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CHILD’S RIGHT ACT

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

An Act to provide and protect the rights of a Nigerian child; and other related matters.

 

 

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I - Best Interest of a Child to be of Paramount Consideration in all Actions.

1.     Best interest of a Child to be of paramount consideration in all actions.

2.     A child to be given protection and care necessary for his wellbeing.

 

PART II - Rights and Responsibilities of a Child

Rights of a Child

3.     Application of Chapter IV of 1999 Constitution, etc.

4.     Right to survival and development.

5.     Right to name.

6.     Freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

7.     Freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

8.     Right to private and family life.

9.     Right to freedom of movement.

10.    Right to freedom from discrimination.

11.    Right to dignity of the child.

12.    Right to leisure, recreation and cultural activities.

13.    Right to health and health services.

14.    Right to parental care, protection and maintenance.

15.    Right of a child to free, compulsory and universal primary education, etc.

16.    Right of a child in need of special protection measure.

17.    Right of the unborn child to protection against harm, etc.

18.    Contractual rights of a child.

19.    Responsibilities of a child and parent.

20.    Parent, etc. to provide guidance with respect to child’s responsibilities.

 

PART III - Protection of the Rights of a Child

21.    Prohibition of child marriage.

22.    Prohibition of child betrothal.

23.    Punishment for child marriage and betrothal.

24.    Tattoos and skin marks.

25.    Exposure to use, production and trafficking of narcotic drugs, etc.

Use of Children in Other Criminal Activities

26.    Use of children in other criminal activities.

27.    Abduction, removal and transfer from lawful custody.

Child Labour

28.    Prohibition of exploitative labour.

29.    Application of Labour Act.

Buying, Selling, etc., for the Purpose of Begging and Prostitution, etc.

30.    Prohibition of buying, selling, hiring or otherwise dealing in children for the purpose of hawking or begging for alms or prostitution, etc.

Unlawful Sexual Intercourse, etc.

31.    Unlawful sexual intercourse with a child, etc.

Other Forms of Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

32.    Forms of sexual abuse and exploitation.

Other Forms of Exploitation

33.    Other forms of exploitation.

Recruitment into the Armed Forces

34.    Prohibition of recruitment of children into the Armed Forces.

Harmful Publication

35.    Prohibition of importation of harmful publication.

36.    Penalty for harmful publication.

37.    Power to issue warrant of arrest, summons, search, etc., for harmful publications.

38.    Power of Court to order forfeiture, etc.

Miscellaneous

39.    Removal of jurisdictional limitation of magistrates, etc.

40.    Application of Criminal Law provisions.

 

PART IV

Protection of Children

41.    Child assessment orders.

42.    Emergency protection orders.

43.    Duration of emergency protection orders, etc.

44.    Children taken into police protection in cases of emergency.

45.    Duty of a State Government to investigate.

46.    Disclosure of whereabouts, etc. of children who may be in need of emergency protection.

47.    Abduction of children in care, etc.

48.    Refuge for children at risk.

49.    Rules and regulations under this Part.

 

PART V

Children in Need of Care and Protection

50.    Power of certain persons to bring children in need to care and protection before a court in certain cases.

51.    Make order where parent or guardian is unable to exercise control.

52.    Power of Court to order parent, etc., to contribute to maintenance.

 

PART VI

Care and Supervision

53.    Care and supervision order, general.

54.    Period within which application for order under this Part must be disposed of.

55.    Effect of care order.

56.    Parental contacts, etc., with children in care.

57.    Duty of supervisors while supervision orders are in force.

58.    Education supervision orders.

59.    Power of Court in proceedings where question of welfare of child arises.

60.    Interim orders.

61.    Discharge and variation, etc., of care orders and supervision orders.

62.    Orders pending appeals in cases relating to care or supervision orders.

 

PART VII - Provisions for use of Scientific Tests in Determining Paternity or Maternity, etc.

