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Violence: FG establishes family courts to ensure justice for children

By Justina Auta

Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, says government has established
family courts in 16 states across the country to ensure child-friendly justice for children, either as victims or as offenders of violence.

Tallen disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, ahead of the 2022 National Children’s Day celebration,
which has “Strengthening Supportive Systems for the Protection of the Nigerian Child; A Wake Up Call” as its theme.

According to her, the establishment of family courts is as a result of the effective and sustained advocacy and
sensitisation for effective implementation of the Child Rights Law (CRL).

She said that “as a ministry, we are sometimes overwhelmed with these issues and it wil seem as if we are not doing enough.

“In the meantime, the ministry, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, has developed policies and carried out series
of programmes to ensure the safety of children.

“The establishment of family courts in 16 states of the federation is a direct result of the effective and sustained advocacy.

“It is also for the sensitisation of effective implementation of the CRL to provide child-friendly justice for children, either
as victims or as offenders.”

Tallen added that to ensure the safety and protection of children, she also reconstituted the Technical Working Group on
Ending Violence Against Children and the Technical Working Group on Case Management in Nigeria.

She said the ministry had also launched the Beta Version and upgraded the National Orphans and Vulnerable Children Management Information
Systems (NOMIS) data base.

She explained that the data base was to provide robust data on the National Orphans and Vulnerable Children, generated
from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The ministry had also launched the Movement for Good to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and mobilised some
persons to pledge to end the practice by 2030, she added.

On the annual May 27 children’s day celebration, aimed at raising awareness on issues affecting children, the minister
said the celebration had been dampened by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and insecurity.

She, however, noted that in spite of efforts by government and other stakeholders, children were still vulnerable and
victims of abduction, ritual killings, rape, child marriage, domestic abuse and others.

“These are all acts that are perpetrated by close family members and caregivers that are supposed to protect these children.

“More worrisome is the recent increase of violence in schools, where children are physically and sexually abused online and off line.

“These acts are allegedly perpetrated by their peers and teachers who are supposed to protect and shield them from violence,” she said.

The minister, therefore, urged stakeholders, particularly the entertainment industry, to use their platforms constructively toward promoting good values.

She revealed that 31 states have so far domesticated the Child Rights Act 2003, adding that advocacy was ongoing to ensure the remaining states do the same.

The Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr Ramatu Tijani-Aliyu, represented by Hajiya Hadiza Kabir, the Secretary, Special Development,
stressed the need to strengthen mechanisms that would protect children from violence.

Ms Erika Goldson, the Deputy Country Representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), encouraged children to choose role models that would help them to grow positively. (NAN)(