UNICEF has commended the recent signing into law of the Jigawa State Child Protection Bill in Nigeria.
The Child Rights body in a statement urged state governments to domesticate the act into state law.
They commended Jigawa State Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar for signing the bill into law on 22 December 2021, 18 years after the Federal Government of Nigeria enacted the Child Rights Act 2003.
“A total of 29 states, including Jigawa, have now domesticated the Act into law, with eight remaining. All the remaining States are in the process of domestication and some have even been passed at the State Houses of Assembly. “
UNICEF Deputy Representative in Nigeria, Rushnan Murtaza, added that the domestication of the Child Protection Bill in Jigawa State will help safeguard the rights of children.
“It will ensure that parents, caregivers and authorities across the spectrum fulfil their obligation to protect children, and prioritize 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”.
The Deputy Representative also congratulated the Governor of Jigawa for signing into law the Child Protection Bill, while noting that it is a great achievement in the state.
UNICEF said children in Jigawa State continues to face numerous challenges including lack of access to formal education, adequate primary healthcare, good nutrition and protection from violence, especially girls and the situation becomes worse for children in street situation.
Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Yobe, Kano and Zamfara States are yet to domesticate the Act in their respective states, though a child rights act was recently passed by the Borno, Kebbi and Yobe State Houses of Assembly, and are now awaiting signing into law by the respective State Governors.
The Attorney General of Jigawa State, Dr Musa Adamu Aliyu said the bill has been passed at a critical time when there is a rise in sexual abuse of children, child labour and child trafficking, all of which makes children unsafe and subject them to trauma that can have lifelong impact.