63.    Power of Court to require use of scientific tests.

64.    Consents, etc., required for taking scientific samples.

65.    Power of Minister to provide for manner of giving effect to directions for use of scientific tests.

66.    Failure to comply with directions for taking of scientific tests.

67.    Penalty for impersonating another, etc., for purpose of providing scientific sample.

 

PART VIII - Possession and Custody of Children

68.    Acquisition of parental responsibilities.

69.    Power of the Court to make order in respect to custody or rights of access to a child.

70.    Orders as to custody.

71.    Validity of custody agreed to in separation deeds.

72.    Principal on which questions relating to custody, upbringing, etc., of child is to be decided.

73.    Court to have regard to conduct of parent.

74.    Power of Court as to production of child.

75.    Power of Court to consult child’s wishes.

76.    Power of Court to child’s religious education.

77.    Enforcement of order for payment of money by attachment of income.

78.    Notice of change of address by person ordered to pay money.

79.    Power of the Minister to make orders, etc., as to custody of children.

80.    Prohibition against acquiring custody, etc., of child for the purpose of dealing in the child.

81.    Penalties for contravening sections 79 and 80.

 

PART IX - Guardianship

82.    Parental responsibility of a guardian.

83.    Guardianship of a child.

84.    Order for guardianship of a child.

85.    Consent of a person appointed as a guardian.

86.    Revocation of guardianship.

87.    Power of a guardian over estate of a child.

88.    Disputes between joint guardians.

89.    Appointment of guardian ad litem.

90.    Establishment of panels of persons from which guardians ad litem may be appointed.

91.    Right of guardian ad litem to have access to records.

92.    Saving of existing orders and jurisdiction of the Court.

 

PART V - Wardship

93.    Jurisdiction of Court.

94.    Wardship order.

95.    Maintenance of a ward of Court.

96.    Committal of ward to care of appropriate authority, etc.

97.    Matrimonial causes.

98.    Dismissal of application for wardship.

99.    Rules for application for wardship.

 

PART XI - Fostering

100. Application for fostering.

101. A child to be fostered.

102. Making a fostering order.

103. Limit on number of children who may be fostered.

104. Restriction on the making of fostering order.

105. Consent to fostering.

106. Further conditions for making of fostering orders.

107. Interim Orders.

108. Rules of Court.

109. Appeal.

110. Rights and duties of foster parents and other persons.

111. Effect of fostering on maintenance order.

112. Fostered Children Register.

113. Visit to fostered child by child development officers.

114. Revocation of a foster order on grounds of the interest of the child.

115. Prohibition of receiving money or reward as inducement to foster a child.

116. Prohibition of taking, sending fostered child out of state or Nigeria.

117. Prohibition of withdrawal of a child from the care of the applicant.

118. Foster parent prohibited from marrying fostered child.

119. Noncompliance with lawful directives.

120. Private arrangement for fostering children.

121. Welfare of a child fostered privately.

122. A person disqualified from fostering a child privately.

123. Power of State Government to prohibit private fostering.

124. Offences under this Part.

PART XII

Adoption

125. Establishment of adoption services, etc.

126. Application for adoption, etc.

127. Religious upbringing of adopted child.

128. Persons who may be adopted.

129. Persons who may adopt.

130. Power to make adoption order.

131. Restrictions on the making of adoption orders.

132. Required consent.

133. Conditions preceeding the making of adoption order.

134. Power of court to impose terms and conditions.

135. Interim orders, pending adoption orders.

136. Jurisdiction of the Court.

137. Rules of the Court for adoption of a child.

138. Appeals.

139. Adoption when corrective order is in force.

140. Adoption where maintenance order is in force.

141. Effect of adoption.

142. Establishment of the Adopted Children Register.

143. Prohibition of certain payments for adoption.

144. Restriction on interState adoption.

145. Licence to give child for interState adoption.

146. Recognition of other adoption.

147. Adopted parents, etc., prohibited from marrying adopted child.

148. Visit of adopted child development officers.

149. Establishment of the Family Court.

150. Court to have two levels.

151. General jurisdiction.

152. Family Court at the High Court level.

153. Family Court at the Magistrate Court level.

154. Professionalisation and training of Court personnel.

155. Right to counsel, etc.

156. Exclusion of persons from attending court.

157. Prohibition of publication of child’s name, etc.

158. Proceedings to be in the interest of the child.

159. Attendance of parents, guardians or child at the hearing in the Court.

160. Evidence giving by a child.

161. Rules for procedures, fees, etc.

162. Exclusive jurisdiction.

 

