Every Child Has A Right To Rest And Play

Daily Law Tips (Tip 798) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)

In Nigeria, a child is a person that is less than 18 years. Like any other person, children have fundamental human rights and some other special rights; Child’s Right. Nigeria has a federal law on the rights of children in Nigeria (the Child’s Right Act) and similar laws (the Child’s Right Laws) in many states in Nigeria. As Nigeria celebrates its annual Children’s Day (27 May 2021), this work focuses on one of the many rights of children; the right to rest and play. It also exposes the list of states in Nigeria that have failed and refused to enact a Child’s Right Law to protect children, and thereby allow children to be publicly abused, forced to marry and treated as mere properties.

The Realities of the Nigerian Children:
“Violence against children occurs in homes, families, schools, communities and other places where children should feel safe. Abuse in all its forms are a daily reality for many Nigerian children and only a fraction ever receive help. Six out of every 10 children experience some form of violence – one in four girls and 10 per cent of boys have been victims of sexual violence. Of the children who reported violence, fewer than five out of a 100 received any form of support.” UNICEF

“A pilot survey of street children revealed that more than 50 per cent of street children covered in the three pilot states were reportedly living with Malams (Islamic teachers) while 17.6 per cent lived under the bridge. Those found living or staying in their parental homes were between 6 to 10 per cent. These children (23.4 per cent) were found to have stayed on the street for up to 6 months; whilst less than 10 per cent of them had stayed between 3 to 4 years on the street. The major problems faced by street children were trafficking, automobile accidents, kidnapping and ailments such as fever, skin diseases and hunger. About 80 per cent of street children were faced with the problem of arrest/harassment with sexual harassment being a major issue in Lagos State.” UNCRC.

“Nigeria has the largest number of child brides in Africa with more than 23 million girls and women who were married as children, most of them from poor and rural communities.” UNICEF

“The 2008 Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey estimated that 48% of girls in northern Nigeria were married off by the age of 15, while 78% were married before their 18th birthday. The survey put the median age of marriage in the north-western region at 15.2 years of age.” Soyinka.

Child’s Right Act (2003) is the law that guarantees the rights of all children in Nigeria. So far 24 out of 36 states of Nigeria have adopted the CRA as a state law. There are therefore twelve (12) states in Nigeria that are yet to adopt the CRA in their laws of the 36 states of the federation.” National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

According to Child Rights Act Tracker of the Partners West Africa Nigeria, the following states in Nigeria are yet to enact a Child’s Right Law for their state; Since 2003, only 25 states in Nigeria out of 36 states, have adopted the Child’s Right Act while 11 states have rejected the Child’s Right Act. The 11 states that have refused the adoption of the Child’s Right Act are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara states.

“The Gombe State Co-ordinator, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mohammed Ayuba, made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe State; “He said the dignity of every girl child was at stake if this menace was not properly addressed with the right laws in place, saying “convicting culprits is difficult because of the absence of the Act. According to him, child rape is becoming alarming and a major concern for NHRC in Gombe State. “The government should for the sake of the girl child domesticate the child rights act. This act will go a long way to address the threats against the girl child that are being almost endangered.” Premium Times

Right to Rest and Play:

Every child in Nigeria has a right to rest and leisure and to engage in play, sport and recreational activities appropriate to his age. It is a statutory right enshrined in the Child’s Right Act and its equivalents in some states across Nigeria. Hence, no child should be denied adequate rest and play. However, a child should be monitored to ensure that he engages in play, sport and recreational activities, that are appropriate for his age.

Every government, person, institution, service, agency, organization and body responsible for the care and welfare of a child, has a duty to ensure adequate opportunities are provided for children to enjoy their rights to rest and play. Parents and schools should ensure that children are not over labored with academic exercises, house chores and religious engagements, to the extent that their right to rest and play are violated. Rest and Play are important in rising a balanced child.

