By Habibu Harisu
Sokoto state government has called for public support towards the enactment of the children protection law aimed at making them better adults.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that state’s Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are working with community groups and other stakeholders toward domesticating the law to suit the state.
At the 2-day engagement which ended on Saturday, participants discussed various issues relating to religion and cultural beliefs of some sections of the child rights law.
Three Islamic scholars, Dr Aminu Sufi, Dr Jabir Maihula and Uztaz Umar Bagarawa, presented resolutions reached on the use of DNA on child paternity issues outside statue laws provided by Islamic Shari’ah laws.
The scholars along with other participants also agreed on punishments of a child which should not harm the child as well as deter his progress.
Scholars said it is permissible in Islamic history to look at prevailing societal ills and suggest modern and relevant measures to tackle them.
The Director Shari’a in Sokoto State Ministry of Religious Affairs, Imam Muhammad Maigero, said the effort would ensure suitable legislation to protect the children and encourage its implementation.
Maigero said the state’s by-laws on children education and parental supports designed according to beliefs and cultural practices were incorporated into the draft.
He exlained that in the proposed draft, Shari’ah court judges were accorded windows on issues of DNA in parternity cases and others.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who was represented by Prof. Sambo Junaidu, said resources and efforts have being expended to ensure domesticated law were in line with Islamic and cultural beliefs of Sokoto people.
He explained that the draft would benefit Sokoto people in recognition that it is closer to what Allah has ordained as Islam is religious of past, present and future.
Hajia A’isha Dantsoho, the Permanent Secretary, Sokoto state Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, said the meeting was part of preparation to compile draft for onward transmission to State House of Assembly.
Dantsoho said state contingents have attended different national conferences on the child right act, adding that traditional, religious and other groups were involved to ensure seamless draft suitable to protect children in the state.
She said the state considered 18 year and below as a child age bracket, stressing that all parts of the draft were in conformity with religious and cultural practices of the people.
According to her, 66 district heads, 50 religious’ scholars were involved in the exercise at the state level.
She added that committees were establised in 23 local government areas and contacts were established with the office of the Attorney General, State Assembly and media organisations.
The facilitator, Dr Umar Alkali, said children are individual human beings totally dependent on adults, therefore adults must be responsible for how they are treated.
Alkali said healthy development of a child was crucial to the future and well being of any nation, noting that society cannot treat them anyhow.
He said the views of children are rarely heard, but adults should continue to make efforts to change their lives to a better one.