Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
The Gombe State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare has stated that a lack of coordination and communication between leadership and members of the state committee on the domestication of the Child’s Right Act was behind the delay in the enactment of the act, which was drafted as the Child Protection Law, in the state.
According to Mr Joseph Markus, Director, Child Development Desk, at the Ministry, the resignation of the commissioner who was the chairperson of the committee on the domestication of the act created a gap that is still yet to be bridged.
“The commissioner resigned to run in the state House of Assembly race. Since then, the committee was left without coordination and communication that has caused the act to be jettisoned. Hence, it could not see the light of the day,” Markus told Daily Sun in Gombe.
He added, however, that the committee is regrouping to figure out ways of approaching and reintroducing the matter.
“We are making efforts towards getting the civil society organisations and other implementing partners to come together to rebrand the bill so that the present government will be aware of the context of the bill and eventually sign it into law,” the director said.
The Speaker of the State of House Assembly, Sadiq Abubakar Ibrahim, had stated that, despite some bottlenecks faced over the passage of the act in the state, the legislature was ready to pass into law any bill that is aimed at protecting children, particularly the girl child who faces a lot of challenges in society.
He gave the pledge to pass the act into law and to provide laws that would protect the rights of children and women in the state. The Speaker disclosed this during an advocacy visit by the Network Working Group on Ending Child Marriages in the state, supported by Save the Children International.
Abubakar explained that due to the child-friendly disposition of the Gombe State legislature, the House is currently working on a bill on child adoption, and that they will soon call for a public hearing to get the input of the public on the matter.
According to the Speaker, this was as a result of the state Governor’s willingness to assent to any law that will stipulate stiff penalties for groups or individuals guilty of molesting, abusing or taking advantage of women and children.
Speaking during the advocacy visit, Gombe State Save the Children International Field Office Engagement and Advocacy Coordinator, Mr Akpan Effiong, lamented that only 43 percent of children reportedly complete primary schooling in the state, according to the 2018 report of the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS).
Mr Effiong added that of the 58.1 percent of children who are out of primary schools in the state, 52.8 percent are girls, stressing that girls in the state constitute 56.1 percent of the 53.1 percent of children that are out of secondary schools as a result of child or early marriage.