PART XIV - Child Minding and Day Care of Young Children

163. Registration, etc., of child minding and day care centre.

164. Conditions to be complied with by child minders.

165. Conditions to be complied with by persons providing day care for children.

166. Cancellation of registration of a child minder

167. Protection of children, emergency cases of cancellation of registration, etc.

168. Powers of the State Government to inspect premises, etc.

169. State Government to give applicant notice of action it intends to take.

170. Offences under this Part.

 

PART XV - State Government Support for Children and Families

171. Provision of services for children in need, etc.

172. Day care for preschool children.

173. Review of provision for day care, children minding, etc.

174. Provision of accommodation for children in general.

175. Provision of accommodation for children in police protection detention or remand, etc.

176. Reference to child looked after by State Government.

177. Duty of State Government to provide for the welfare of children looked after by it.

178. Provision of accommodation and maintenance by State Government for children looked after by it.

179. Advice and assistance for certain children, etc.

180. Use of accommodation for restricting liberty.

181. Review of cases and inquiries into representatives.

182. Cooperation between authorities.

183. Consultation with the education authorities.

184. Recoupment of cost of providing services, etc.

185. Miscellaneous.

 

PART XVI - Community Homes

186. Securing community homes.

187. Directives by Minister to discontinue the use of premises as community homes.

188. Determination of disputes relating to controlled and assisted community homes.

189. Discontinuance of controlled or assisted community homes.

190. Closure by State Government of controlled or assisted community homes.

 

PART XVII - Voluntary Homes and Voluntary Organisations

191. Provision of accommodation by voluntary organisations.

192. Registration and regulation of voluntary homes.

193. Duties of voluntary organisations.

194. Duties of the State Government.

 

PART XVIII - Registered Children’s Homes

195. Registration, etc., of children’s homes.

196. Welfare, etc., of children in homes.

197. Persons disqualified from managing, or being employed in children’s homes.

PART XIX

Supervisory Functions and Responsibilities of the Minister

198. Inspection of children’s home, etc., by authorised persons.

199. Inquiries.

200. Minister may direct inquiries to be held in camera.

201. Financial support by Minister.

202. Research and returns of information.

203. Power of Minister to declare State Government, etc., to be default.

 

PART XX - Child Justice Administration

General

204. Child to be subjected to only child justice system and processes.

205. Protection of privacy.

206. Professional education and training.

207. Specialisation within the Nigeria Police Force.

208. Use of direction.

209. Disposal of case without resort to formal trial.

210. Report of the legal status and rights of the child.

Investigation

211. Initial contact with the child.

212. Detention pending trial.

Adjudication

213. Jurisdiction of Court to try child offenders.

214. Rights to fair hearing and compliance with due process.

215. Guiding principles in adjudication.

216. Parents, guardians to attend Court.

217. Child justice procedure in Court.

218. Remands and committals to State Government accommodation.

219. Social inquiry report.

220. Power of Court to order parent or guardian to pay fine, etc.

221. Restriction on punishment.

222. Detention in case of certain crimes.

223. Methods of dealing with child offender.

224. Government to provide accommodation.

225. Procedure on failure to observe condition of recognisance.

226. Binding over of a parent or guardian.

227. Forms for corrective orders.

228. Operation of corrective order may be suspended.

229. Power to vary corrective order in certain cases.

230. Power of manager of an approved institution to grant leave of absence to a child in detention.

231. Apprehension without warrant.

232. Procedure in case of unruly or depraved person.

NonInstitutional Treatment

233. Effective implementation of noninstitutional orders.

234. Assistance during rehabilitation.

235. Mobilisation of voluntary service.

Institutional Treatment

236. Objective of institutional treatment.

237. Recourse of conditional release.

Research, Planning, Policy Formulation and Evaluation

238. Research as a basis for planning, policy formulation, etc.

 

PART XXI - Supervision

239. Appointment of supervision officer.

240. Supervision inspectors and supervision inspection service.

241. Default power where the supervision service fails to discharge its statutory duty.

242. Power of Court to make conditional discharge order and supervision order.

243. Person named in supervision order.

244. Supervision officer may be relieved of duties.

245. Duties of supervision officer.

246. Power of Court to vary suspension order.

PART XXII

Approved Institutions and PostRelease Supervision

247. Approved institutions.

248. Establishment of approved institutions.

249. Declaration of building, etc., as an approved institution.

250. Children attendance centres, etc.

251. Responsibilities for approved institutions.

252. Officers of approved institutions.

253. Visitors and visiting committees.

254. Appointment of voluntary visitors.

255. Facilities for observation of children in approved institutions.

256. Transfer from Children Correctional Centre to Special Children Centre.

257. Release from approved institutions, etc.

Release and PostRelease supervision

258. Release and supervision after training at the Children Centre.

259. Postrelease supervision of children offenders.

 

