Mr James Ibor, Executive Secretary, Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, an NGO, has called for the declaration of a state of emergency on Child Rights Protection.
Ibor, a lawyer and human rights activist, made the call in an interview with our correspondent, in Calabar on Monday,
He said the call was imperative as it was obvious that the systems put in place to protect the child’s rights had failed to yield the desired results.
He expressed sadness that the current challenges the country was experiencing had made Nigeria one of the worst places to give birth and bring up a child.
According to him, while a huge number of children are out of school, millions are also out on the streets begging, and many others are doing all sorts of menial jobs to survive.
“Nigeria is the worst place to grow a child; it is either they die before being born, die immediately after birth, or their parents are unable to take care of them when they are born.
“The fact is that there is no social system in place to ensure the child grows up well, no matter the circumstances surrounding their conception and birth.
“Many children are out of school because of school fees; and the ones in school are either not secured or the school environment is not conducive for them to learn,” Ibor said.
According to the lawyer, the laws, especially those concerning child protection, meant to ensure safe growth and development of the child, were not being effectively implemented.
“The fact that the government and those saddled with the responsibility of enacting and implementing these laws are the ones breaking the same rules, makes it difficult for things to work well in this country.
“Various ministries set up to implement the Child Rights Protection Law, do not have the capacity to implement the laws.
“Some of the ministries are handicapped for lack of funds, some lack of qualified social workers, while in some cases, government makes huge budgetary provisions, but fail to release the budgeted funds.
“In summary, government is not living up to the expectations of protecting the children which they have sworn to protect.”