Save the Children International, Community Engagement and Advocacy Coordinator, Akpan Effiong, has explained the stage the draft of the Child Rights Act, is in the Gombe State House of Assembly.
Recall that since 2003 that the Act was signed to law in Nigeria, Gombe is one of the states yet to domesticate the Act. Recently Sokoto joined the list of states to adopt the Act.
Effiong noted that there were a lot of intrigues, alterations and lack of understanding of the CRA, stressing the need for everyone to get enlightened on the dictate of the act.
The SCI official made this disclosure on Tuesday in his address in Gombe, during a media stakeholders roundtable Towards Ending Child Marriage.
According to him, the act would help to give a bite to the myriad of issues affecting the development of children especially the girl child, adding that the current administration has shown a desire to see the Act come to fruition.
He said, “Even though the document started with the immediate past administration of former Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, nothing actually happened until the present government of Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya Yahaya sent it to the House as an executive bill. To God be the glory, with the support of the present leadership and now it is at the second reading, of course, there is a lot of intrigues, politicking but this is the first time the document is going through such processes.
“Now they are in the process of public hearing by the committee. We are actually working with the house to ensure they call for public hearing, all the primary issues about the age of the child, marriage have been expunged from the document am sure that during the public hearing new copies will be shared.”
Commenting on the choice of Gombe for the TECM project, Effiong revealed that what is required is the implementation of a framework towards ending early girl child marriage in the state.
“Policy on ending child marriage was domesticated in Gombe and Katsina. The two states are the only ones so far to have domesticated the policy for stakeholders to work on it.
“Indices actually shows that the number of girls that were given out for marriage were higher in North East and North West. So the choice to pick Gombe and Katsina to work towards reducing those indices,” he added.
Also speaking, Save the Children International TECM Project Manager, Edith Gumut, while presenting on ‘Be Protected’ called on stakeholders to bridge the gap existing between the girl and the boy child.
Gumut called for adequate opportunities for the girl child, stressing that the empowerment of the girl child has a multiplying effect on both family and nation.
The Project Manager bemoaned the 11th position the country is ranked as it relates to early child marriage.
She noted that child marriage is tied to illiteracy, “Poverty of the mind is worst than poverty of money,” Gumut added.