Out of the 36 states in the country, 11 states had yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act which was passed into law in 2003.
This was made known by the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen during a public hearing in Abuja organised by the Senate Committee on Women Affairs on two bills: “Older Persons’ Rights and Privileges Bill 2020 and The Child Rights Act, 2003 Amendment Bill 2020”.
According to Tallen, since her assumption into office, she has been working round the clock, reaching out to governors and members of the Houses of Assembly in the various states to ensure that the Act is domesticated in the states.
The minister further assured that before the end of 2020, all states would have domesticated the Act.
She described the two bills as life-saving bills particularly the Child Rights Act bearing in mind the events that were unfolding in the country as a result of rape and gender-based violence particularly as it affected minors and innocent children who are vulnerable members of the society.
Also speaking, President of Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria, Sen. Eze Ajoku, said that it was the coming together of the coalition that gave birth to the bill.
He said that the bill was the first attempt to bring out Nigerian older persons in any form of bill that would determine their rights and privileges.
Ajoku said the bill provided for some discounts for older persons in private hospitals whereas it wasn’t obtainable in Federal Government Hospitals where most of the older persons were attended to.
Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Ogun), said that the bill was read for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, and also read for the second time on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Amosun said that the bill when passed, would ensure that any person convicted of attempted rape should be unsuitable to work with children.
“Apart from the existing punitive measures in relation to sexual offences against children, the thrust of this Bill is preventive in nature, and it is in line with the time-tested wisdom that says “prevention is better than cure.”
“This bill further gives protection to the Nigerian child against sexual violence and abuse suffered in the hands of caregivers and others, whom for lack of appropriate legal restrictions, have found themselves in positions that give them an undue advantage and access to the children.”