The 6th Abia State Children’s parliament has been inaugurated with a task to operate with the utmost integrity and fairness in their deliberations.
Delivering a keynote address during the inauguration held at the Women Development Centre, Umuahia, Mrs Ngozi Blessing Felix, State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, said as a child-focused government, Governor Alex Otti’s administration believes in all the laws that constitute the framework for the protection of children.
According to her, the Children’s parliament is one of the many initiatives that the state government is implementing towards creation of safe, protective and violence-free environments for boys and girls in Abia State.
The Commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Ogechi Oguama, pointed out that Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation is committed to ensuring that Abia children (boys and girls) are cared for, protected and also participating in collaborative advocacy initiatives.
“The Abia State Child Rights Law 2006 constitutes the grand norm for the protection of children in Abia State. This law also provide basis for the participation of children in all forms.
“The children’s parliament initiative is aimed at creating a coordinated platform for children to voice out their concerns and solutions on community, State and national issues affecting their lives and wellbeing. Through this initiative, children are trained on political processes, learn how decisions are made and are equipped on existing policies centered around child protection to help them know and understand the laws that govern the world they live in and empower them to speak up for or against those laws.
“The commencement of children’s parliament in Abia State will bring a significant improvement in service delivery on issues affecting children as well as considerations, evaluations and amendments of the Child Protection laws in the Child Rights Law 2006 on criminalizing child marriage, abuse among others.
“Children’s parliament creates a platform where children can contribute to public debate and influencing decisions that affect their lives, provide opportunities for children’s participation in different levels of decision-making processes and creates a platform where key stakeholders, policy makers and decision makers in child issues can hear first-hand the concerns of children in their Communities for adoption in their mandates”, Mrs Ngozi Blessing Felix stated
The Commissioner who further described the children’s parliament as a great initiative, said she was delighted that the basic tenets of democracy are being imbibed by Abia children right from the early stages of life.
In their respective speeches, Mrs Onyinyechi Joy Nwosu, Acting Abia State Coordinator of Child Protection Network; and Mrs Naomi Chinyere Thompson, Technical Officer Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Gender Education and Protection representing Caritas Nigeria, lauded the initiative and assured they would support to ensure that the Abia children’s future will not be trampled upon.
While promising to continue to push and advocate for the child right, they observed that Child trafficking has become a major headache, but assured that they will work with the children’s parliament to see to the end of Child trafficking in the state.
In a maiden speech, shortly after they were sworn in by Barr. Chidinma Alozie, Legal Adviser of the Ministry, Rt. Hon. Stephen Godswill Chinomso, Speaker, 6th Abia State Children’s parliament, a student of Eclectic Secondary School, Ukwa West L.G.A, called for support from members to make the job easier.
He assured that bills that would be presented by members of the 6th Abia State Children’s parliament will be in tandem with the dreams of the new Abia.
Other members of the 6th Abia State Children’s parliament inaugurated includes: Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Delight Chimamaka ThankGod from Adventist Secondary Technical College, Ugwunagbo L.G.A; Uchenna Chukwuebuka Favour from Royal Technical College, Ubakala Umuahia South, House Leader; Oscar Chimeremobim Success Deputy leader, from Ikwuano Secondary School, Ariam, Ikwuano L.G.A; Justice Oluebubechi Chief whip, from Comprehensive Secondary School, Ihie Ukwu, Ugwunagbo L.G.A; Deputy whip, Igboaju Cherish Kelechi, from St. Cecilia’s Secondary School, Umuahia North L.G.A; Edwin Hosea, from Federal Science and Technical College, Ohanso, Ukwa East L.G.A, Clerk; Onyenso Joy from Lumen Christ Catholic school, Osisioma Ngwa L.G.A, Deputy clerk; Kalu Vincent Ogbu, from Abam High school, Ozu Abam, Arochukwu L.G.A, Assistant whip; and Okechukwu Emmanuela Ihuoma, Sergeant at Arm/Mace bearer, from Aba South L.G.A.