By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The acting Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN) Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has expressed concern over an increase in the number of cases involving children in courts in the country.
The CJN reiterated that violation of child’s rights is a social health problem already attracting global attention, hence the need to build a strong shield around children to protect their inherent rights.
Ariwoola stated this while giving a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 2022 National Workshop on Child Protection and Child Justice Administration for Family Court Judges and Magistrates, Social Welfare Officers, Assessor’s and Family Unit of the Police.
At the event, held at NJI in Abuja, with the theme: ‘Achieving Child Friendly Justice System’ thee CJN noted that children still face a number of disadvantages in their contact with the justice system however, pointed out that better understanding of children has led to the improvement in laws and courts system.
He said, “Child Friendly Justice is justice that is accessible, age appropriate, speedy diligent and focused on the needs of the child.
“The need to build a strong shield around children to protect their inherent rights through the application and interpretation of legislations cannot be overemphasized.
“You must recognize the fact that children more often than not are susceptible to abuse, gender based violence and emotional trauma by by reasons of their age, gender, disability and mental state, so they deserved more protection,”
Also in a welcome address, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Hon. Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi said the workshop is in furtherance of the Institute’s mandate to provide continuing judicial Education for Judicial Officers as encapsulate in Section 3(1) of the NJI Act.
The workshop according to Abdullahi epitomizes the fact that protection of children is not solely the responsibility of their parents; rather, that of the society as a whole.