Enugu Assembly holds public hearing on child rights bill

In a message to the event in Enugu, the Speaker of the assembly, Chief Edward Ubosi, said that the legislators would consider individual opinions before passing the bill.

Enugu Assembly holds public hearing on child rights bill

The Enugu State House of Assembly on Monday commenced a public hearing on the Child Rights Bill with a pledge to ensure its passage.

In a message to the event in Enugu, the Speaker of the assembly, Chief Edward Ubosi, said that the legislators would consider individual opinions before passing the bill.

Ubosi, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Chief Donatus Uzogbado, said that the event was crucial as it required all stakeholders to make inputs to the desirability or otherwise of the bill.According to him, the public hearing is a constitutional requirement which has to be met before any bill could be passed into law.

The speaker said that the public hearing was being done in each of the three senatorial zones of the state for three consecutive days beginning with Enugu North.He said that the exercise become necessary in order to give every section of the state the opportunity to contribute to the passage of the bill which affected the children.

In her remarks, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Gender Affairs, Education, Judiciary, Ethics and Privileges of the house, Mrs Nkechi Omeje-Ogbu (PDP Nsukka West), said that the bill was unique.Omeje-Ogbu assured the participants that their contributions would be given adequate consideration towards the passage of the bill.

“The bill, if passed into law, will cater for the welfare of children. The bill contains the legal framework a child needs in his or her life.“If I ask Ministry of Gender why children are hawking along the road, she will tell me because there was no law against it.

“The bill has been passed in 22 states and Enugu State cannot be left behind,” she said.In his contribution, the Leader of the assembly, Mr Ikechukwu Ezugwu, said that the house had done its bit as legislature, adding that the bill had gone through the second reading.Ezugwu said that they were not at the hearing to debate the bill but to collect the input of participants to enable the assembly to do the needful on the bill.

Miss Wilfred Madubuko, Speaker, Children’s Parliament, thanked the sponsor of the bill for the good initiative towards ensuring that the law came into being.She said that the bill, if passed, would protect the right of children in the state.Also speaking, Prof. Peter Ebigbo, a human rights activist, supported the bill, saying that the idea was to have a comprehensive arrangement for children in case of any conflict.

The Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, said that the bill must be taken serious if passed into law.Meanwhile, the President of Happy Home Foundation, an Enugu-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Dr Regina Okwuosa, opposed the passage of the bill.

According to her, the bill will bring a lot of negative challenges in our various families if passed the way it is.Okwuosa said that if the bill must be passed, the committee should eliminate some sections of the bill that were not in the best interest of the children and society.

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