By Bankole Shakirudeen Adeshina
CHILD Rights advocacy group, Terre Des Homme Foundation, has lauded Yaba Local Council Development Area of Lagos State for leading other LCDAs in the push to domesticate the state’s legal and regulatory frameworks for the protection of the fundamental human rights of children.
Child Rights Law is one of the four proposed bills currently pending enactment before the LCDA’s legislative arms. Others are Street Naming Regulation Bill, Bill for the establishment of Yaba LCDA Environmental Defender Corps and other related purposes, and the Bill for the Control of Expressway and use of Pedestrian Bridges within Yaba environs.
The Bill on Child Protection Bills seeks maximum protection againt abuse of any child, irrespective of parental background, migratory status and or ethnic or religious affiliation. The protection covers hard labour, infliction of bodily injuries iregardless of any reasons, sexual, mental, psychological abuses, sleep deprivation, illiteracy among others
A public hearing to further consult stakeholders, entertain more ideas, fine-tune gray areas and harmonise the final content of the bills, haven passed through second reading before the floor of the local council legislative house, was held at the main auditorium of the council on Wednesday.
The Council Legislative Leader, Solomon Gbinigie, who presided over the hearing, together with the Chairman of the LCDA, represented by the Council Manager, Dr. (Mrs.) Kemi Adefowokan, the reception at the hearing, attended by over 110 parents, community leaders and youths, mostly Community Development Association Chairmen, parents and politicians, “was very receptive.
“And this is quite impressive. Hence, the next line of action is to articulate all the additions together, especially the new input on the need for the formation of Implementation Task Force to monitor compliance on the proper upbringing of our children.
“By the implication of this bill, if passed into law, it would hence require the LCDA to make annual budgetary allocation for the exercise of monitoring and protecting the children, for the sake of all of us.
“For instance, in the past, there used to be monitoring team that rove around the LCDA to monitor the wellbeing of the children. When you see some of the children, you will know clearly that they lack parental support and care. And we have a whole lot of irresponsible parents as these spread across the state.
“So, part of the intention of the bill, if passed to law, is to see proactive solution, through sensitization on birth control vis-à-vis the economic capability of each parent,” he explained.
Justifying the essence of the bill and why it should be passed into law, one of the lawmakers in the LCDA, Olujobi Tajudeen Kayode, said “it is imperative to create a conductive environment for our children so that they can grow properly and become great pride to us all as parents, community, country and race.
“There is no doubt, education educating the children is the best way of investing in the future. And education is one of the fundamental human rights of every child. And that is why Yaba LCDA has continued to give priority attention on the education and wellbeing of our children.
“There are standard schools of international reputations existing within our locality –University of Lagos, Yaba College of Technology (currently being considered for transforming into a State University of Technology).
“As parents, teachers and guardians, we must understanding that grooming a child has gone beyond the crude and primitive ways of beating. We need to accord our children with respect as well.
“I am saying this as an experienced teacher who taught for 12 years. And while teaching, I have realized that on the child upbringing, it is also whatever you garbage in on the children is what they garbage out to you.
“ If we take cognizance of these observations, takes care of our children, protect them against abuse and dangers, groom and nurture them into achieving their dreams, we will see how fast they will soar like healthy and vibrant eagles,” he admonished.
The Council Manager, who represented the LCDA boss, Kayode Omiyale, said the public hearing on the Child Right Laws and effective management of the environment among others, was a manifestation to commitment of the council boss to keying into the Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu’s strategic development agenda for the people of the state.
Adefowokan said “the birth of the bill and its smooth passage up to the public hearing, the final stage of the consideration process before enactment into law, was a direct response to the governor’s directive.
According to her “the implementation of this directive is a testimony to the commitment of the chairman of the LCDA to getting things improved.
“Let me tell you, Yaba LCDA takes the lead in the league of clean LGA/LCDAs in the state. We don’t want this feat to be tarnished, hence the legislative approach to preserving it.
“The LCDA is also encouraging parents to consider birth control method in their God-given freedom for procreation. If you know that you don’t have the means to take care of more than two children, don’t give birth to more than two. So that they can be properly nurtured and guided to become better persons in the future,” she added.
On its part, Mr. Olakunle Peters, Communications Officer for Terre Des Hommes, applauded the LCDA for the efforts, describing it as “the first Local Government council in the whole of Nigeria that has taken a bold step in addressing the challenges facing our children. And we are very grateful for that.”
According to Peters, Terre Des Hommes interest primarily revolved around the Child Rights Protection Bill, which seeks to promote the welfare, protection and development of all children, irrespective of their migratory status.
“ And in a build up to the public hearing, , Terre Des Hommes Foundation and its partners, Enda Youth Action and the Association of Working Children and Youth (AWCY), under the scope of the project for the Protection of Migrant Children along along Abidjan-Lagos Corridor, known as CORAL Project, in collaboration with Street Child Care and Welfare Initiatives, supported the drafting of the bye-law alongside members of the legislative arm of the LCDA.
“Through the Child Right Protection Bill, it is believed that Yaba LCDA will be taking a giant step in child protection. Hence, the Child Rights Protection Bill is guided by the principle of non-discriminatory, best interest of the child, the right to survival and development, and the views of the child,” he explained.