PART XXIII - The National, State and Local Government Child Rights Implementation Committees

National Child Rights Implementation Committee

260. Establishment and membership of the National Child Rights Implementation Committee.

261. Functions of National Committee.

262. Procedure, etc., at meetings.

263. Secretariat of the National Committee.

State Child Rights Implementation Committee

264. Establishment and membership of State Child Rights Implementation Committee.

265. Functions of the State Committee.

266. Procedure at meetings.

267. Secretariat of the State Committee.

Local Government Child Rights Implementation Committee

268. Establishment and membership of the Local Government Child Rights Implementation

Committee.

269. Functions of the Local Government Committee.

270. Procedure, etc., at meetings.

271. Secretariat of the Local Government Committee.

 

PART XXIV - Miscellaneous

272. Offences by bodies corporate.

273. Service of documents.

274. Suspension and inconsistency.

275. Delegation of powers by the Minister.

276. Forms in the Eleventh Schedule.

277. Interpretation.

278. Citation.

SCHEDULES

FIRST SCHEDULE -Financial Provision for Children

SECOND SCHEDULE - Supervision Orders

THIRD SCHEDULE - Application for Wardship

FOURTH SCHEDULE - Foster Parents: Limits on Number of Foster Children

FIFTH SCHEDULE - Form of Adopted Children’s Register

SIXTH SCHEDULE - Child Minding and Day Care for Young Children

SEVENTH SCHEDULE - State Government Support for Children and Families

EIGHT SCHEDULE - Management and Conduct of Community Homes

NINTH SCHEDULE - Voluntary Homes and Voluntary Organisations

TENTH SCHEDULE - Registered Children’s Homes

ELEVENTH SCHEDULE - Forms in relation to Parts VI, XX and XXI of this Act

 

 

CHILD’S RIGHTS ACT 2003

An Act to provide and protect the rights of a Nigerian child; and other related matters.

 

[31st July, 2003] [Commencement.]

 

PART I

Best Interest of a Child to be of Paramount Consideration in all Actions

1.     Best interest of a Child to be of paramount consideration in all actions

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.

2.     A child to be given protection and care necessary for his wellbeing

(1)    A child shall be given such protection and care as is necessary for the wellbeing of the child, taking into account the rights and duties of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or other individuals, institutions, services, agencies, organisations or bodies legally responsible for the child.

(2)    Every person, institution, service, agency, organization and body responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by the appropriate authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, welfare, number and suitability of their staff and competent supervision.

 

PART II - Rights and Responsibilities of a Child

Rights of a Child

3.     Application of Chapter IV of 1999 Constitution, etc

(1)    The provisions in Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, or any successive constitutional provisions relating to Fundamental Rights, shall apply as if those provisions are expressly stated in this Act.

(2)    In addition to the rights guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, or under any successive constitutional provisions, every child has the rights set out in this Part of the Act.

 

4.     Right to survival and development

Every child has a right to survival and development.

 

5.     Right to name

(1)    Every child has a right to a name and, accordingly, shall be given a name on his birth or on such other date as is dictated by the culture of his parents or guardian.

(2)    The birth of every child shall be registered in accordance with the provisions of the Birth, Death, etc. (Compulsory Registration) Act, 1992.

 

6.     Freedom of association and peaceful assembly

Every child has a right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly in conformity with the law and in accordance with the necessary guidance and directions of his parents or guardians.

 

7.     Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

(1)    Every child has a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,

(2)    Parents and, where applicable, legal guardians shall provide guidance and direction in the exercise of these rights having regard to the evolving capacities and best interest of the child.

(3)    The duty of parents and, where applicable, legal guardians to provide guidance and direction in the enjoyment of the right in subsection (1) of this section by their child or ward shall be respected by all persons, bodies, institutions and authorities.

