SCI Admonishes Implementation of Child Protection Law in Katsina

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By Francis Sardauna

The non-governmental organisation, Save the Children International (SCI), has admonished the Katsina State Government and other critical stakeholders to put machinery in motion to ensure the speedy implementation of the recent passed Child Protection Law in the state.

The state Community Engagement and Advocacy Coordinator of SCI, Mrs Murjanatu Kabir, who made the admonition during a five-day training of media working group on Better Life for Girls held in Kano, said the implementation of the law would tackle the pervading cases of rape and child marriage bedevilling children in the state.

The state Police Command had earlier said it recorded 287 cases of rape and 22 sodomy cases in 2020, while 236 cases are undergoing investigation and most of the victims are between the age of three and 14.

THISDAY reports that the five-day capacity building training for journalists drawn from Gombe, Katsina and the Federal Capital Territory,(FCT).

In her presentation christened, “Katsina Updates”, Kabir said although the state Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, had assented to the Child Protection Bill into Law, but more need to be done in curtailing the upsurge in violence, sexual abuse and other challenges militating against children’s education in the state.

She said: “In Katsina, the governor has signed the Child Protection Bill into Law after several years of struggle. What is left now is the implementation. So, we are calling on relevant stakeholders, including the media to work towards its implementation in order to end issues of rape, out-of-school children and child marriage.”

On his part, the Community Engagement and Advocacy Coordinator of SCI in Gombe State, Mr. Akpan Effiong, said the Child Right Act (CRA) was first introduced in Nigeria in 2002 but did not pass into law because of opposition from the Supreme Council of Shari’a.

Effiong, while giving an overview of CRA in Nigeria and Gombe State, however, said the act was passed into law in 2003 by former President Olusegun Obansanjo as the Children’s Rights Act 2003, in large part because of the media pressure that national stakeholders and international organizations put on the National Assembly.

He said part XIV of the Law mandates every state to create a registry which shall track the names of the children being supervised as well as the names of the individual nannies who are tasked with taking care of the children, but reverse is the case considering the vulnerability of children in the country.

He lamented that despite the domestication of the law at the national level, 10 states of Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Sokoto, Adamawa, Yobe, Zamfara, Niger, Kano and Kebbi were yet to pass the act into law, hence the need for policymakers in the affected states to ensure its passage.

Meanwhile, the Child Right Act was passed into law in Katsina State on November 26th, 2020 after 17 years of its presentation to the House of Assembly and subsequent agitation for its passage by civil society organizations (CSOs), NGOs and human right activists.

The Act was presented by the executive in 2003 during late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua-led administration in the state as Child Right Act but the then lawmakers after series of deliberations, changed the name to Child Protection Bill.

The delay for the passage of the bill into law was orchestrated by criticism on its content by prominent Islamic scholars, parents and other critical stakeholders, and it was later declared missing by the lawmakers.

THISDAY reliable gathered that after pressure from Save the Children International (SCI), media and civil society organizations, the bill was resubmitted to the sixth Assembly by Governor Aminu Bello Masari in March 3rd, 2020.

Following the passage of the Child Protection Bill by the lawmakers, Governor Masari had in December 24th, 2020 signed the bill into law.