Paucity of funds, conflict, major obstacles to child’s rights protection -NHRC

By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

Nigeria’s foremost human rights agency, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) says inadequate funding and conflict remain major setbacks to child’s rights protection in the country.

This is coming on the heels of the World Children’s Day (WCD) 2020.

The NHRC blamed the problems on the falling standard of living and general well-being of children due to inadequate budgeting and insecurity in some parts of the country.

The Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr. Tony Ojukwu who stated this on Friday in Abuja, recalled that the WCD was first established in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day and is celebrated on 20 November annually to promote international unity, awareness amongst children worldwide, and to advocate for children’s welfare.

“There has to be a child friendly budgeting and utmost commitment both at the federal and state government level to be able to adequately address the ever increasing spate of child’s rights violations”, Ojukwu stated.

According to the Executive Secretary, the plight of the Nigerian child is numerous and this ranges from poor anti-natal/post-natal care, lack of birth registration, high percentage of out-of-school chidren, few opportunities for child’s health insurance, child labour/abuse, child marriage, traditional harmful practices, including female circumcision amongst several other challenges.

Ojukwu stated that the issue of insecurity in different parts of the country, particularly in the North-East where the Boko Haram insurgency has occasioned various forms of human rights violations, has worsened the condition of many children who constitute the most vulnerable population.

The Chief Human Rights Officer in Nigeria observed that the Commission’s work in the North-East and other parts of the country over the years, had shown that child’s rights protection had increasingly become more challenging in Nigeria.

Noting that this calls for greater commitment by all stakeholders towards changing the narratives.

Consequently, Mr. Ojukwu called for adoption the Child’s Rights Act 2003 in the states that are yet to do so, adding that the adoption and implementation of the legislation would make a difference.

Mr. Ojukwu restated that November 20 remains very significant for every member of the global community, being the same date in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

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