Nigeria: El-Rufai Assents Child Protection, Welfare Law

25 April 2018

Kaduna — Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna has assented to the Child Welfare and Protection Law that was sent to him after it was passed into law by the State House of Assembly, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajiya Hafsat Baba has said.

She told DailyTrust in an interview that the governor has directed the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Umma Hikima, to gazette the signed document.

Having signed the document, she said that the governor will launch the law soon at a creche located within the ministry of women affairs.

Governor El-Rufai had in 2016 sent the Child Right Law (2003) to the state assembly as one of the executive bills. After rigorous scrutiny, criticisms, debates and submissions from civil society organizations and other stakeholders, the bill was on February 7, 2018 passed into law by the state assembly.

In a swift reaction, the Executive Director, Aid Foundation, Emmanuel Bonet, commended both the state assembly and the state governor for taking a very bold step towards the welfare and protection of children in the state.

He however assured that the foundation will organize series of activities to sensitize the public about the law. "It is one thing to have the law in place and another thing for people to know it and apply it to their daily living," he said.

Also, the programme manager of YouthHub Africa, Segun Medupin, called on all stakeholders including the media, civil society organizations, religious leaders, community based organizations and traditional leaders among others to educate their people about the law so that they can take advantage of it.

The Kaduna state chairperson of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Bukola Ajayi, also harped on massive sensitization to address the issue of rape and other forms of child molestation as embedded in the child protection and welfare law.

"When children are sensitized, they will learn to run away from danger and people who want to abuse them. Children who wander about are more prone to danger," she said.

She added that there is a sexual assault referral centre called Salama Centre situated at Gwamna Awan hospital where abused children are being rehabilitated.

She also stressed the need for the establishment of family court to handle cases around the contents of the law such as rape of minor, domestic violence against children, withdrawal from school, child marriage and street hawking among others.

According to her, the present court processes to get justice for a child whose welfare or right is violated is cumbersome because it takes place in regular courts where several other cases are being determined.

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