The Senate has mandated its Committee on Women Affairs to liaise with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to domesticate the Child Rights Act in 13 states.
The senate said that there were 13 states that had not yet domesticated the child rights act.
It also urged government at all levels to urgently address social ills such as child labour, street hawking and cultism bedevilling the social development of Nigerian children.
This was contained in a motion raised by Chairperson of the committee on women affairs, Sen. Binta Masi on “2017 Children’s Day celebration” during Thursday’s plenary in Abuja.
She said that Nigerian child was playing significant roles in the nation’s development and there was the need to secure its future through the domestication and implementation of the act in every state.
Masi said that a proper system of education and good healthcare were indispensable in making the Nigerian child relevant in the global scheme of things.
The chairperson decried the infant mortality rate in the country which had risen to one million deaths per annum as a result of poor nutrition and inadequate medical facilities.
“Under the National Health Act 2014, all pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled and children are to be exempted from paying for services in public hospitals.
“This is not obtainable in practice as children and pregnant women still pay for medical services in public hospitals contrary to the provisions of the Act.”
While felicitating with the Federal Government and families of the recently released 82 Chibok School girls, Masi urged the government to rehabilitate the girls through provision of adequate welfare and education.
She equally called on the government to intensify efforts in rescuing the remaining girls.
Contributing, Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan said the future of any nation could be seen in the way it treated its children.
While saying that children deserved every support to grow and actualise their dreams when they were of age, he called for a better foundation to be laid for them.
“Section 17 (3F) of the constitution provides for the protection of children from any unnecessary hardship.
“But what we have today is many children on the streets because we have not been able to prepare adequately for such children.
“We have between 14 million to 17 million of school age children who are roaming the streets,” he said.
Lawan urged the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to collaborate with states to access the fund meant for education.
Similarly, Deputy Senate President, Mr Ike Ewkeremadu said, “our children are our major and greatest resource”.
“As a society, we owe them a lot. We must ensure that our children are not exploited.
“`We must ensure that we give them adequate health facilities so that they will be able to perform their responsibilities.”
Lending his voice to the motion, Sen. Barnabas Gemade (APC-Benue) said, “we are living in a country which does not recognise the fact that children need a lot of care more than what parents are able to provide.
“All the ills that exist in our society today are freely being imbibed by these children because of the careless nature in which we are running our society.”
He called on stakeholders to look for ways to curtail these ills to ensure that we developed a crop of children that could truly become leaders of tomorrow.
On his part, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa) said that the moral decadence in the society was as a result of failure on the part of parents.
“The problem starts from the family which is the smallest unit of the society,” he said.
He said all hands should be on deck to correct the ills in order to have a better Nigeria.
Also, Sen. Dino Mealye (APC-Kogi) attributed the collapse of the family to drug abuse, early marriages that resulted to Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF) and low level of girl-child education.
“This low level of girl-child education has been responsible for some states not domesticating the Child Rights Act,’’he said.
He decried the level of child abuse and child labour, attributing this to lack of moral philosophy and civic education.
“These days call for sober reflection than excitement. We should go back to our fundamental family values.
“We should begin to train and retrain our children through the instrumentality and tenets of the good books.”
“We must build value in our children. We must build capacity in our children. This can only be impacted by parents and not from class rooms.”
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said there was no gain saying that children were the future and the hope of the country.
He said that all efforts to build a Nigeria that was vibrant would depend on how we protect the welfare of children.
“As we continue our innovative push for safer, greater and healthier environment to harness the potential of our children, the senate will continue to play its role.”
“We hope we can play our role to ensure that we can improve and see that this year; the remaining 13 states left to domesticate the Act do so,” Saraki said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that May 27 of every year is set aside to celebrate children globally.