Bauchi State is said to be the only state without a child’s rights law.
Mr Suleiman made this known at an orientation workshop organised by Plan International Nigeria for members of the House of Assembly in Abuja on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bauchi State is the only state in Nigeria that has yet to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act passed by the National Assembly and assented to by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003.
Mr Suleiman, who promised an end to the delay in passing the bill, said the House would immediately look into the bill to ensure its passage at the convergence of the House.
“We are here today for a special assignment that is aimed at passing a decision to better the lives of our children.
“I want to tell us that we are committed to these issues and the delay in not passing the bill has come to an end.
“I want to assure us that immediately we go back home, we are going to pass the bill into law. The first reading has been done, we will ensure we go through the second and third readings, and thereafter, pass the bill into law,” he said.
The Speaker assured Plan International Nigeria and other development partners of the House’s readiness and commitment to projects that would see to the advancement of the lives of the people of the state.
Earlier, the Country Director of Plan International Nigeria, Charles Usie, said the orientation was necessary to bring the new members in speed to the passage of the child rights law.
Mr Usie said Plan International Nigeria through its Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (ASPIRE) project was providing advocacy and technical support to the state’s legislators to prepare the ground for the ratification of the child’s rights law.
He said the Child’s Rights Bill “seeks to protect the rights of children in Bauchi State.”
He added, “Majority of the members of the house are new, about 90 per cent of them are new and it is important that we give them an orientation.
“In the last dispensation, the bill has already gone through the first reading. So new members have come in and it is right that we give them an orientation to bring them up to speed.”
Mr Usie, that in May 2022, the organisation had engaged the Ministry of Women Affairs in Bauchi State on the status of the Child’s Protection Bill for the state, and declared interest to support the process.
He said the Ministry informed his organisation that it had already developed the first draft of the document, but would require the group’s support for the validation and finalisation of the document to facilitate submission to the State House of Assembly.
According to him, in the last quarter of 2022, Plan International supported the validation and finalisation of the document, including supporting the process of submission to the state legislators, with a pledge to continue the support until the passage of the bill into law and signed by the state governor.
Meanwhile, a Bauchi State Chief Magistrate, Amina Ahmed, called on the House to look into the grey areas of the bill, especially as it has to do with the ‘Bauchi State Child’s Protection Law’, as to what was obtainable at the national level.
Mr Garba said that the bill, which has 28 parts and 255 sections, would go a long way in addressing the issues affecting children in the state.