Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
The Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa has inaugurated the State Child Rights Implementation Committee to coordinate, supervise, monitor and provide a guiding plan for the implementation of the child rights law in the State.
The Committee is made up of 27 members drawn from government officials, MDAs, civil society organisations, religious leaders, traditional rulers, education professionals, media and security agencies.
Okowa, who was by the Secretary to the State Government, Chiedu Ebie challenged the Committee to help the State with a solid and systematic framework for the operation of the Child Rights Law in the State.
The SSG reminded the Committee that its role is to essentially seek the promotion of the survival, development, participation and protection of the rights of children in the State, with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care provided to minors.
Ebie, however, assured the Committee of government’s commitment to funding its activities from its own end.
“Our gathering today is momentous because the State accords great importance to the assignment of this Committee.
“The survival, development, participation and protection of children indeed represent a major pillar of the human development programme of the present administration.
“In addition to serving as a tool for promoting and upholding the rights and well-being of children, the implementation of the Child Rights Law is for this administration an instrument of fostering economic development, combating inequality and enhancing peace and security of the State.
“The child being the foundation of adult life is a critical building block for sustainable development and a peaceful society.
“I urge you all to rise up to the challenge and responsibility of this assignment.
“Let me reiterate that the State Government attaches high priority to the assignment of the Committee and assure you too that the government will provide all necessary assistance to facilitate the work of the Committee”, Ebie said.
Earlier in her address, the State Child Rights Implementor and Executive Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties (Child Rights Implementation and Girl Child Development), Bridget Anyafulu had stated that, with the inauguration, work had finally resumed.
She gave a background of the histories leading to the enactment of the Child Rights Act by the Federal Government in 2003 and eventually domesticated by Delta State Government in 2009.
Anyafulu further reeled out the framework and scope of action for the Committee in accordance with the Delta State Child Rights Law, while intimating the Committee that its job as a Committee set up by law is essentially to provide strategies to monitor and implement the Law.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Child Rights Committee and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Kevwe Agas welcomed all members and assured them of the commitment of the Ministry of Women Affairs which is directly in charge of the functions of the Committee, to ensure its success.
She therefore, charged Committee members to get ready to work to excite the Governor who had shown so much commitment to the wellbeing of children in the State.
However, immediately after the inauguration by the State Government, the Committee went into intense Orientation and Training Programmes by experts from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the National Child Rights Implementation.
Mr Anderson Archibong from the National Child Rights Implementation, handled, Overview of the Child Rights Law – Child Abuse and Protection – Case Management, Documentation, Referral System and Report Writing; while the Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Nduka Nwanwanne Esq., handled, The Delta State Child Rights Law: Implementation and Impediments – The Way Forward.
In a nutshell, the Child Rights Act is a law which incorporates all the rights and responsibilities of children between the ages of 0-18. It consolidates all laws which provide for the protection and care of the Nigerian child into one single legislation.
The Child Rights Act, enacted by the Federal Government in 2003 and domesticated by Delta State in 2009, is basically meant to promote the welfare of the Child. The Law is a documentation of the Child Rights Act 2003, which in turn, is in consonance with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 as well as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC).
The focus of the Law mainly is on Child Protection. According to UNICEF, Child Protection refers to preventing and responding to violence, exploitation and abuse against children. These basically, are the functions of the Child Rights Committee, which will be enforced from all sides, including using the police to investigate and prosecute offences against children; while the Family Court will be there to serve justice and apply punishment where necessary.