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#DayOfTheGirl: This state has not passed the Child Rights Act; they “buy & sell kids like groundnuts”

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#DayOfTheGirl: This state has not passed the Child Rights Act; they “buy & sell kids like groundnuts”

#DayOfTheGirl: October 11 is marked yearly as the International Day of the Girl to “highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.”

Nigeria still bears the scars of one of the most notorious international cases of terror on the girl child when hundreds of young school girls were kidnapped by terrorists in Chibok, Borno State, in 2014. Over three years down the line, several of the girls remain in captivity.

But there are several other less celebrated cases: On Tuesday, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Hafsat Baba, told journalists that people buy and sell children like groundnuts in the state.

“We are battling with children being sold like items. People buy and sell children like groundnuts. I have personally rescued 37 children. A Ghanaian recently brought three children… I need to say it loud that we cannot allow our children to be sold like groundnuts,” she said.

Still no Child Rights Act (CRA): One issue on which Kaduna and 11 other states in Northern Nigeria continue to lag the rest of the country is the passage and domestication of the Child Rights Act, which provides safeguards and rights for children.

Even though the Kaduna government and the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development have been pushing hard for the state assembly to pass the law ever since Nasir El-Rufai was elected in 2015, the lawmakers are dragging foot.

The Act provides for certain offences to be considered as a violation of children’s rights. They include: maltreatment, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, betrothal and child marriage, tattoos, marks, female genital mutilation, trafficking, wrong exposures to criminal activities, prostitution and narcotic drugs, using children to hawk, beg, sell, sexual abuse, among others.

The commissioner said that Governor Nasir El-Rufai “is committed and ready to ensure that once the state Assembly passes the Child Rights Act, he will sign it immediately.”

Violence Against Children campaign: On Wednesday, the ministry will launch a campaign to “End Violence Against Children.”  Hajia Baba said the campaign is important because the state government is deeply worried about the the frequent cases of violence against children.

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