The Executive Director Bridge Connect Africa Initiative, a non-governmental organisation, Malam Sani Muhammad, has called on the Kano state government to hasten the passage of the much pronounced Child Protection Bill that guarantees protection of vulnerable children.
Speaking to newsmen in Kano, Muhammmad said the northern part of the country has the highest rate of child marriage in the world and that the 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey in Nigeria shows that the average age of first marriage for most girls is 16 years with half of the girls not completing schools.
According to him, as an organisation, BCAI was passionate about child rights and the children protection bill, adding that children are innocent, trusting and full of hope.
He said, “No person shall have sexual intercourse with a child. This means sexually exploiting children in any way is a criminal offence punishable with life imprisonment under the law of the Kano state government and child sex offenders will no longer get away with their actions once the child protection act is passed.
“Ending child marriage is the right thing to do. Passing the child protection bill is the smart thing to do. The Kano state government should sign the Child Protection Bill (2018) into law to prevent and protect girls from early forced marriage and ensure child protection.
“We have had many cases of child exploitation, abuse and even murder as a result of child early and forced marriage, street begging etc. which happen almost every day, and which survivors cannot access justice because of the lack of strong legal frame work there are many girls whose suffering and death go unnoticed, led to self harm and being suicidal because they feel their communities have given them up.”
“The case of the 5-year old Hanifa Abubakar, who was abducted and killed by her teacher was publicly disclosed. We thank the Kano state government, the Ministry of Justice for Hanifa, following up with her case. Today justice has been done. Hanifa’s killers were handed the death sentence by the Kano state High Court.”