ByÂ AbdulwahabÂ Abdulah
Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Inumidun Akande, has tasked the state Judges on the need to protectÂ NigerianÂ children from the abuse of their rights and to secure their future.
Justice Akande,Â who was represented by Justice Elfreda Williams-Dawodu at a two-day seminar/workshop on the Lagos State Childâ€™sÂ Rights Law in Ikoyi, said the time was now for the stakeholders to chart a â€œbetter tomorrow and brighter future for the Nigerian children andÂ protectÂ their rights through the court.â€
No fewer than 14 Judges were part of the first set to benefit from the training on how to effectively put to use the Lagos State Childâ€™s Right Law and Family Court, 2007.
The programme was organised by the state judiciary in collaboration with the Justice Research Institute.
Apart from the Judges who were at the programme, the former Attorney-General of Lagos State, Professor YemiÂ Osibajo, SAN, who is a director with the Justice Research Institute also attended the programme.
The Chief Judge who was represented by Justice Elfreda Williams-Dawodu said there was an urgent need to promote and protect the children and stem the tide of abuses they suffered.
Akande described children as â€œthe vulnerable groupâ€ which constituted the largest number in the society and urged the judiciary to do more to protect them from abuses, especially from trafficking and street trading.
â€œWe do not need to look far to be able to discharge the burden of proof of our action in promoting and protecting the rights of the child. Indeed, I dare say that if we pay our premium now by promoting and protecting the rights of the child, we are insuring for ourselves, a better and greater society,â€ she said.
In his remarks, Prof. Osibajo said the training â€œcomes at an important time when there is serious need on an effort to entrench the provisions of the Child Rights Act, 2003 in Nigeria. The Lagos State government has decided to adopt the universally acknowledged standard of juvenile justice which form part of organising this training.â€
He said all the judges in the state would be trained by the institute â€œso that they can be posted to the childrenâ€™s court any time.â€
The Lagos State passed the Child Rights Law in 2007 while the state Judiciary was the first jurisdiction to establish Family Courts in the country and has currently designated six of its courts as the family court.