By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
In commemoration of the 2018 Children’s Day, a Child Rights Activist, Aghogho Igjorhiowhunu on Sunday urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria,CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen to constitute a fifteen(15)member Child Justice System Monitoring Committee to tackle the menace of child criminalization and exploitation across the country.
Ighorhiowhunu made the call in a statement signed and made available to AUTHENTIC News Daily.
Ighorhiowhunu argued that,”Sections 1 and 2 of the Child Right Act 2003 automatically mandated the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to consider the interest of children as primary consideration in all of their actions by formulating a policy for the Child Justice System in Nigeria.”
Ighorhiowhunu said the committee should be made to drive the National Judicial Council (NJC) policy on the Child Justice system across the country in enforcing the fundamental Rights of children within and across the country.
Ighorhiowhunu noted that the primary functions of the Committee should include regular monitoring and evaluation of proceedings at designated Family Courts nationwide.
He advised the Chief Justice of Nigeria on how to further protect the Nigerian Child through the nation’s judicial system, conduct background checks on Judges and Magistrates dealing with children cases across the country, evaluating the performance of the trial courts on same and rescue children including the unborn child from the Administration of the Criminal Justice System or any other criminal justice system in Nigeria including the Nigerian Prison system and Remand and Boarstal institutions system across the country.
Ighorhiowhunu said,”Child labor, denial of the Right to free, compulsory and universal basic Education, drug abuse, cultism, prostitution, child trafficking and massive recruitment of children into criminal/terrorist networks across the country are some of the social vices currently eating up the Nigeria Child.”
According to Ighorhiowhunu,”The United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child is a Human Right Treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of the children.
“The UN General Assembly adopted the convention and opened it for ratification on 20 November 1989 and into came to force on 2nd September 1990.
“Currently 196 countries are parties including Nigeria and this Treaty now have legs to stand in Nigeria by the enactment of the Child Right Act 2003 and the domestication of the Act in about twenty three states across the country.
“When countries adopted the conventions, they agreed to ensure the protection, survival and development of all children, without discrimination.
“Countries that ratify the treaty pledge to protect children from economic and sexual exploitation violence and other forms of abuse including the administration of the criminal Justice system and to advance the rights of children to education, health care, a decent standard living and special correction and protection measures.
“The convention also addresses children’s right to a name and nationality, to be heard, to be fairly treated when accused of offenses, when deprived of parental care and other care.”