Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have claimed that the lack of inclusion and collective governance mechanisms which have caused grievances among Nigerians for years led to the state of insecurity in the country.
The NGOs made this known on Saturday in Abuja at the Summit for Democracy Roundtable organized by Save the Children International (SCI) in partnership with Accountability Lab.
Speaking at the event, the Strategic Communications Manager for Accountability Lab Nigerian Office, Mr. Suleiman Murkthar said now more than ever, young children and youths should take a stand in matters that concern national interest and how they shape the nation.
He said: “For the past 23 years, Nigeria has enjoyed an uninterrupted democracy as a nation. In that time, we have had six general elections, and by 2023, we are looking forward to another one. Hence the timeliness of round tables like this.”
“I would like to say that it is the lack of Democracy that has led to the rising insecurity in the country. The lack of inclusion and collective governance mechanisms has, by all ramifications, caused grievances that have been unchecked for years and led to the sad state of affairs we have today.”
Mukhtar was of the opinion that the legitimacy of the country’s democracy was highly hinged on the sanctity and credence of electioneering processes.
He added that the stability of Nigeria is hinged squarely on the ability of the younger generation to take over the affairs of the state.
Mukhtar stressed the need to protect the children and their future, saying it was sad that 19 years after, some states are yet to pass the Child Right Act.
Also, SCI Director of Advocacy, Campaign, Media and Communication, Amanuel Mamo said it was an important step to have the political will and interest in making commitments to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of children and implement those commitments and promises.
He commended Borno, Zamfara, Yobe and Katsina State governments for passing the Child Protection Law.
He said, “Let’s take child marriage as an example. How many more years do we have to wait for ending child marriage? There is no better and right time than now. It is time to translate promises, commitments and plans into organized, coordinated, ambitious and achievable sets of actions so that the millions of girls who are to get married in the next few years are rescued to safely go back to school to learn.
“Any further delay in doing so will rob and abort the vision and dreams of Nigerian girls. This is a unique opportunity and responsibility for the lawmakers, judiciary, the executive, media, children, families and communities at large to partner and get it right for one last time.”
On her part, a member of the Yobe State Children’s Parliament and a girl champion for SCI, Khadijah Bappah called the attention of the government toward the domestication and full implementation of the Child Rights Act in the 36 states of the Federation.
She lamented that children, girls and women with disabilities are the most affected and disadvantaged in times of disaster, armed conflict, or humanitarian crisis.
Bappah lamented that since the passing of the Disability Act in Nigeria, so far only 10 states – Kano, Jigawa, Anambra, Kogi, Ondo, Lagos, Ekiti, Plateau, Kwara, and Bauchi have domesticated the Act while calling on other states to ensure that it is domesticated.