Legal Appraisal of Child Rights Law In Lagos State Of Nigeria

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Legal Appraisal of Child Rights Law In Lagos State

The issue of child rights is poorly defined in legislation and by the courts, partly because many nations have not decided how much of such rights to grant to children. For one to comprehend what a child right is, the terms ‘right’ and ‘human rights’ will have to be defined. The term ‘right’ is often used to describe any advantages conferred on a person by a rule of law (Akwara et al., 2010). Rights are those things to which one is entitled or allowed; freedoms that are guaranteed. Child Rights are human rights. They are wide-ranging and include entitlement to a name and nationality; freedom from discrimination (race, colour, religion etc.); social security extending to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical care; entitlement to free education and equal opportunities; protection from all forms of cruelty, neglect and exploitation and right to love, understanding and affection (Freeman, 1983). Similarly in Nigeria, the different human rights are enshrined in the 1999 Constitution in Chapters II and IV. For instance, Chapter II states that every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law. Chapter IV of the Constitution lists certain Fundamental Human Rights which are inalienable rights of all Nigerians whether they are adults or children. These rights are rights to life, respect for the dignity of a person, liberty, civil rights and obligations, privacy, freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Others are rights to freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information, freedom of association, movement, entitlement to community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion and right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria.Child rights, therefore, are human rights with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to minors, including their rights to association with both parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for food, universal state-paid education, health care and criminal laws appropriate for the age and development of the child, equal protection of the child civil rights and freedom from discrimination on the basis of the child’s race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, disability, colour, ethnicity, or other characteristics.1 Child rights are basic entitlements every child in the world should be able to have. All children have the same rights irrespective of their colour or race. All rights are connected to each other and are equally important. Interpretations of child rights range from allowing children the capacity for autonomous action to enforcement of children being physically, mentally and emotionally free from abuse. Other definitions include the rights to care and nurturing (Bandman, 1999)

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