Centre Urges States To Domesticate, Enforce Child Right Act

Executive Director of African Child Social Empowerment Centre (ACSEC), Dr. Bonaventure Enemali (7th left) in a group photograph with some participants at the event.

Executive Director of African Child Social Empowerment Centre (ACSEC), Dr. Bonaventure Enemali (7th left) in a group photograph with some participants at the event.

AS part of efforts to secure the future of the girl-child in Nigeria, the Executive Director of African Child Social Empowerment Centre (ACSEC), a non-governmental organisation, Dr. Bonaventure Enemali, has called on all state governments in the country to domesticate the Child Right Act and enforce it.

Enemali made the call recently while speaking at a workshop organised by the organisation for students of Power and Glory International Schools, Ejigbo, Lagos State, in commemoration of this year’s International Day for the African Child.

The event, which held with the theme “Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa” is celebrated on June 16 every year to commemorate an ugly event that happened in Soweto, South Africa on June 16, 1976, where about 10, 000 black school children marched in a column more than half a mile protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of the young students were shot, the most famous of which was Hector Peterson. More than 100 people were killed in the protest while over 1000 others were injured.

Addressing the theme of this year’s celebration, Enemali noted that the Child Rights Act passed into law in 2003 put the age of marriage at 18 years for girls.

He, however, lamented that in spite of the existence of this Act, compliance at the state level appears lackluster owing to the complicated legal systems in the country, which affords some measures of variance at the state level.

“Thus, the interpretation of the Act has come within the prism of civil, customary and Islamic laws. This plurality was reflected in 2013 during the Constitutional Amendment debate by the Senate where Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima of Zamfara West pushed for a second vote on the matter arguing that under Islamic Law, a woman is of age once she is married and that Nigeria cannot legislate on marriages under Islamic Law and customary law including matrimonial causes,” he explained.

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