Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
National Council of Child Rights Advocate Nigeria (NACCRAN) has blamed the increased rate of child abuse in the country on the refusal of most states to integrate Child Rights Act.
The Federal Capital Territory Coordinator of the group, Mrs. Magret Udoh, made this known at a press conference in Abuja, where she said it was disheartening that the Child Rights Act that was passed in 2003 had only been ratified and adopted, in 24 states out of 36.
She said: “There are basic things that must happen in states that have ratified this law. When they have ratified it, you need to domesticate the law, you need to bring the law to the system, you need to integrate it into the system, but we don’t have more than two states, out of the 24 states that have done that.
Udoh stressed that, “if one of the major law talks about free education at the basic level, not only free, free and compulsory; but if you walk around the streets of the Federal Capital Territory, you will see children hawking on the streets, selling pure water, wiping screen shield, children are doing all sort of things that they should not do during school hours, and we are talking about free and compulsory education.
“There is child rights law ratified and adopted in FCT, but as far as there is no free and compulsory education, the children are still hawking on the streets, because there is no system in place for these kind of children, there is no social service for education in this country,” Udoh said.
She cited culture as the major reason for the refusal of most states in the North to ratify or adopt the law. “Culture is what is really holding it, because most states in the East, South and West have adopted and ratified the law, except Enugu State and those in the North. It is really culture and we think it has to do with the early marriage.”
She said until governments start to make example out of rapists by way of conviction, rape cases in the country would continue to increase; stressing, “If we do not take care of our present situation of violence against children the future is not certain.”