation of the law and the Social Investment Bill when passed by the House, would improve the fortunes of children in state.
Other members who spoke on the motion identified, among other things, poverty, lack of family planning and ignorance of the existing law and advocated extensive enlightenment on child abuse to curb the trend.
They said the existing law was comprehensive in tackling child abuse and other vices against children in the state.