El-Rufai: Domestication of Child Rights Act will Protect Rights of Teenage Girls

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John Shiklam in Kaduna

The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has said his administration has been pushing for the domestication of the “Child Rights Act,” as a necessary tool for the protection of girls and their self actualistion.

He also declared that when the bill becomes fully operational at the commencement of next academic calendar in September, parents who refuse to send their children to school will face the law.

Speaking during the commemoration of the 2016 World Population Day yesterday in Kaduna, the governor noted that teenage girls in Nigeria, especially in the north are facing challenges
ranging from forced marriages, early motherhood, sexual abuse, gender discrimination and lack of access to basic social services which are detrimental to their well being.

“Teenage girls need to be given the necessary tools and opportunities to make informed decisions about their lives and future. That is why this administration has been pushing for the domestication of the “Child Rights Act,” as a necessary tool that will give girls the protection that they need and a fair chance for self-realisation,” the governor said.

He said the state the justice system was being strengthened to speedily respond and tackle cases of rapes and other forms of violence and abuse against the girl child in the state adding that the effort has been yielding positive results.

The governor who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Barnabas Bantex, said further that the state government is investing massively in educating of children, adding that the state assembly recently passed an executive bill that gives every child access to nine years of free and compulsory basic education in the state.

“We are delighted today to join the entire global community in commemorating the World Population Day. Today has been set aside by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to draw the attention of governments and developmental agencies on population issues affecting developing societies like ours.

“The theme of this year’s World Population Day, is “Investing in Teenage Girls”, an issue that this government is especially passionate about because firmly believe that every teenage girl should be given the opportunity to grow into a productive adult contributing to the growth and development of her community.

“We cannot deny that young and teenage girls in Nigeria, especially in the north, are facing issues detrimental to their well being. Issues ranging from forced marriages, early motherhood, sexual abuse, gender discrimination and lack of access to basic social services like reproductive healthcare services, education and prompt justice in cases were these girls have been sexually abused.

“When this bill fully comes into operation at the commencement of next academic calendar in September, parents that refuse to send their children to school will face the law. By doing this, we are ensuring that all children, the teenage girl inclusive, will have the right to a proper academic foundation to develop their potentials fully and thereby empowering her to live a fulfilled life.

“The efforts of the Kaduna State Government particularly in the area of education have not gone unnoticed, just a couple of months ago, the state received 21 Million US dollars as grant from the World Bank.

“We are also increasing access to healthcare services to all children through our comprehensive healthcare programmes. Through this intervention, we are equipping primary healthcare facilities in all the 255 wards in the state and stocking them with drugs medical equipment to increase access to healthcare. Also, we are rehabilitating and equipping 23 Secondary Healthcare facilities in 23 local government areas for a better referral system and improved healthcare services for all residents of Kaduna State,” el- Rufai said.