UNICEF, Cross River to review, validate amendment of 2009 child rights law

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Cross River State Judiciary have commenced review and validation of the 2009 Child Rights Law for effective implementation and delivery of justice.

This was disclosed at a three-day meeting, which began yesterday in Calabar, the state capital, as part of UNICEF’s COVID-19 intervention in the state. Justice Elias Abua, who presided over the meeting and other prominent lawyers in attendance, made commitment to amend identified areas pertaining to children’s rights to liberty.

He said the judiciary had relaxed the procedures to make it easier for professionals and other stakeholders in child welfare to better enhance the performance of their duties.

He explained that the amendment of the Cross River State Child Rights Law 2009 would provide a safer environment much easier to access justice for children, especially those in contact with the law.

“The implementation of the law has shown that there is a need to amend some of its sections for effective justice delivery for Cross River State and Nigeria in general.

“We have, therefore, identified some areas that need to be amended with UNICEF and our consultants and we have met severally to harmonise the positions and to present a holistic document for review to the state House of Assembly,” he said.

He expressed the hope that at the end of the exercise, a current document that would meet the need of the Nigerian child, especially those of Cross River State, would be produced.

“So, we expect that after this meeting, we should have a final document that will stand the test of time with the interpretation in the courts, its application by lawyers, police and all those concerned with child welfare.

“We are taking our position to the level of best international standard. We have looked at the designation of the subject from other jurisdictions and we believe that Cross River State is now a step ahead of other states of the federation in the amendment of its child legislation,” Justice Abua added.

He said the state judiciary was working with UNICEF and that the courts would be better place to apply the law, especially given the fact that the right rules and regulations would be completed before the end of the year for the Chief Judge to endorse for use by the courts.

Speaking earlier, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Enugu State, Victor Atuchukwu, stressed the need to review and validate the Child Rights Law of 2009, as child protection, violence against women and girls were becoming more prevalent.

“That is why we have a member of the House of Assembly with us to support us in ensuring speedy review and passage of the Bill,” he added.

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