There is no better way to celebrate children’s day than to enact state laws that protect the rights of children and reassure children of their future. Children do not need to engage in match pass to salute executive governors of states, in marking a Children’s day. Rather children need legislative protection in all states in Nigeria. Children need to be safe in “… homes, families, schools, communities and other places …”.

Also, children should be allowed to play and rest, they should be excused from the often-excessive academic training, chores and talent hunts in Nigeria. Holidays are for children to relax, play and rest, they are not for lessons and summer-schools. The future of Nigeria will be perpetually dim, unless the children of Nigeria are safe and sound. Happy children’s day to our children.

My authorities, are:
1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 33 to 45, 318 and 319 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
2. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 12, 277 and 278 of the Child’s Right Act and the Child Rights Laws in states in Nigeria.
3. UNICEF, “Child Protection” (UNICEF) accessed 27 May 2021
4. “Committee on Rights of Child examines report of Nigeria” (ReliefWeb, 26 May 2010) accessed 27 May 2021.
5. Adejuwon Soyinka,“There are still huge gaps in Nigeria’s efforts to protect children” (theconverstion, 24 November 2019) accessed 26 May 2021
6. National Human Rights Commission, “Child Rights” (NHRC) accessed 26 May 2021
7. “States That Have Passed the Child’s Right Law In Nigeria” (PartnersGlobal) accessed 26 May 2021.
8. Segun Awofadeji, “Non – domestication of The Child Rights Act By 11 Northern States Worries UNICEF” (ThisDay Newspaper, 24 November 2020) accessed 26 May 2021.
9. Femi Bolaji, “Urges Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe to domesticate Child Rights Act” (Vanguard Newspaper, 16 June 2020) accessed 26 May 2021.
10. NAN, “Child rape ‘becoming alarming’ in Gombe – Human Rights Commission” (Premium Times, 19 October 2019) accessed 26 May 2021.
11. Deji Elumoye, “Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, 8 Other States Reject Child Rights Act, Says Minister” (ThisDay Newspaper, 15 October 2020) accessed 21 May 2021.
12. Onyekachi Umah, “Child Marriage/Abuse Is A Crime (Rape): An Exposé On Laws Prohibiting Child Marriage” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 22 June 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
13. Onyekachi Umah, “Forced Marriage Is An Offence In Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 21 October 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
14. Onyekachi Umah, “An Alternative to Courts for Human Rights Cases” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 May 2021) accessed 23 May 2021.
15. Onyekachi Umah, “Stripping Suspects Naked is Torture and it’s a Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 16 February 2021) <https:// 1 National Human Rights Commission, ‘State Offices” (NHRC) accessed 27 October 2020
16. Onyekachi Umah, “Details of State Offices of National Human Rights Commission” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 October 2020) accessed 14 May 2021
17. Onyekachi Umah, “Does The President/Governors Have Powers To Lockdown Any Part Of Nigeria Or Restrict Human Rights?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 1 October 2020) accessed 14 May 2021
18. Onyekachi Umah, “Human Rights That Can Never Be Restricted Even In War, Pandemic or State of Emergency (Daily Law Tips [Tip 539]) accessed 14 May 2021
19. Onyekachi Umah, “States & Areas Offices of Public Complaints Commission” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 20 November 2020) accessed 14 May 2021
20. Onyekachi Umah, “Complaints That The Public Complaints Commission Can Handle” (com, 30 October 2020) accessed 14 May 2021
21. Stephen Ubimago, ‘Legal Aid Council: Facing Challenge Of Relevance Amid Poor Funding’ (Independent, 27 October 2020) accessed 14 May 2021
22. Onyekachi Umah, “Abandonment Of Wife/Husband, Children Or Dependants Is A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 December 2019) accessed 20 April 2021
23. Onyekachi Umah, “How Lagos State Is Legislatively Ahead Of Other States” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 30 September 2020 accessed 20 April  2021
24. Onyekachi Umah, “The First Virtual Court Hearing Was In Borno State And Not In Lagos State.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 1 June 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
25. Onyekachi Umah, “Emotional, Verbal And Psychological Abuse Is Now Criminal Offences” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 September 2019) accessed 28 April 2021
26. Onyekachi Umah, “Forcing Wife to Stop Work is Now A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 21 April 2021) accessed 26 April 2021
27. Onyekachi Umah, “It Is Now An Offence To Force Wife/Husband To Stop Working” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 28 May 2019) accessed 20 April 2021
