The Anambra State Government yesterday, said it was now ready to implement and give effect to existing laws protective of the rights of the child, given the increasing cases of various forms of child abuse in the state.
Family court both at the Magistrate and High Court levels came into being in the state on August 18, 2008 with 28 family courts established for the purpose of determining matters relating to children.
The establishment of these courts at the time became imperative in view of the susceptible nature of children to a galaxy of societal problems including breakdown of marriages in which children have to bear the brunt or attendant consequences of divorce of their parents, its psychological, educational and economic thereto.
But the state's Chief Judge, Justice Peter Umeadi, while speaking at a workshop on "Actualising the Child's Rights Law" organised in Awka, by the state Judiciary in conjunction with the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, said the state was now set to start implementing its Child Rights Law.
Family courts already established he said would now begin handling child abuses and other related matters as the laws would now be enforced to the letter, adding that a committee has been set up in the state's 28 magisterial divisions to assist in implementing family related cases.
Cases of child related abuses like child trafficking and labour, child marriage, defilement, excessive corporal punishment and other observed violation of children's rights which have persisted from time immemorial and therefore deeply entrenched in Igbo cultural, social and economic systems would be tried in these courts.
Speaking also, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Henrietta Agbata, while noting that the state was the second to domesticate the Child Rights Act, after Ogun State, said the mechanisms put in place had shown how committed the various arms of government were in issues affecting the total protection and well being of the child.
She, however, noted that in spite of these mechanisms in place, the abuses and exploitation of the child appeared to be on the increase.