UK based child rights organisation, Save the Children International (SCI) has commended the Katsina State House of Assembly after passing the Child Right Protection Bill on Wednesday, marking almost 17 years since the Child Rights Act was initially presented to the house in 2003.
Musa Nuhu, Chairman of the House Committee on Child Right Protection Bill called for the nine-man committee to immediately pass the bill into law to bring an end to the cases of rape, child marriage and child labour in the state.
HumAngle also learnt that pressure applied by Save the Children as well as other civil society groups triggered Aminu Masari, Governor of Katsina State to resubmit the bill to the House of Assembly in March 2020.
In a statement issued by the organisation on Thursday, it also urged the Federal Government to take similar steps towards domesticating the Child Rights Act to ensure the protection of the welfare and rights of children.
Save the Children International has remained at the forefront of campaigning for the passage of the Child Rights Act in collaboration with CSOs, community and religious leaders through the “Better Life for Girls” project.
Mercy Gichuchi, Country Director of Save the Children International in Nigeria, urged the all agencies, ministries and bureaus in Katsina State, Northwest Nigeria to demonstrate commitment towards implementing the bill in the state.
“We celebrate the decision made by the Katsina State House of Assembly for passing the Child Protection Bill that ensures the rights of Katsina State children are protected, respected and fulfilled. Save the Children International (SCI) Nigeria appreciates all members of the Katsina State House of Assembly and calls on all remaining State House of Assemblies to follow suit,” Gichuchi.
“The Bill has come to pass at a very critical time when there is an increase in the number of sexual abuse, molestation and violence, including rape, early child and forced marriage, child labour and trafficking, which make children feel unsafe, unprotected and experience different forms of trauma. However, I am confident that the implementation of the Child Protection Bill will be instrumental in ending such violations of the rights of every child in Katsina state.”
Maryam Ahmed, Youth Ambassador of Save the Children International Nigeria, said the passage of the bill in Katsina State is the “Key first step to stopping the war on children”.
“I commend the State House of Assembly for being champions on protecting the rights and welfare of children. I hope the Bill will be properly implemented in the State to help in providing a favourable environment in which children can realize and release their full potentials,” Ahmed added.
The organisation also reiterated its commitment towards the passage and implementation of the bill across the country urging other state governments to follow suit in terms of the passage of the bill to ensure child rights are safeguarded.