(4)    Whenever the fostering, custody, guardianship or adoption of a child is in issue, the right of the child to be brought up in and to practice his religions shall be a paramount consideration.

 

8.     Right to private and family life

(1)    Every child is entitled to his privacy, family life, home, correspondence, telephone conversation and telegraphic communications, except as provided in subsection (3) of this section.

(2)    No child shall be subjected to any interference with his right in subsection (1) of this section, except as provided in subsection (3) of this section.

(3)    Nothing in the provision of subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall affect the rights of parents and, where applicable, legal guardians, to exercise reasonable supervision and control over the conduct of their children and wards.

 

9.     Right to freedom of movement

(1)    Every child is entitled to freedom of movement subject to parental control which is not harmful to the child.

(2)    Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall affect the right of a parent, and where applicable, a legal guardian or other appropriate authority to exercise control over the movement of the child in the interest of the education, safety and welfare of the child.

 

10.    Right to freedom from discrimination

(1)    A child shall not be subjected to any form of discrimination merely by reason of his belonging to a particular community or ethnic group or by reason of his place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion.

(2)    No child shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth.

 

11.    Right to dignity of the child

Every child is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly, no child shall be

(a)    subjected to physical, mental or emotional injury, abuse, neglect or maltreatment, including sexual abuse;

(b)    subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

(c)    subjected to attacks upon his honor or reputation; or

(d)    held in slavery or servitude, while in the care of a parent, legal guardian or school authority or any other person or authority having the care of the child.

 

12.    Right to leisure, recreation and cultural activities

(1)    Every child is entitled to rest and leisure and to engage in play, sports and recreational activities appropriate to his age.

(2)    Every child is entitled to participate fully in the cultural and artistic activities of the Nigerian, African and world communities.

(3)    Every Government, person, institution, service, agency, organisation and body, responsible for the care and welfare of a child shall, at all times, ensure adequate opportunities for the child in the enjoyment of the rights provided for the child in subsections (1) and (2) of this section.

 

13.    Right to health and health services

(1)    Every child is entitled to enjoy the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health.

(2)    Every Government, parent, guardian, institution, service, agency, organisation or body responsible for the care of a child shall endeavour to provide for the child the best attainable state of health.

(3)    Every Government in Nigeria shall

(a)    endeavour to reduce infant and child mortality rate;

(b)    ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care services to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care;

(c)    ensure the provision of adequate nutrition and safe drinking water;

(d)    ensure the provision of good hygiene and environmental sanitation;

(e)    combat disease and malnutrition within the framework of primary health care through the application of appropriate technology;

(f)     ensure appropriate health care for expectant and nursing mothers; and

(g)    support, through technical and financial means, the mobilisation of national and local community resources in the development of primary health care for children;

(4)    Every parent guardian or person having the care and custody of a child under the age of two years shall ensure that the child is provided with full immunisation.

(5)    Every parent, guardian or person having the care of a child who fails in the duty imposed on him under subsection (4) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction for

(a)    a first offence, to a fine not exceeding five thousand naira; and

(b)    second or any subsequent offence, whether in respect of that child or any other child, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month.

(6)    The Court may make, in substitution for or addition to any penalty stipulated under subsection (5) of this section, an order compelling the parent or guardian of a child to get the child immunised.

 

14.    Right to parental care, protection and maintenance

(1)    Every child has a right to parental care and protection, and accordingly, no child shall be separated from his parents against the wish of the child except

(a)    for the purpose of his education and welfare; or

(b)    in the exercise of a judicial determination in accordance with the provisions of this Act, in the best interest of the child.

(2)    Every child has the right to maintenance by his parents or guardians in accordance with the extent of their means, and the child has the right, in appropriate circumstances, to enforce this right in the Family Court.

 

15.    Right of a child to free, compulsory and universal primary education, etc.

(1)    Every child has the right to free, compulsory and universal basic education and it shall be the duty of the Government in Nigeria to provide such education.

(2)    Every parent or guardian shall ensure that his child or ward attends and completes his

(a)    primary school education; and

(b)    junior secondary education.

(3)    Every parent, guardian or person who has the care and custody of a child who has completed his basic education, shall endeavour to send the child to a senior secondary school, except as provided for in subsection (4) of this section.

