Later next week, these T-shirts will be don by celebrities in Oyo State. We are excited at the endorsement that these could signify. A closer look at the T-shirts and you will notice they are in three languages – Yoruba, Pidgin and English. It is to ensure all around Oyo State irrespective of ethnic leaning can pick up the message when they see anyone on the T-shirt. The Child Right Law which this is meant to be about was passed into law in Oyo State. At that point, it was a feat given that Nigeria then had just passed the Child Right Act in 2003. The Child Right Act/Law in this case is meant to ensure that all children in the state and country are protected. It is one thing to pass a law, it is another thing to ensure the full implementation of the law.
Iwo Road, the popular landmark in Ibadan, Oyo State bears regular feedback on how poorly the law has been implemented. Children hawking and running around during school hours trying to sell wares are sights that greets passersby. Children are still being brought into the state from across the land borders to be domestic aides and are not even allowed to access formal education. The issue of Female Genital Mutilation sadly still subsists as well. Oyo State is one of the 24 states in Nigeria will laws to protect children. It however does not make any difference if the law exists and implementation is zero. Our advocacy is to ensure this changes. The ‘Education is my Right’ Essay writing competition was a step to get legislators in Oyo State to revisit this law. 14 years after the passage of the law, not much has changed between Oyo State and Enugu State where they are yet to have a state law on this.
As we go on the street and partner with media houses like Splash FM 105.5, Amuludun FM 99.1 and IBR 92.5, we are optimistic that the voices of children will drown the state to ensure action is taken to make implementation a priority. Wish us luck. Join Us. Whatever it is you choose to do, ensure that the children in your space are safe. It is the right thing to do. It is the certain sustainability plan for the future. See more of our advocacy on this in real time. Follow us on twitter – @onelifeng