Falana to 11 northern governors: Implement Child’s Rights Law now

A human rights activist and lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, has called on governors in 11 states in the northern part of Nigeria to start implementing the Child Rights Laws, including as pertaining to education, in their respective states.

According to him, that is the only way children of the poor in the region could acquire right knowledge and skills and escape from the cycle of poverty.

Falana made the call as a lead speaker at a two-day stakeholders’ dialogue on corruption in Nigeria, held in Kano, last week.

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The programme, organised by the ActionAid Nigeria, with the theme ‘Enhancing Citizens’ Effective Participation in the Fight Against Corruption’, had representatives from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, National Orientation Agency, the media and others as discussants.

Falana particularly named Kano, Borno, Jigawa, Bauchi, Yobe, Sokoto, Adamawa, Zamfara, Gombe, Katsina and Kebbi as the states in reference.

According to him, under the right to education law as enacted by the Federal Government in 2003, every child, irrespective of background, is expected to go, compulsorily, to school at least from primary to secondary school, all at the expense of government.

Falana said: “But 11 states here in the North, including Kano, out of the 36 states in the federation have refused to adopt the policy let alone implement it. They said it was against their religion.

“But we need to ask them which religion they are talking about. We all know that Islamic religion recognises the right of every child to go to school and acquire knowledge.

“That is what is in practice even in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and others where Islamic religion is the norm. They all operate free and compulsory education for their children. So, why is our own different?

“And the irony of the scenario is that these our political leaders send their own children to school, and not ordinary schools but expensive ones, at home and abroad while the children of the poor are left alone.

“So, let us all tell them that enough is enough. They should adopt and implement fully, and without further delay, free and compulsory education policy in their respective states and make funds available to send every child, irrespective of background, to school. It is their right and not a privilege.”