(4)    Where a child to whom subsection (3) of this section applies is not sent to senior secondary school, the child shall be encouraged to learn an appropriate trade and the employer of the child shall provide the necessaries for learning the trade.

(5)    A female child who becomes pregnant, before completing her education shall be given the opportunity, after delivery, to continue with her education, on the basis of her individual ability.

(6)    Where a parent, guardian or person who has care and custody of a child, fails in the duty imposed on him under subsection (2) of this section, commits an offence and is liable

(a)    on first conviction to be reprimanded and ordered to undertake community service;

(b)    on second conviction to a fine of two thousand naira or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month or to both such fine and imprisonment; and

(c)    on any subsequent conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand naira or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(7)    The provisions of this section shall not apply to children with mental disabilities.

 

16.    Right of a child in need of special protection measure

(1)    Every child who is in need of special protection measures has the right to such measure of protection as is appropriate to his physical, social, economic, emotional and mental needs and under conditions which ensure his dignity, promote his selfreliance and active participation in the affairs of the community.

(2)    Every person, authority, body or institution that has the care or the responsibility for ensuring the care of a child in need of special protection measures shall endeavour, within the available resources, to provide the child with such assistance and facilities which are necessary for his education, training, preparation for employment, rehabilitation, and recreational opportunities in a manner conducive to his achieving the fullest possible social integration and individual development and his cultural and moral development.

 

17.    Right of the unborn child to protection against harm, etc.

(1)    A child may bring an action for damages against a person for harm or injury caused to the child willfully, recklessly, negligently or through neglect before, during or after the birth of that child.

(2)    Where the father of an unborn child dies intestate, the unborn child is entitled, if he was conceived during the lifetime of his father, to be considered in the distribution of the estate of the deceased father.

(3)    Where the mother of an unborn child dies intestate before the child is delivered, the unborn child is entitled, if he survives his mother, to be considered in the distribution of the estate of the deceased mother.

 

18.    Contractual rights of a child

(1)    No child shall enter into a contract, except as provided in this section.

(2)    Any contract, except a contact for necessaries, entered into by a child for repayment of money lent or for payment of goods supplied to the child, shall be void.

(3)    Accordingly

(a)    no action shall be brought against a child by a person after the child has attained the age of majority, to pay a debt contracted before majority or ratified on majority or any promise of contract made by the child before majority, whether or not there was new consideration for the promises or ratification after the child attained majority ;

(b)    if a child who has entered into a contract for a loan which is void agrees after majority to pay the loan, the agreement in whatever form it may be, shall be void so far as it relates to money which is payable in respect of the loan.

 

19.    Responsibilities of a child and parent

(1)    Every child has responsibilities towards his family and society, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other legally recognized communities, nationally and internationally.

(2)    A child shall, subject to his age and ability and such other limitations as may be contained in this Act and any other law, to

(a)    work towards the cohesion of his family and community;

(b)    respect his parents, superiors and elders at all times and assist them in case of need;

(c)    serve the Federal Republic of Nigeria by placing his physical and intellectual abilities at his service;

(d)    contribute to the moral wellbeing of the society ;

(e)    preserve am strengthen social and national solidarity;

(f)     preserve and strengthen the independence and integrity of Federal Republic of Nigeria;

(g)    respect the ideals of democracy, freedom, equality, humaneness, honesty and justice for all persons ;

(h)    relate with other members of the society, with different cultural values in the spirit of tolerance, dialogue and consultation;

(i)     contribute to the best of his abilities at all times and at all levels, to the promotion and achievement of Nigerian, African and world unity; and

(j)     contribute to the best of his abilities. at all times and at all levels, to the solidarity of the African people and the human race.

 

20.    Parent, etc. to provide guidance with respect to child’s responsibilities Every parent, guardian, institution, person and authority responsible for the care, maintenance, upbringing, education, training, socialisation, employment and rehabilitation of a child has the duty to provide the necessary guidance, discipline, education and training for the child in his or its care such as will equip the child to secure his assimilation, appreciation and observance of the responsibilities set out in this Part of the Act.

 

PART III

Protection of the Rights of a Child

21.    Prohibition of child marriage

No person under the age of 18 years is capable of contracting a valid marriage, and accordingly a marriage so contracted is null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

 

22.    Prohibition of child betrothal

(1)    No parent, guardian or any other person shall betroth a child to any person.

