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Ex-NHRC’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Angwe Canvasses End To Corporal Punishment In Nigeria

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Centre for Legal Rights Advancement (CLRA), a non governmental organization has decried the practice of all forms of corporal punishment in Nigeria, saying that it is a serious violation of Child’s Rights Act 2003 and the International Conventional on the Right of the Child, among other laws.

The Founder/Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Legal Rights Advancement, Prof. Bem Angwe who expressed this concern on the eve of the commemoration of the International Day Against Corporal Punishment of Children, observed on the 30th of April annually, called on government at all levels and other stakeholders to double their collaboration to end corporal punishment in its entirety.

Against this background, the renowned lawyer urged the relevant stakeholders to advocate for the review of Section 295 of the Criminal Code, Section 55 of the Penal Code and other similar legislations that permit the use of force to correct children thereby undermining the relevant provisions of the Child’s Rights Act and other national laws as well as related international treaties which Nigeria is a party.

According to the erudite Professor of Law, corporal punishment is against the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

“Unfortunately, such acts are usually carried out by some parents, guardians, caregivers and teachers etc despite legal provisions such as the Child’s Rights Act, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015 (VAPP) and the Anti-Torture Act 2017, as well as international instrument like the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Prof. Angwe who was the former Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regretted that Nigeria is not among the 65 countries out of about 199 that currently ban all forms of corporal punishment, saying the ugly practice constitutes an obstacle to the realization of the right of the child to health, development, safe environment and education.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Advocate commended the 36 States of the Federation for passing into Law the Violence Against Children Legislation and the majority of the States for adopting and passing into Law the Child’s Rights Act in their various jurisdictions even as he urged them to ensure their smooth implementation.

The Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Expert used the opportunity to condemn all forms of child rights violations including child trafficking, child labour and child abuse both at home and in school pointing out that instead of indulging in such despicable practices all decisions involving children should be taken in their best interest as enunciated in the Child’s Rights Act.

The legal luminary therefore reminded Nigerians of the need to comply with the relevant national, regional and international laws prohibiting harsh or degrading treatment and desist from spanking, hitting, punching, kicking, confinement in small spaces and subjecting any child to a fixed posture for long periods, etc.

He advised parents and other custodians of children to rather use verbal warning and make references to good moral conduct of persons of reputable character in the society, bearing in mind that an abused child is usually sad and could carry such a mood to adulthood with the attendant unpleasant consequences to the larger society.

Lastly, he commended the banning of corporal punishment in Europe and most part of East Asia, South America and Zambia urging Nigeria and other affected countries to adopt best practices in Child’s Rights Protection.

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