Best Interest of the Child-the operating principles of the Act (1)

Opening Charge

‘Who is the complete child? A child is not complete until he is prepared spirit, soul (mind, will and emotion) and body for the daunting challenges of adulthood.’

Thank you for joining us dear friends. Sure you had a great time yesterday. I was workers’ day here in Nigeria. I was busy speaking in two programs. I was sharing the rights of the child with a group of 600 stakeholders on Child Sexual Abuse. I moved from there to a leading private school in Lagos State to be a guest speaker at their 2012 Parents’ Forum, where I was sharing our ChildPLUS principles of doing all in the best interest of the child.

It therefore gives me great pleasure to be with you today, making dedicated efforts to bring to the very front burner of private and public conscience and consciousness, for the due respect the rights and responsibilities of the African Child in the best interest of the child. I must tell you that it is a very daring task we have embarked upon, considering the general disposition of the generality of our people to matters, which affect children.

My story of all-round abuse, which I have once shared on many fora, is not a peculiar one at all. 99.9 per cent of children, who are raised inAfricasuffered and still suffer physical, sexual, emotional and neglect abuses. If there is anything peculiar about my story, it is the fact that I am telling it, pure and simply. I will like to remind us that the cases of abuse are very rampant inAfricafor two major reasons: the first is that our continent has no respect for the dignity of human persons and parents are ignorant of the rights of the child. As a retired UNICEF Communication Specialist, Dr. Uche Bianlonwun recently said, ‘the ignorance of the Nigerian parents is colossal.’

Today I will like to share with you what I have tagged the operating principle of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003. It is called the Best-interest-of-the-child. It is conspicuously enshrined in Part 1 of the Act with this introductory inscription, BEST INTEREST OF CHILD TO BE OF PARAMOUNT CONSIDERATION IN ALL ACTIONS. Section 1 of the Act further provides, ‘in every action concerning a child, whether undertaken by an individual, public or private body, institutions or service, court of law, or administrative or legislative authority, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration.’ I like the clarity of the foregoing provision.

The next issue I will like to address is, what constitutes the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child is not served when acts are perpetrated (by commission or omission) deliberately or otherwise that militates against the development of the complete child. Who is the complete child? A child is not complete until he is prepared spirit, soul (mind, will and emotion) and body for the daunting challenges of adulthood.

I will like to stop here today. We continue tomorrow along the same lines. Make it a date with us tomorrow. Do have an INSPIRED Day.

I’m Taiwo Akinlami & I Lead the TeacherFIRE™ Revolution

POINT 2 PONDER:

As a retired UNICEF Communication Specialist, Dr. Uche Bianlonwun recently said, ‘the ignorance of the Nigerian parents is colossal.’

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