Kogi Government on Friday said it had inaugurated task forces in its 21 local government areas for enforcement and implementation of the Child Rights Act.
Hajia Bilkisu Momoh, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, disclosed this when children of Osara and Osaragada communities paid her an advocacy visit in Lokoja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the visit was facilitated by the European Union’s (EU) Project on Promoting Rights of Children in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation.
Momoh said the task forces would function alongside the Child Rights Implementation Committees (CRIC) and Child Protection Network (CPN) to enhance prompt reporting of violation and rights abuses in the areas.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Director of Administration in the ministry, Mr Stephen Ojo, said that the ministry would prosecute abusers and violators of children’s rights.
“Presently, we have a case of a stepfather who impregnated his 12-year-old step daughter.
“We ensured his arrest and prosecution and we are taking care of the girl, making sure that she gets all the necessary medical attention,” she said.
Also speaking, the Director, Women Affairs in the ministry, Mrs Salome Okibe, who was represented by a deputy director in the department, Mrs Elizabeth Adegbola, stressed the need for children to know their rights.
Okibe said that the ministry’s resolve to ensure that no child’s right was trampled upon was being hampered by dearth of human resources.
She, therefore, called for synergy with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for proper implementation of the Act.
Two children, Wahab Audu and Miracle Sheigaba, representing Osara and Osaragada communities, respectively, had earlier presented a seven-point Charter of Demand to the commissioner.
Among the demands were enforcement of their rights to “free, qualitative, conducive, standard and compulsory universal basic education, right to health and health services and prohibition of child marriage’’.
Contributing, Mrs Gift Owonipa, who led the EU and ActionAid Nigeria team that accompanied the children on the visit, commended the ministry for its efforts at ensuring protection of children’s rights.
Owonipa, who is acting Project Manager of ActionAid in the state, called on the children, parents, teachers and all relevant stakeholders to be actively involved in the child rights cause.
She promised to continue to collaborate with the ministry to ensure protection of the most vulnerable.

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