By Deji Elumoye
The federal government has said that 11 states have so far refused to domesticate the Child Rights Act ,17 years after it was passed into law.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, made this disclosure at a public hearing on two bills: “Older Persons’ Rights and Privileges Bill 2020 and The Child Rights Act, 2003 Amendment Bill 2020,”organised by the Senate committee on Women Affairs.
She stated that the affected states are mainly from the north and specifically mentioned Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi as three of the states yet to domesticate the Act since 2003.
According to her, “I have been working round the clock since assumption of office, reaching out to the governors and members of the Houses of Assembly in the various states to ensure that the Act is domesticated in the states
“But the good news is that we are making some progress. Out of the 36 states we now have 25 states that have domesticated the Act. I’m still not too happy that we still have 11 states that are yet to domesticate the Act.
“However, I’m reaching out. I just returned from an advocacy tour of some of the states and I’m 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 public hearing with stakeholders.”
Also speaking, Chairman of the Senate committee on Women Affairs, Senator Betty Apiafi, said the two bills when passed into law will enhance the quality of life for senior citizens and other related matters.
She said senior citizens deserve better lives and good care adding that there will be provision for social security and integrated health services for senior citizens in the proposed bills.
Apiafi said the Child Rights Act, 2003 (Amendment) Bill, 2020, “seeks to amend the Act to provide for a person convicted of attempted rape to be unsuitable to work with children.
“During the lockdown, cases of rape surged to such an unprecedented level. This menace must stop. It is inhumane, unethical and a dent to womanhood. Perpetrators of this dastardly act must face the consequences of their action.”
On his part, President of Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria, Senator Eze Ajoku, said it was the coming together of the coalition that gave birth to the billion older persons rights.
According to him, the bill was the first attempt to bring out Nigerian older persons in any form of bill that would determine their rights and privileges.
Ajoku added that the bill provided for some discounts for older persons in private hospitals whereas it wasn’t obtainable in federal government hospitals where most of the older persons were attended to.