Home News Expert harps on fulfilment of child rights to achieve SDGs in Nigeria

Expert harps on fulfilment of child rights to achieve SDGs in Nigeria

by Haruna Gimba

By Zayamu Hassan

A Lecturer at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Dr Ezinwa Chidiebere, has said that Nigeria cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if the rights of the child are not fulfilled.

He stated this at a two-day media dialogue organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF), in Enugu, on Friday.

The media dialogue was on SDGs and on how it affects the rights of the child.

Dr.  Ezinwa Chidiebere insisted that whatever affects other humans in any part of the world directly affects the child.

“Without recognizing, respecting and fulfilling the rights of the children, we cannot achieve the SDGs. This is because according to the Goals, nobody should be left behind.

“And when you watch it very well, you see that whatever affects any human being on earth, affects the child. The child is a right holder.”

Dr Chidiebere insisted that there are many people that hold the child certain duties and that if these duties are not carried out by the duty bearers, “we cannot fulfil the rights of the children and when these rights are not achieved, we will remain backward in achieving the SDGs.”

He lamented that Nigeria is backward and has negative indices in most aspects of human development, noting that if these are not addressed, the Nigerian child is at the receiving end.

According to him: “You see that Nigeria is number one in a lot of negative areas. Nigeria is number in terms of open defecation with about 46 million people.

“Imagine the danger our children are exposed to when such a number defecate in the open. You go to schools, most of them don’t have toilet facilities and children are expected to use the bush, you can imagine the danger. Some of them could be exposed to rapists, kidnappers and many other dangers. “

The Don however, expressed optimism that there is hope for the Nigerian child if the Child Rights Act signed into law by most states in the country are implemented to the later.

He charged the duty bearers to the rights of the child including the media to wake up to their responsibilities to carry out their duties.

“Even the media is part of the duty bearers. When you look at Section 22 of our constitution, it is our business to hold those in government accountable.

“We should serve as a watchdog to ensure that those in government exercise their powers the way it ought to. All these policies they bring up every day, it is our job to follow it up to ensure that the policies are implemented.”

He reiterated that: “There is hope for the Nigerian child if the media as a duty bearer wakes up to its responsibilities because some aspect of these laws that are integrated in the goals are not justiciable, you can’t take the government to court for not providing social amenities.

“In that situation, it is the media that should take the government to the court of public opinion. If you can’t take them to the conventional court, the media should bring them to the court of public opinion.

“Now that they are canvassing for votes here and there, it should form a basis for their campaigns.

“There should be follow-up on the promises made by politicians so that they would know that one day, they will be held to account for promises they have made in the past.”

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