By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
A communications consultant with UNICEF Nigeria, Mr Onche Odeh has appealed to journalists in the country to champion the plight of the Nigerian children as it effects their protection and development in the society.
Odeh, at a Media Ethical Principles in Reporting organized by the Bauchi State Television in collaboration with UNICEF in Bauchi, observed that the ethical reporting training and media dialogue drew participants from Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Taraba,and Jigawa States.
Mr. Onche Odeh noted with dissatiafaction that most public institutions such as hotels and hospitals, don’t have child friendly facilities and this deprive the child of his/her rights to play.
He urged participants to look at child issues with a view to bringing the attention of policy makers on the need to establish child friendly centres in public places in order to give children a sense of belonging in line with their rights as children.
The consultant said,“When you go to places like even the Hotel where this particular training is taking place, you cannot find any part of the building that caters for children’s needs.
“This is what you find in most Nigerian environment. You see such anomaly in Hospitals, Offices, Hotels, and Eateries etc. So the child is stuck in an adult environment which does not help in the development of such child”
Odeh, who also serves as the Head of Northern Operations of Independent Newspapers Limited also said that the non-enforcement of the Child Rights Acts in States where the Law exists and non-passage of the Bill in some states are majorly responsible for neglect of the rights of the Nigerian child.
He described the child as a king that must be looked after, cared for and protected from all sort of physical and psychological abuse pointing out that “as journalists you are the voice of the children that cannot speak for their selves”.