Governor of Cross River state, Ben Ayade has received commendation from the Child Protection Network (CPN) for enacting the Child Right Amendment Bill, 2023, also known as the Cross River Child Rights Law 2023, which makes it illegal to brand children as witches in the state.
This is contained in a statement by the Coordinator of the CPN in Cross River, Mr Kebe Ikpi, on Thursday in Calabar.
The appreciated Governor Ben Ayade for the special gift to the children of the state.
Speaking further, the coordinator encouraged members and partners to read the new law and acquaint themselves with its provisions.
He used the opportunity to draw the attention of members of the society that this law criminalises child witchcraft branding and has made fostering and adoption of children simpler.
“Schools and those who associate discipline with violence, should know that corporal punishment is now a crime, they should acquaint themselves with non-violent disciplinary measures,” he said.
He thanked Commissioner for Women Affairs Mrs Getrude Njar, Cross River Judiciary, House of Assembly, the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other stakeholders for their efforts in pushing for the law to be signed.
Mr Bassey maintained that Nigerians between the 1930s and 1980s underwent strict discipline and even corporal punishment and they did not die but came out as responsible adults.
The issue of child witchcraft branding had been prevalent in Cross River, where some children had been kept in chains or abandoned by their parents because they were declared to be witches by some religious leaders.
Gov. Ayade on Monday, assented to the bill which sought to repeal the Child Rights Law No. 4 of 2009 and to enact the Child Rights Law of Cross River and for other related matters.
In the law, it is expressly criminal to brand a child a witch or claim to have the power to exorcise witchcraft. The law also criminalises corporal punishment in schools.
The law mandatory for public facilities to report all cases of child abuse, especially sexual assault.
Lots of inhibitions placed on fostering and adoption were also removed.
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