Ministry reviews children’s parliament constitution to boost decision making
By Franca Ofili
The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development says the review of constitution and standing order of the Nigeria Children’s Parliament (NCP) will boost decision making that concerns children.
Mrs Jummai Mohammed, the Director, Child Development in the ministry, said this in Nasarawa on Wednesday during the review meeting of the Constitution and Standing Order of the NCP.
Mohammed said that Nigeria ratified the UN Convention on the Right Act (UNCRC) in 1991 and passed the Child Rights Act in July 2003.
According to her, Nigerian government signified her agreement to be legally bound by the terms of the convention by ratifying the UNCRC.
She added that “Article 12 of the convention states that children have the right to participate in decision making process that may be relevant to their lives.
“That children will influence decisions taken in their best interest.”
The director explained that the article also indicated that children needed to be involved in the process of realising their rights.
She noted that government established the children’s parliament to give them the opportunity to express themselves and establish a foundation for a more democratic process for their future.
Mohammed said the ministry ensured that the parliament cut across the six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with gender balance.
She added that in the course of the election of the fourth National Children’s Parliament in 2008, it was discovered that the guidelines were ambiguous.
She noted that the ministry, with support from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other stakeholders held series of meetings which led to the development of the Constitution and Standing Order of the NCP in 2009.
Mr Amanuel Mamo, the Director of Advocacy and Campaign, Save the Children, a Non-Governmental Organisation, said that the group was able to establish the parliament in Borno and Gombe states after 10 years of security crisis, saying that “children could now speak for themselves on issues affecting them.”
He, therefore, urged participants at the review meeting to come up with workable outcomes that could be used for children.
Mamo promised to partner relevant stakeholders to ensure that children’s rights were upheld.(NAN)