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As Nigeria joins the rest of the African continent to celebrate the 2020 Day of the African Child, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged government at all levels to focus more attention on the rights and well-being of children, in order to eliminate all barriers standing on their way to attaining an all-round development.

The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu (SAN) who stated this in Abuja to commemorate the 2022 Day of the African Child (DAC) urged both the state and federal governments to make adequate budgetary allocations for child's rights issues, saying that "this will help to implement laws and policies that will make the necessary impact in all the stages of child development, and thus guarantee the future of our children towards becoming responsible citizens".

The Chief Custodian of Human Rights in Nigeria noted that the 2022 theme of DAC, "Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy & Practice Since 2013", is apt as it reminds the government and other stakeholders of the need to ensure a safe and secure environment for children, which of course should be devoid of child labour, child marriage, street hawking, child trafficking, female genital mutilation, denial of education, poor parental/guardian care, etc.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria lamented that despite the passage of the Child Rights Act 2003 and its adoption in 25 states, as well as several legislations legally protecting the child, Nigeria like many other African countries had continued to grapple with an inherently high incidence of child rights abuse.

He stated that with the intersecting poverty and culture of abuse, and relegation of child rights issues, a lot of Nigerian children have been forced to live in abject poverty with little or no care as some of them wallow in the streets without access to healthcare and education.

The Executive Secretary, therefore, called for a speedy signing of the National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Bill 2018 to ensure that those who violate the rights of this vulnerable group are punished in accordance with the law.

He urged the relevant stakeholders to drive the process of implementation of the Child's Rights Act and its adoption in states that have not done so.

The Day of the African Child is celebrated on June 16th annually in honour of many children that were killed in Soweto, South Africa by the security operatives following their protest against poor quality education in 1976.