28. Onyekachi Umah, “Seizing or Destroying the Property of a Spouse is a Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 2 March 2021) accessed 20 April 2021
29. Onyekachi Umah, “Hiding/Concealing Domestic Violence Is A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 December 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
30. Onyekachi Umah, “Domestic Violence Is A Crime Not A Family Dispute” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 10 December 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
31. Onyekachi Umah, “Why Lagos State Needs A VAPP/SGBV Law” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 26 January 2021) accessed 20 April 2021
32. Onyekachi Umah, “Lagos State Has No VAPP/SGBV Law !” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 8 December 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
33. Onyekachi Umah, “An Access To Criminal Laws In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 4 December 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
34. Onyekachi Umah, “8 New Things About Rape Laws In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 December 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
35. Onyekachi Umah, “ChannelsTv Interviews Onyekachi Umah on Rape and the Laws.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 20 November 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
36. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Woman Be Charged With Rape” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 24 June 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
37. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Husband Rape His Wife” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 June 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
38. Onyekachi Umah, “When Is Seduction Or Indecent Dressing A Justification For Rape In Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 18 June 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
39. Onyekachi Umah, “New Punishment For Rape In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 23 June 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
40. Onyekachi Umah, “Rape Cannot Be Settled Out Of Court (No Room For Pay-Off/Forgiveness/Withdrawal Of Complaints” (LearnNigerianLaws.com,26 June 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
41. Onyekachi Umah, “A Female Too, Can BE Guilty Of Rape” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 13 December 2018) accessed 20 April 2021
42. Onyekachi Umah, “Ages At Which Sexual Intercourse With Consent Will Amount To Rape” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 20 February 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
43. Onyekachi Umah, “How To Prove Rape In Nigeria).” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 2 July 2019) accessed 20 April 2021
44. Onyekachi Umah, “Can a Married Woman Inherit Her Parents’ Property?”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 March 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
45. Onyekachi Umah, “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting/Elongation, Breasts Ironing And Forced Marriage Are Now Criminal Offences In Nigeria” (Daily Law Tips [443]) accessed 20 April 2021
46. Onyekachi Umah, “Harmful Widowhood Practices (Traditions) Are Illegal In Nigeria” (Daily Law Tips [Tip 589]) accessed 20 April 2021
47. Onyekachi Umah, “Forceful Isolation/Separation Of Family Members/Friends Is Now An Offence In Nigeria” (Daily Law Tips [356]) accessed 120 April 2021
48. Onyekachi Umah, “Abolished Anti-Women Custom of Onitsha People of Anambra State, Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws, 10 March 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
49. Onyekachi Umah, “Citizen By Marriage Is Discriminatory and Against Nigerian Women”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 September 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
50. Onyekachi Umah, “Abolished Anti-Women Custom of Yoruba People of Nigeria”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 March 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
51. Onyekachi Umah, “Can a Married Woman Inherit Her Parents Property?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 March 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
52. Onyekachi Umah, “Approval For Marriage Of Female Officers/Staff Is Unconstitutional and Discriminatory”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 23 September 2020) accessed 20 April 2021
53. Onyekachi Umah, “It Is An Offence To Chase Out Wife/Husband From A Home Or Even Attempt To Do So” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 17 May 2019) accessed 20 April 2021
54. Onyekachi Umah, “Examining Brutalization of House Helps in Nigeria. (An Exposé on Anti-Cruel Labour Laws in Nigeria)” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 August 2020) accessed 27 April 2021

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