Experts commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment have begun a review of the draft national safeguarding policy aimed at protecting children from abuse.
Dr Chris Ngige, minister of Labour and Productivity, disclosed this on Tuesday, at the third meeting of the experts working to finalize the draft policy in Abuja.
Represented by the director of reform in the ministry, Dr John Magbadelo, the minister said that the policy was an instrument to prevent child abuse, as well as guide the implementation of child protection procedures in the country.
“There are rights protecting our children, but this policy specifically protects our children from abuses that are rampant across the country”, Ngige said.
He added that after the finalisation of the document, it would be shared with relevant international organisations partnering the country on the issues, for further actions to be taken immediately.
” Thereafter, it will be corrected, amended, as the need maybe, and then domiciled under the Ministry of Women Affairs, which is responsible for children.
“The ministry of women affairs will back all the NGO’s working on the document and organize a validation workshop, after the documents are finalized,” he said.
Opeyemi Ebulu-Eyuruntari the Executive Director, Saffron Social Development Global Foundation (SAFFRON SDGF), said that children were important to the country’s human capital.
He said this would be optimally developed to a level by providing a safe and conducive environment.
“ Safeguarding children from neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation is an important aspect and should be given priority.
“The implementation is pending upon the relevant government offices and we encourage them to please let it work,” Ebulu-Eyuruntari said.
She said that children were the heritage of God and the future of every community, urging states in country to adopt the policy document when finalized.
“We appreciate the support of government ministries, parastatals and agencies who have been part of the success up to this point and we encourage them to please make more efforts for this to see the light and to put this structure in place to safeguard our children“, she added.
Mr Bulus Atsen, Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Abuja branch, said that the policy should have been implemented a long time ago.
“There hasn’t been any policy that will guide the implementation of all the laws protecting child rights. The policy will go a long way in giving life to laws that regulate child protection,” he said.
He added that the implementation of the policy would have to be reviewed over time to meet up with expectations.
Mr Ekanem Udoh, a representative of the Ministry of Women Affairs, stated that the document would go a long way in helping the children as so many of them were scared to return to school.
”The Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders are making efforts to ensure that children go back to school and are kept safe and secured.
“The policy is coming at the right time, so all hands must be on deck to see that the policy scaled to implementation.
” The document, in the long run, will be a support system for other policies with the help of the recent sexual offender charge register,” he said. (NAN)
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