By Palang Kasmi
The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) have been advised by the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen to fast track the domestication of the Child Rights Act (CRA) in 10 states of the region.
The charge was given to the NGF Wednesday, during a virtual meeting chaired by its Chairman, Gov. Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau state.
The virtual meeting was held to discuss social and health issues affecting the North including Covid-19 and rehabilitation of Almajiris.
While addressing the meeting, Tallen tasked the Northern Governors to domesticate the laws stressing that “Educating the girl child is the best way to reduce the burden of the region be it poverty, illiteracy or disease”.
The Minister also urged the NGF to also hasten domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act which only few States have domesticated, in order to tackle the rising cases of rape and other crimes against women.
Tallen raised an alarm over the proliferation of orphanages in the region explaining that they are increasingly being used for child trafficking.
On Covid-19, the Northern Governors said they were happy with the level of awareness and testing with the increase in testing centres in the region.
The World Bank Country Director Shubham Chaudhuri and Aisha Garba Mohammed, Education Specialist who were also invited to brief the Northern Governors on their interventions in the region in the areas of education, health and empowerment said that some of the bank’s empowerment programmes in the region are focused on women and girls.
The World Bank experts stressed that the Governors are key drivers for implementation of their programmes .
They explained that five states from the North will be beneficiaries of the 500 million dollars grant recently announced by the Bank for six States, and it is targeted towards improving education by constructing and renovating over 5000 schools close to the communities, support for poor families, and social engagement to change orientations that hinder access to schooling particularly for the girl Child.
The Governors also reviewed the success of the ban on Almajiri phenomenon in the North and concluded that it was a successful feat since the children have been evacuated to their States of origin to reunite with their families and guardians.
Also the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Marian Uwais, explained in another briefing that the Federal Government was willing to partner with the NGF in the process of ensuring Almajiri children are given a smooth transition to a formal system of education.