UNICEF has praised the signing into law of the Jigawa State Child Protection Bill, noting that it is another achievement for children’s rights in Nigeria.
Jigawa State Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar signed the bill into law on 22 December 2021;18 years after the Federal Government enacted the Child Rights Act 2003,even as it urged state governments to domesticate the Act into law.
A total of 29 states, including Jigawa, have now domesticated the Act, with eight others yet to follow. Meanwhile, the remaining states are in the process of domestication and some have even been passed at respective state Houses of Assembly.
States yet to enact the Act include, Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Yobe, Kano and Zamfara, even as a Child Rights Act was recently passed by the Borno, Kebbi and Yobe Houses of Assembly and are now awaiting the signing into law by their respective governors.
“This is a great achievement for children in Jigawa and we congratulate the Governor for signing into law the Child Protection Bill,” said Rushnan Murtaza, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Nigeria.
Speaking at the occasion, Attorney General of Jigawa, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu said, “The bill has been passed at a critical time when there is exponential rise in sexual abuse of children, child labour and children trafficking, all of which make children unsafe and subject them to trauma that can have lifelong impact.”
UNICEF said children in Jigawa State continue to face numerous challenges including lack of access to formal education, adequate primary healthcare, good nutrition and protection from violence, especially girls even as the situation continues to get worse for children on the streets.
“I also want to encourage the different arms of government in Jigawa and other states with child rights legislation to demonstrate their commitment to full implementation by taking ownership of the issue and ensuring children are safe and protected across the state.”
According to Rushnan Murtaz; “The domestication of the Child Protection Bill in Jigawa State will help safeguard the rights of children, including ensuring parents, caregivers and authorities across the spectrum fulfill their obligation to protect children, and prioritise access to health and education, especially for the girl-child – amongst several other demands that will enable children grow and thrive on an equal footing.”