Public hearing: Adamawa assembly assures speedy passage of child protection bill

Adamawa State House of assembly has today pledged to ensure the speedy passage of the child protection bill.

The event was organized by Adamawa State House of assembly in partnership with Child Protection Network, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, EU RoLAC program, Malala Fund and ACE Charity.

Giving the assurance during the public hearing on child protection bill in Yola, the speaker Adamawa State House of assembly, Rt. Hon Aminu Iya Abbas, said, the move becomes imperative in view of the fact that Adamawa is one of the six states yet to sign the bill into law.

He said it is imperative to hold the public hearing so as to smoothen some rough edges and to carry all stakeholders along so that at the end of the day the law will not go contrary to religious and cultural beliefs of the people.

“We came here today to hear from you on what is needed to be done so that we don’t pass a law that is contrary to our tradition, contrary to our religion and contrary to our norms in Adamawa State.

“We had some hitches in the past that is why we need to sit down to know where the problems are and how to address them,” he said.

He urged participants to look at the bill with open mind and to put the interests of the children and state at heart during deliberations so as to chart the right course of action in the state.

Abbas assures the stakeholders that the assembly will pass the law according to the inputs made during the public hearing as all segments of the society have been carried along in the process which makes it all encompassing.

“We in the assembly will pass whatever this forum decides and it is left to the executive to assent to it,” he said.

Also speaking, chairman of Adamawa State House of assembly ad-hoc committee on child protection bill and majority leader of the state assembly, Hammantukur Yettisuri assures of the state assembly’s resolve to pass the bill in record time.

He noted that in view of the fact that Adamawa State is one of the states lagging behind, the assembly deemed it necessary to give the bill the necessary attention and expedited action it deserves.

Yettisuri said the reason why the bill was not passed by the assembly is because of some sections that need input from stakeholders so that it will not be at variance with the wishes and aspirations of the people.

“I want to make it clear to you that the bill is already passed by the national assembly and it is domesticated by some states across Nigeria as rightly observed by the honourable speaker. We are trying to also domesticate the bill but after due consideration taking into consideration our background in Adamawa State from religious and tribal perspective, the bill is having problem with some of the existing cultures. So we deemed it fit to organize public hearing so that we get input from the general public in order to ease the process of passing this bill into law,” he said.

In his presentation, the member representing Verre constituency, Abdullahi Yapak who sponsored the bill said, any bill which passed first and second reading and subjected to committee level is as good as passed. He expressed optimism that the assembly will pass it in the next two weeks.

He said after deliberations with all stakeholders especially religious and traditional leadership, the contentious issues around the bill were all resolved adding that with the development, the bill will be passed by the assembly soon.

Also speaking, the commissioner of justice and attorney general of the state Afraimu Jingi said the ministry has been part and parcel of the bill from the scratch assuring that it has carried the interests of all sections of the populace along.

Jingi who was represented by Abdurrahman Iliyasu said, the ministry of justice is fully in support of the bill.

In her presentation, the state coordinator, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC), Barr. Hapsat Abdullahi who also represent the district head of Jimeta, Alh. Inuwa Baba Paris noted that the bill has 245 beautiful sections adding that the state does not have the comfort to throw away such beautiful provisions because of one contentious section.

“About 13 years ago I was before the committee on women and children during the public hearing of the child rights act which was led by Hon Sadiq Dasin and it happened in Jimeta precisely at UBE now.

“When we went there, the composition of people there was not as strong and beautiful as we have today. I remembered vividly most of the people that attended the public hearing were one sided but today we have all the representatives of stakeholders here present in this hall.

“On this premise we can have very fruitful discussion on the public hearing which will serve as the bedrock for the smooth passage of the bill by the house of assembly.

“On behalf of EU RoLAC programe and district head of Jimeta and Wakiliyar Dokar Jimeta office we have seen the bill in fact in one way or the other, we participated right from the draft of the bill, review of the bill, validation of the bill, presentation of the bill, attendance of the first hearing of the bill attendance of the second hearing of the bill and today we are here at the public hearing so I can speak for the bill, on the bill and through the bill.

“We have seen it from page one to the last page. We reviewed it at different fora and I was part of the advocacy group that payed special visit to the chairman of CAN who is here we had an extensive discussion on the bill with him and I can remember vividly both the chairmen of CAN and Muslim council were of the view that assuming we have 245 beautiful sections in that bill and we have only one section that is contentious, do we throw the baby with the bathwater? Do we throw it out?

“They said it will be good to adopt these 245 beautiful sections that are there to promote and protect the right of our children, then deliberate on a single section which we found contentious and come to terms so that it will also be part of the bill.

“It doesn’t matter that we passed some parts of the bill and leave some parts of the bill. Any bill after being passed into law is subject to amendment in one way or the other it is a continuous process for it is a man made law,” she said.

Various segments of the society including traditional, religious institutions, donor agencies, CSOs, women and student bodies all submitted their positions and expressed support for the passage of the bill.

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