By Edith Nwapi
The Federal Government has re-inaugurated the National Child’s Rights Implementation Committee (NCRIC ), in order to boost the observance and popularisation of the provisions of the Child’s Rights Act, Act, 2003.
Mrs Ifeoma Anagbogu, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, who inaugurated the committee in Abuja, noted that Nigeria inaugurated NCRIC in 1994.
“However due to funding constraints, the committee has not met since 2010.
“ It is in realisation of the fore-going that this committee is being inaugurated today.’’
She said that since its establishment, NCRIC, has recorded landmark achievements in the promotion and protection of the rights of children in Nigeria.
“The committee in collaboration with the Ministry and UNICEF spear-headed the domestication of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and AU Charter through the passage of the Child’s Rights Act on July 31, 2003.
“ To further underscore the importance of the committee it has also been recognised as major structure in the implementation of the Child’s Rights Act.’’
According to Anagbogu, it is the responsibility of the committee to review and prepare periodic reports on the state of implementation of the rights of the child, among others.
She said that the Ministry collaborated with the Rule of Law and Anti- Corruption (RoLAC) Programme of the British Council, to to reconstitute the membership as well as inaugurate the committee.
Priscilla Ankut, Gender and Social Inclusion Manager of RoLAC, who spoke, lamented that only 24 states had domesticated the Child’s Rights Act.
Ankut who said that the committee has a lot to do, also stressed the need to strengthen the family courts.
She said that children should have a say and contribute on issues affecting them.
Dr Macjohn Nwaobiala, who responded on behalf of other members, said since the committee has been re- constituted, it should not be allowed to go moribund again.
Nwaobiala, a retired federal permanent secretary, recommended that the committee should establish a well staffed, equipped and functional secretariat, strengthen cooperation and collaboration with relevant government ministries and agencies.
He also stressed the need for the establishment of NCRIC data base, re-establishment of link with UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, insert a budget line for NCRIC activities, among others.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Woman Affairs and Social Development is chairman of the committee, while members were drawn from relevant ministries, agencies and partners.