(2)    A betrothal in contravention of subsection (1) of this section is null and void.

 

23.    Punishment for child marriage and betrothal

A person

(a)    who marries a child; or

(b)    to whom a child is betrothed; or

(c)    who promotes the marriage of a child; or

(d)    who betroths a child, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000; or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

 

24.    Tattoos and skin marks

(1)    No person shall tattoo or make a skin mark or cause any tattoo or skin mark to be made on a child.

(2)    A person who tattoos or makes a skin mark on a child commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand naira or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month or to both such fine and imprisonment.

 

25.    Exposure to use, production and trafficking of narcotic drugs, etc.

(1)    No person shall

(a)    expose or involve a child in the use of narcotic drugs and psycho tropic substances; or

(b)    expose or involve a child in the production or trafficking of narcotic drugs or psychotopic substances; or

(2)    A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) or (2) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.

 

Use of Children in Other Criminal Activities

26.    Use of children in other criminal activities

(1)    No person shall employ, use or involve a child in any activity involving or leading to the commission of any other offence not already specified in this Part of the Act.

(2)    A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of fourteen years.

 

27.    Abduction, removal and transfer from lawful custody

(1)    No person shall remove or take a child out of the custody or protection of his father or mother, guardian or such other person having lawful care or charge of the child against the will of the father, mother, guardian or other person.

(2)    A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction

(a)    where the child is unlawfully removed or taken out of Federal Republic of Nigeria

(i)     with intention to return the child to Nigeria, to imprisonment for a term of fifteen years; or

(ii)    with no intention to return the child to Nigeria, to imprisonment for a term of twenty years;

(b)    where the child is unlawfully removed or taken out of the State in which the father, mother, guardian or such other person who has lawful care of the child is ordinarily resident, to imprisonment for a term of ten years; or

(c)    in any case, to imprisonment for a term of seven years.

Child Labour

28.    Prohibition of exploitative labour

(1)    Subject to this Act, no child shall be

(a)    subjected to any forced or exploitative labour; or

(b)    employed to work in any capacity except where he is employed by a member of his family on light work of an agricultural, horticultural or domestic character; or

(c)    required, in any case, to lift, carry or move anything so heavy as to be likely to adversely affect his physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development; or

(d)    employed as a domestic help outside his own home or family environment.

(2)    No child shall be employed or work in an industrial undertaking and nothing in this subsection shall apply to work done by children in technical schools or similar approved institutions if the work is supervised by the appropriate authority.

(3)    Any person who contravenes any provision of subsection (1) or (2) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand naira or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(4)    Where an offence under this section is committed by a body corporate, any person who at the time of the commission of the offence was a proprietor, director, general manager or other similar officer, servant or agent of the body corporate shall be deemed to have jointly and severally committed the offence and may be liable on conviction to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand naira.

 

29.    Application of Labour Act

The provisions relating to young persons in sections 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 and 63 of the Labour Act shall apply to children under this Act.

Buying, Selling, etc., for the Purpose of Begging And Prostitution, etc.

 

30.    Prohibition of buying, selling, hiring or otherwise dealing in children for the purpose of hawking or begging for alms or prostitution, etc.

(1)    No person shall buy, sell, hire, let on hire, dispose of or obtain possession of or otherwise deal in a child.

(2)    A child shall not be used

(a)    for the purpose of begging for alms, guiding beggars, prostitution, domestic or sexual labour or for any unlawful or immoral purpose ; or

(b)    as a slave or for practices similar to slavery such as sale or trafficking of the child, debt bondage or serfdom and forced or compulsory labour; .

(c)    for hawking of goods or services on main city streets, brothels or highways;

(d)    for any purpose that deprives the child of the opportunity to attend and remain in school as provided for under the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act ;

(e)    procured or offered for prostitution or for the production of pornography or for any pornographic performance; and

(f)     procured or offered for any activity in the production or trafficking of illegal drugs and any other activity relating to illicit drugs as specified in the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act.

(3)   A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of ten years.

Unlawful Sexual Intercourse, etc.

31.    Unlawful sexual intercourse with a child, etc.

(1)    No person shall have sexual intercourse with a child.

