Coordinator, Coalition on better life for girls, Gombe, Hajiya Zatiyatu Abubakar, addressing the press in Gombe
By Akanji Alowolodu, Gombe
Calls and agitations for the domestication of the Child Right Act in Gombe State has continue to mount on the state government almost on a daily basis following persistent molestation of children, particularly rape.
Prominent groups and individuals as well as Save the Children International (SCI) have long been calling for the domestication of the child right act to save children from many crimes. Regrettably, this calls has not seen the light of the day.
However, Akpan Effiong, Interim Project Manager, Towards Ending Child Marriage (TECM) programme in Gombe State, says the political will of realizing the passage of the act by the current administration of Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya in the State within its short stay needs to be commended but adds that it can do better.
Addressing a joint press briefing by CSO’s coalition on better life for girls towards the passage of the child right act, Coordinator, CSO’s on Better Life for Girls, Gombe, Hajiya Zariyatu Abubakar also commended the Government but demanded it should do more.
For over ten years in Gombe State, the push for the passage of the child right act has cut across various stakeholders comprising government, traditional/religious leaders, CSO’s, Media among many others through series of activities that include public hearing, debates, conferences and related activities to no avail.
However, within the last three months, the bill had already passed scrutiny at the State Ministry of Justice and sent to the State House of Assembly through the State Governor, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya as an executive bill.
Within the last three months, the bill had passed through first and second reading and committed to the House Committees on Women Affairs and that of Justice. Sources say a public hearing is being awaited any day soon before possible passage of the bill.
But in their address during the press briefing, the CSO’s coalition on better life for girls made several demands which include, a call on the various committees, women affairs and that of Justice to expedite work on various aspects of the bill.
They also called on the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice to start work on modalities for the full implementation of the act when passed to address the increasing rise in rape cases and violent acts on children in the State.
The coalition called on the Police Command and other security agencies to fast track prosecution of Child related abuse offenders in the State as well as traditional and religious leaders to support the sensitization of their subjects to report all cases of child abuse in their domain.
Just recently, there had been series of stakeholders engagement where calls continue to mount on the State Government to domesticate the child right act to save the future leaders and help them realise their dreams and ambitions as well as protect them from suffering societal stigmatization and low self esteem.
During one of the stakeholders meeting, Hajiya Hauwa Musa, President, National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) in Gombe State said they are ready to mobilize women to support the passage of the law during the public hearing.
According to her, “It will be to our benefit because being close to the children, their safety will be more guaranteed against rape, child trafficking or any other form of abuse or molestation. I am happy and thank God the law has not infringed on our religions and cultures. 21 States have passed these laws, we want Gombe to be included”.
On her part, Mrs. Ruth Bala from the Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), passing the law will bring a sigh of relief and peace of mind to women.
She said, ” I’m fully in support of this law and want to plead that Government should heed to our call. Passing this law will bring peace in our hearts, help our children and bring progress to our State. This law has not been passed but we are pleading to the Government to take our plea and wipe our tears”.