NIGERIA – Following the passage of a bill called Child Welfare and Protection into law by Kaduna State House of Assembly, the State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has signed the law weeks after it was forwarded to him.
The governor had immediately forwarded the signed document to the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Umma Hikima for immediate gazette.
The Federal Child Right Law (2003), domesticated in Kaduna to protect the welfare and safety of children in the state was already on ground before the coming of Nasir El-Rufai as 22nd governor of the state, but he dusted it up and sent to the state assembly as one of the executive bills in 2016.
After rigorous scrutiny, criticisms and debates, the bill was eventually passed into law by the state assembly under the leadership of Aminu Shagali on Wednesday, February 7th this year and has since awaiting the signature of the executive governor.
Confirming this development via a telephone call on Wednesday, Commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Mohammad Baba said, the governor signed the law after due fine tuning to step up some of the contents by the state assembly.
She said, the governor will be launching the law at a creche inside her ministry at a date to be announced later.
“The Governor has already signed the law. He has also instructed the Attorney General to gazette it immediately.”
Reacting, Executive Director, Aid Foundation, Immanuel Bonet appreciated both the state assembly and the state governor for taken the bold step towards welfare and protection of children in the state.
“We are going to organize series of activities around the law because it is one thing to have it in place but another thing for people to know it and apply it in their daily living”, he added.
Also reacting, Chairperson, Federation of Women Lawyers in Kaduna State, Barrister Bukola Ajao noted, if the law has been passed and signed, there is also the need to put some structures in place to make it work.
“For example, there is a need for the establishment of family court to handle cases around the contents of the law which including raping of minor, domestic violence against children, withdrawal from school, child marriage, street hawking among others.
“This is because, the present court processes to get justice for any child whose welfare or right is violated is cumbersome as it all take place in regular courts where several other cases are being determined.
She then harped on the need to embark on massive awareness sensitisation campaign to capture children and women who are the most vulnerable especially those at grassroots.
“Our girls must be taught to know when to talk no matter the threat because their abusers always threaten to kill them if they tell anybody about their nefarious act with them. A visit to the places where there are no schools, where those bad-gangs lay in wait for the girls to molest them and even rape them.
“Mothers too should be in the picture of what happens to their children especially, girls daily. We also need to address the problem of loosing homes while law enforcement agents should equally step up their game”.
Programme Manager, YouthHubAfrica Segun Medupin said, it has become necessary to draw the attention of stakeholders – the media, the civil society organisation, community based organisations, religion leaders, traditional leaders and other community prime movers to tell their people about the new law in Kaduna state.
SOLA OJO SENT THIS REPORT