Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
Children in Gombe State have called on the state and federal government to initiate a child-friendly and child-focused COVID-19 response initiative.
The call was made through the state children parliament who wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and Gombe State Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya to mark the Day of the African Child.
The children, who called for a child-friendly justice system, explained that children in Gombe and the country at large are under attack by the increasing number of sexual abuse, molestation and violence.
The children also appealed for the establishment of a specialised children’s court and dedicated law enforcement unit within the Nigeria Police, Security, and Defense forces in the country ‘to fast-track the full implementation of the Child Rights Act (CRA).’
‘We would like to request the government to design a child-led comprehensive, multi-sectoral national development agenda and plan for children,’ the children said in the open letter which was read by the Speaker of the Gombe State Children Parliament, Hon Umar Faruk, and presented to the state Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Naomi Awak, for presentation to the state governor Inuwa Yahaya.
While appreciating governments at all levels for measures taken so far to stem the spread of COVID-19, including innovations in the area of teaching and learning, the parliament, however, expresses worry that children in rural areas and those living in low-income households were not covered by the new teaching initiative.
Speaking shortly after receiving the letter, Mrs Awak assured that the state government has the children at heart, pointing to the introduction of children-oriented programmes in the state education sector.
She said the state government was working toward domesticating the CRA in the state.
‘The bill is presently on the desk of the governor and would soon see the light of the day because our governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has children at heart and would stand anywhere to protect them. Be rest assured to have things you have requested and even those not in the letter,’ she said.