THE Women Arise for Change Initiative, a civil society organisation, on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to urgently tackle what it called “emerging issue of child hunger and child harvesting” in the country.
Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of the organisation made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
“Child harvesting is on the increase. Many disguised maternity homes, orphanages, clinics and small scale factories harbour pregnant girls and help them deliver babies in return for monetary compensation.
“Also, many Nigerian children, especially in the North, suffer the highest level of chronic under-nutrition and malnutrition.
“This silent crisis is caused by lack of access to safe water and sanitation, rising food insecurity, the disruption of basic services due to conflict, and poor knowledge of healthy feeding practices for infants and young children.
“Our government needs to be proactive about these issues to save our children, ” she said.
Okei-Odumakin also urged the government to intensify effort to rescue Leah Sharibu and all children in terrorists’ captivity.
“It is absolutely necessary to remind ourselves about the lamentable condition in which Leah Sharibu has continued to find herself in Boko Haram’s captivity.
“Same goes for those Chibok girls that are yet to be rescued since their abduction in 2014. We call on the government, as duty bearers, to urgently address this, she said.
Okei-Odumakin also urged state governments to put in place and ensure full implementation of the Child Rights Act to protect the rights of children in the country.
“The Nigerian child is still being denied the full enjoyment of his rights in a wide range of circumstances.
“Presently, only 24 of the 36 States of Nigeria have effectively enacted the Child Rights Act, thereby making it 12 States, all in northern Nigeria, completely bereft of the requisite legislative framework to implement the child rights laws.
“In many of the states where the Act has been enacted, lack of effective implementation of the laws account for the inherent gap, thereby negatively affecting the well-being of children,” she said.