Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Eze Duruiheoma, has urged the Federal Government to expedite action on the enforcement of the Child Rights Act (CRA) signed into law in 2003.
Duruiheoma made the call at the commemoration of the World Population Day on Monday in Abuja.
This year’s edition had as theme: “Investing in Teenage Girls.’’
He noted that the signing of the Act was a worthy step in protecting Nigerian children, including teenage girls, from deep seated practices that suppress their growth into responsible adults.
The chairman, however, stressed that there was need to vigorously implement the Act and enforce its provisions, which included sanctions against violations.
Duruiheoma said when a teenage girl has the power, means and information to make her own decisions, she would likely realise her full potentials and become a positive force for change in her home, community and nation.
According to him, policies and investment in education and health that would empower teenage girls and create conditions that lead to jobs were particularly important in countries with large emerging youth populations.
“Effective implementation of the CRA is critical to empowering the Nigerian child and should not be allowed to gather dust on the shelf like other similar provisions.
“I appeal to states yet to domesticate the CRA to urgently do so for the welfare of children and the Federal and State Governments to implement the provisions of the Act to ensure justice.
“Policymakers play an important role in ensuring that human rights are universal and thus enjoyed by all including teenage girls who worldwide face obstacles to their rights to education, health and freedom from violence.
“Communities, non-governmental organisations, youth-led groups, activists, faith-based institutions and the girls themselves also have a vital role to play in shaping policies that affect their lives and making sure that these policies are translated into real positive transformation,’’ he said.
The chairman decried the conditions majority of teenage girls live in and challenges they have to surmount on a daily basis, describing them as `pathetic’.