Bauchi journalists call for child protection legislation

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By: Mohammed Kawu, Bauchi.
Legislative Houses in the country, especially those in the North East have been challenged to enact laws that will protect the rights of the Nigerian Child.
A communiqué of the meeting commemorating the Day of African Child held at Fariah Suites, Bauchi Thursday, also charged governments at all levels to be more proactive in protecting children from violence and conflicts which lead to the loss of their lives.
With print and electronic journalists as participants drawn media houses in the state and members of the correspondents’ chapel, the meeting organized by UNICEF and Bauchi Radio Corporation has the sole objective of educating the press on the rights of Nigerian Child.
Two papers presented at the meeting titled, ‘The impact of Conflict and Crisis on the Rights of Children’ and ‘How UNICEF Protect the Rights of Children during Conflict and Crises were presented by Muhammad Inuwa Bello of SEMA and UNICEF Communication Officer, Samuel Kaalu.
The meeting with the theme ‘Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all Children’s Rights’ declared opened by the Bauchi radio Corporation (BRC) Managing Director, Jummai Liman Bello, have journalists extensively deliberated on the rights of Nigerian Child.
Journalists specifically deliberated on the unfavorable conditions of children in conflict areas particularly in the North East sub-region of the country being affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, they emphasized that with relevant laws, children will have access to quality life and their rights adequately protected.
The BRC Managing Director had earlier while declaring the meeting opened, observed that costs of schooling, unfriendly environment, poverty, and teachers attitude and capacity, besides security situation have been the major reasons for inadequate access to education by a Nigerian Child.
Hajiya Liman Bello noted that dropout rate among children in the insurgency worst affected areas depicts the level of access to education by the Nigerian child which by implication negates universalization of education in Nigeria severally talked about by the UBE Act.
“The National Policy on Education stipulates that education shall be free and compulsory. This scheme shall include adult and non-formal educational programmes at primary and junior secondary school levels for both adults and out of school youth”, she recalled.
She said that it is the social responsibility of the media to give voice to the voiceless, stressing that media role in national development lie in our capacity and capability to properly inform, sensitize and mobilize people through responsive information dissemination mechanisms.
Jummai described the meeting as upright and timely bearing in mind the journalists powerful tools of the pen and mic which, she said, are veritable tools for bringing about the desired change in the society.
She urged the participants to contribute their quota towards serving the greater interest of Nigerian Child especially those who are forced out of school due to conflict, saying the return of such children back to school system would mean training more prospective leaders.

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