The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commended Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno for signing the Child Protection Bill into law.
The bill, which is the domesticated version of the Child Rights Act, was signed into law on Monday by Mr Zulum at a ceremony in Maiduguri.
The commendation is contained in a statement issued by Folashade Adebayo, spokeswoman for the UNICEF Maiduguri Field Office.
The statement quoted Peter Hawkins, the UNICEF representative in Nigeria, saying the development is a victory for the children of Borno, including recognition of a legal framework for their protection against recruitment and use by armed groups, child labour and sexual abuse, among other violations of their rights.
“Governor Zulum has done the right thing, and the children of Borno are the big winners. I commend Gov. Zulum, the Borno House of Assembly and other stakeholders who worked tirelessly to domesticate the Child Rights Act the state,” stated Mr Hawkins. “UNICEF expects that stakeholders will go on to enforce the rights of children as prescribed in the Borno State Child Protection Law.”
The UN official noted that “for too long,” children in Borno suffered the consequences of protracted conflict, died or were maimed from unexploded devices, kidnapped and recruited and used by armed groups.
“Girls have been especially impacted, including by sexual abuse and violence. The Borno Child Protection Law will offer these children hope that things can change and perpetrators held accountable,” added Mr Hawkin said.
He urged other states in North-East yet to domesticate the bill to do so.