By Yakubu Uba
Maiduguri, Jan. 12 2022
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commended Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno for signing the Child Protection Bill into law.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill which is the domesticated version of Child Rights Act was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Babagana Zulum at a ceremony in Maiduguri.
The commendation is contained in a statement issued by Ms Folashade Adebayo, the Communications Officer, UNICEF Maiduguri Field Office.
The statement quoted Mr. Peter Hawkins, the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, as saying the development is a victory for the children of Borno, including recognition of a legal framework for their protection against recruitment and use by armed groups, child labour and sexual abuse, among other violations of their rights.
“Gov. Zulum has done the right thing and the children of Borno are the big winners.
“I commend Gov. Zulum, the Borno House of Assembly and other stakeholders who worked tirelessly to domesticate the Child Rights Act the state.
“UNICEF expects that stakeholders will go on to enforce the rights of children as prescribed in the Borno State Child Protection Law.
“For too long, children in Borno have suffered the consequences of protracted conflict. Children have died or been maimed from unexploded devices, been kidnapped and recruited and used by armed groups.
“Girls have been especially impacted, including by sexual abuse and violence. The Borno Child Protection Law will offer these children hope that things can change, and perpetrators held accountable,” Hawkin said.
He urged other states in North East yet to domesticate the bill to do so, adding that its unacceptable that armed conflict, displacement , poverty and other abuses continue to affect Nigerian children.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a total of 30 states, including Borno, have now domesticated the Act into law, with six remaining.
All the remaining States are in the process of domestication, and some have even been passed at the State Houses of Assembly.
NAN reports that in December 2021 the Borno House of Assembly passed into law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition and Child’s Rights Bills after scaling through the third reading.
The speaker, Mr. Abdulkarim Lawan, after the bills were passed, noted that when assented to by Gov. Zulum, is expected to address all forms of violence including physical, sexual, psychological, domestic, harmful traditional practices and discrimination against persons.
The speaker said: “After due consideration and deliberation of the Child Rights Bill and Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill, the House adopted it for passage.
“So these two bills will be sent to the governor for assent following its passage.”