The World Bank has made the Child Right Law a precondition for states to access the World Bank’s Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (Agile) grant, Kogi State commissioner for education, science and technology, Wemi Jones has said.
Eleven states are participating in the initiative.
Jones disclosed this to the child rights law advocacy team during a visit to his ministry by the state child rights law cluster, in Lokoja, the state capital.
The commissioner also said that the state was among the eleven states that will access part of the $500 million earmarked by the World Bank to fund the Agile project, which aims at improving secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted areas in the participating states.
Kogi, like every other participating state, must fulfil the precondition for accessing the fund, which will assist the state achieve its policy objectives in girl child education priority, initiated for the African developing countries by the World Bank.
The commissioner also said that the state was lucky, having domesticated the child rights law since 2019, with the nine functional family courts in operation out of the 21 family courts the state was in need of, based on the provisions of the Child Right Law, 2023.
He said: “Our governor is committed to any project that adds value to life in Kogi State, and the child rights law scale project is of immense value to us as a government committed to serving the people to live a better life, where children are given rightful priority in the scheme of things.”
The funding, planning as well as the execution of the laudable educational developments and projects were as a result of the efficiency in our educational system. And, we believe the the child rights law is an impetus to educational development in the state.”
As of November 2023, two states are yet to domesticate the Child’s Right Act, 2003, says
According to the world bank, the development objective of the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment Project is to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted areas in participating states in Nigeria.
The Agile project has 30 years maturity period and 5 years grace, and the project has three components, which according to the world bank, include creating Safe and Accessible Learning Spaces (creating new safe learning spaces in secondary schools, improving existing infrastructure in secondary schools); fostering an enabling environment for girls, towards empowering girls with critical life skills and knowledge for navigating adulthood and digital literacy skills; project management and system strengthening for sustainability and technical assistance, among others.
The team leader of the child rights law advocacy cluster, Mr. Titus Alonge, appealed to Kogi state government to approve full implementation of the child rights law to bring about full realization of the key five policy demands of the CRL from this year’s budget.
Why the emphasis?
The need to adopt the Child’s Right Act (2003) extends the human rights bestowed to citizens in Nigeria’s 1999 constitution to children. This law was passed at the federal level, and can only be effective locally if state assemblies codify it.
Children as defined by Child’s Right Act (2003) is any person under the age of 18.
The Child’s Right Act makes it mandatory that the best interest of a child to take precedent in all matters concerning them, . stating that the parent or legal guardian, caregiver is obligated to fulfill the duty to give the child basic protection.
It specifies that the Article IV of Nigeria’s 1999 constitution and any other federal law which details fundamental rights should be seen as being part of the act. This article details the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of children. It goes on to state specific rights for children including the right to: survival, a name, family life, private life, dignity, recreation, cultural activities, health services, and education.
The Child’s Right discusses the ways in which a child shall be protected. These include protection from child marriage as well as the punishments for the act to the adult parties involved. Other protections include: not being harmed (including being marked with tattoos) or from sexual violence, being shielded from exploitative labor, or being enlisted in any military operation.
Similarly, it lists situations where a child assessment order may be sought, as well as the reasons and duration which emergency protection orders shall be given to a child.
The obligations of a state government to protect the child from harm is clearly outlined in the Act.
In addition, it lists the reasons when a child assessment order may be sought as well as the reasons and duration which emergency protection orders shall be given to a child.
Download the Child’s Right Act, 2003
Download the Federal High Court Child’s Right Act (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2015