As ActionAid sets to build capacity, others
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Following the worrisome trend of child abuse across the country, the Abaji Area Council, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, has inaugurated a 21-man Committee on Child Rights, at the Council headquarters.
The inauguration was done by the Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon Abdulrahman Ajiya, with all 10 ward councilors present including dignitaries from Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, ActionAid Nigeria, National Human Rights Commission, National Population Commission, National Child Rights Implementation Committee, Abaji Children’s representative, parents, and others.
Hon Ajiya who was full of appreciation commended the effort of ActionAid Nigeria for assisting in actualizing the inauguration of the committee and described the day as historic in the Area Council.
The Child Rights Implementation Committee, CRIC, is inaugurated with support from MATAI, a European Union, EU, the sponsored project currently implemented by ActionAid Nigeria by Adewale Adeduntan in partnering with National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, represented by Hajiya Sa’adatu Shettima and other partners like Vine Heritage Home led by Olusola Stephen.
The members of Abaji Area Council Child Rights Implementation Committee are also expected to set up Community Advocates Against Infanticide, CAAI, in selected communities and other harmful practices against children.
It will be recalled that the National Assembly passed the Child Rights Act into Law in 2003, which its implementation remains challenging.
He said: “This event which is the inauguration of the Child’s Right Act Committee is unprecedented in the history of Abaji Area Council. We are indeed grateful for you starting this committee in Abaji Area Council.
“In our African adage which says is what you sow is what you reap. If from the onset the right of our children is abused we are very sure when they grow up we should not expect anything rather than the same thing they inherited from us.
“A lot of negative things being experienced in the world today is from the basis and if we get the basics right I am sure we will not have problems.
“And the child from the bottom-up approach will help us in checkmating most of these abuses. You cannot be at the national level and identify what is really happening but with this formation of this committee, I am very sure to track these abuses from the basis.
“The members of the Child’s Right Implementation Committee that are chosen today is a sacrifice, and I am assuring you it is not just here in the world but also in the hereafter, and as such, I pray that we all live to our expectations in seeing that we do our best in protecting the right of our children.
“On this note, I want to use the power conferred on me to inaugurate the committee and I hereby declare you inaugurated.”
The 22-man Committee has Kamal Adamu Shuaibu as chairman with other members from the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, the Muslim community, Market Women, National Council for Women Societies, and others.
The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, who was represented by Ubong Tommy, said, “I take this time to express the gratitude of the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria.
“Abaji being in the lead and Abaji Area Council will be number one. We know the challenge of CRIED which is funding, we appeal to the Chairman of Abaji Area Council to support the committee. With support from the EU ActionAid has put a training programme for the committee.”
The representative of the National Human Rights Commission, Hajiya Sa’adatu Shettima expressed optimism and said that the Human Rights Commission is committed to the protection of the right of the children.
The committee should work with other organizations including the National Child’s Rights Implementation Committee to protect the children in Abaji Area Council, and also appreciated ActionAid Nigeria’s effort towards the protection of children and their rights.
Meanwhile, the Abaji CRIC immediately inaugurated the Community Advocates Against Infanticide, CAAI, for the communities.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, represented by an Acting Director in the Ministry, Adebayo Adeyemo, promised to support the Committee, who congratulated members of the committee and ActionAid Nigeria for doing a great job.
“At the federal level, we are doing everything we can to ensure that the Child’s Rights Act is implemented as enshrined in the United Nations Convention for the Right of the Child in African Development Charter.
“We have set up a secretariat and it will serve as office accommodation for National Child’s Rights Implementation Committee; whatever is to be done at the federal level, every official matter is taken there.
“The Minister is very passionate about issues affecting children and other vulnerable groups. I want to assure you that the Ministry t is giving its full weight to the committee.”
Also in his goodwill message Archibong Anderson, representing Executive Secretary, National Child Rights Implementation Committee, NACRIC, urged members of the inaugurated committee to see it as a service to the nation, children in particular, and they will live long as children will pray for them.
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“The National Child’s Right Act Implementation Committee has been in place even before the Child’s Right Act came into being. When we were using the United Nation’s Convention on Right of the Child, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs had the opportunity to put together a team that would be looking at the implementation of that Convention of Right of a Child, and that team joined other experts in drafting the Child’s Right Act 2003.
“And the team followed up to the passage of the Child’s Right Act and thank God it was eventually passed, and who made it? It was still the child we used. The Children Parliament got to the National Assembly and cried to former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Demeji Bankole, and that was the first time that Bankole cried after listening to a child that was forcefully trafficked out of this country. We thank the Federal Government for giving us the Child’s Rights Act 2003.
“It is a privilege to serve your nation to help these children and let me tell you one important thing you are going to gain, you will surely live long. I want you to be proactive and not just actions, responding to issues concerning children and ActionAid Nigeria will give you training. Let the children feel your impact in Abaji Area Council.