By Ebere Agozie
Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has assured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s unwavering dedication to improving children’s access to child-friendly justice system.
Malami said this while inaugurating the `Justice for Children Coordination Forum committee’ at the launch of the EU-UNICEF access to justice programme for children on the move and other vulnerable children in Abuja on Thursday.
The Minister was represented by Prof. Muhammad Ahmadu, the Special Assistant to the President on Research and Special Duties in the office of the Minister.
He said that through age and gender-sensitive juvenile justice mechanisms and alternatives to detention for children on the move and vulnerable children the Nigeria child would benefit from the child-friendly justice sector.
“This administration will continue to do its best in the protection of the rights of children and vulnerable persons.
“My office currently engages respective Heads of Court to establish specialised courts for the speedy and seamless trial of Rape/Gender-Based Violence offences in the country.
“It is hoped that these specialised courts will fast track such cases and result in justice for child victims of sexual violence.’’
Mr Peter Hawkins, the UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, in his goodwill message situated the children’s issues as a priority within the ongoing Justice reforms in Nigeria.
Hawkins charged policymakers and stakeholders to be abreast of the issues and challenges of children on the move and other vulnerable children with a view to changing the situation for the better.
“Stakeholders must coordinate platforms for cohesion, collaboration and coordination to improve and sustain child-friendly justice for Nigerian children.
Highlight of the event included the inauguration of the members of the committee for the `Justice for Children Forum’.
The Forum, chaired by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, has representatives from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Other members are representatives from Buni Yadi Foundation, UNODC, UNDP, UNICEF, FIDA, Nigerian Bar Association, ILO, IOM and Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (OHCR) among others. (NAN) (www.nnanews.ng)