Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development has embarked on a sensitisation campaign, stressing the need for citizens to respect the Child Rights Act (CRA), urging children to always speak out whenever their rights were violated.
The Minister, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, made the call yesterday in Abuja, during a sensitisation workshop organised by the ministry for students of Government Secondary School (GSS) in Bwari area council.
Represented by the Director of Child Department in the ministry, Jummai Mohammed, Alhassan said the “CRA is a law which incorporates all the rights and responsibilities of children, and consolidates all laws which provide for the protection and care of the Nigerian child into one single legislation.”
According to her, the sensitisation campaign became necessary as many children in the FCT are unaware of their rights, and so do not speak out whenever they are been violated.
“If a child is aware and equipped with the knowledge of their rights, they will understand the importance of speaking out and also become change agents who will pass the message to other children who are not aware of their rights.
“I urge you to always speak out whenever your rights is violated, irrespective of who is involved in the act. You must know that the era of dying in silence is over, but while fighting for your rights you must ensure to do this responsibly,” she said.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), represented by its Director of Research, Saadatu Baba Shettima, said it was important that children were always protected, assuring that the Commission had done “a lot to ensure this.”
Principal of GSS, Bwari, Mrs. Edem Effiong, lauded the advocacy campaign, saying such enlightenment enables children know who they are in the society.
Earlier, the Vulnerable Children and Orphan Rights, an NGO, represented by Mr. Chris Ezoma Idahosa, decried that child marriage had remained a challenge as many under-age girls were still given out in marriage, adding that two out of every five girls were married off before the age of 18.
He called for all hands to be on deck to protect the rights of children, saying “a well-developed nation depends on the kind of childhood the adults have.”