The Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre) commemorating Children’s Day 2020, called for sustained proactive policy environment for adequate social, congnitive and physical development of Nigerian children.
According to the executive director MAMA Centre, Mrs Ola Onyegbula, the Child Right Act came to limelight in 2003 to provide legal backing for sustainable social, cognitive and physical development of every Nigerian child irrespective of gender. “We are seriously concerned that higher proportion of Nigerian children are bedevilled by malnutrition, social insecurity, early child marriage and child labour.
“As malnutrition remains a serious setback to socio-economic development of the country, high incidence of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) has continued to exacerbate children’s susceptibility to deadly infections, slow recovery from illness, retards physical and cognitive development.
“We recall that an estimated 2.5 million Nigerian children under five year suffer from SAM annually, exposing nearly 420,000 children under-5 to early death from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria.
“Meanwhile, adequate nutrition status constitutes component of the rights of a child as enshrines under section 13 (1) of Child Right Act 2003 which provides for every child to enjoy the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health.”
She continued: “We specifically note greater concern section 3 of the Act, which mandates every government in Nigeria to reduce infant and child mortality rate; ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care services to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care; provide for the child the best attainable state of health; ensure the provision of adequate nutrition and safe drinking water; ensure the provision of good hygiene and environmental sanitation; combat disease and malnutrition within the framework of primary health care through the application of appropriate technology.
“In spite of various provisions in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigerian constitution and Child Right Act 2003 frowning at early marriages as a fundamental violation of human rights, we are perturbed at the growing prevalence of child marriage in some parts of the country with resultant early child birth, decreased development and social isolation.
“We condemn in totality deliberate delayed in adoption and transmission (into law) of the Child Right Act in many states since its passage in 2003; thus, exposing a child bride to life threatening illnesses like vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF), anaemia, high blood pressure, premature birth, malnutrition, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and post-partum depression (PPD), and even suicide.”