(2)    A person who contravenes the provision of Subsection (1) of this section commits an offence of rape and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.

(3)    Where a person is charged with an offence under this section, it is immaterial that

(a)    the offender believed the person to be of or above the age of eighteen years; or

(b)    the sexual intercourse was with the consent of the child.

Other Forms of Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

32.    Forms of sexual abuse and exploitation

(1)    A person who sexually abuses or sexually exploits a child in any manner not already mentioned under this Part of this Act commits an offence.

(2)    A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) of this section is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of fourteen years.

Other Forms of Exploitation

33.    Other forms of exploitation

(1)    A person who exploits a child in any other form or way not already mentioned in this Part of this Act which is prejudicial to the welfare of the child commits an offence.

(2)    A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) of this section is liable on conviction to a fine of five hundred thousand naira or imprisonment to a term of five years, or to both such fine and imprisonment.

Recruitment into the Armed Forces

34.    Prohibition of recruitment of children into the Armed Forces

(1)    No child shall be recruited into any of the branches of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(2)    The Government or any other relevant agency or body shall ensure that no child is directly involved in any military operation or hostilities.

Harmful Publication

35.    Prohibition of importation of harmful publication

(1)    No person shall import any harmful publication under this Act.

(2)    A person who imports any harmful publication commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of thirty thousand naira or imprisonment for a term of three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

36.    Penalty for harmful publication

(1)    A person who

(a)    prints, publishes, sells or lets on hire any harmful publication; or

(b)    has in his possession for the purpose of selling, or letting on hire any harmful publication, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of fifty thousand naira or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(2)    Where a person is charged with an offence under this section, it is immaterial that the person had not examined the contents of the publication and has no reasonable cause to suspect that the publication was one to which this Act applies.

37.    Power to issue warrant of arrest, summons, search, etc., for harmful publications

(1)    Where an information is brought before a court that a person has committed or is suspected of committing an offence under section 35 or 36 of this Act with respect to any harmful publication, the Court may issue a warrant for the arrest of that person.

(2)    The Court may, if satisfied by the information substantiated, on oath, that there is reasonable ground for suspecting that a person charged with or suspected of committing an offence has in his possession or under his control

(a)    copies of any harmful publication; or

(b)    any plate prepared for the purpose of printing copies of harmful publication or any photographic film prepared for that purpose, grant a search warrant authorising a police officer named therein to enter (if necessary by force) any premises specified in the warrant and any vehicle, or shop or stall used by the said person for the

purpose of any trade or business, and to search the premises, vehicle, shop or stall.

(3)    The police officer on searching the premises, may seize any of the following items

(a)    any copy of the harmful publication and any other copies which the police officer has reasonable cause to believe to be harmful publication; and

(b)    any plate or photographic film which the police officer has reasonable cause to believe to have been prepared for the purpose of printing copies of any harmful publication.

38.    Power of Court to order forfeiture, etc.

(1)    The Court by or before which a person is convicted of an offence under section 35 or 36 of this Act may order for any copy of the harmful publication and any place or photographic film prepared for the purpose of printing the harmful publication found in the possession of the convicted person under his control, to be forfeited.

(2)    The power to order forfeiture under subsection (1) of this section shall not extend to a case where the accused person has successfully raised a defence against the charge.

(3)    No order made under subsection (1) of this section by a Magistrate’s Court, or a High Court in case of an appeal from a Magistrate’s Court to the High Court, shall take effect

(a)    until the expiration of the ordinary time within which an appeal may be lodged, whether by giving notice of appeal or applying for a case to be stated for the opinion of the High Court; or

(b)    where an appeal is duly lodged, until the appeal is finally decided or abandoned.

(5)    Before a forfeiture order is made under this section, the Court shall hear the author, copyright owner or main publisher of the harmful publication if he so wishes.

[Editorial Note: Subsection (4) omitted. Numbering as per Gazette.]

Miscellaneous

39.    Removal of jurisdictional limitation of magistrates, etc.

Notwithstanding any jurisdictional limitation on the powers of a Magistrate’s Court and any other court in relation to the imposition of fines or terms of imprisonment contained in any law, a Magistrate’s Court or any other court before which the offences created in this Part of this Act are tried shall have the full jurisdictional powers to impose up to the maximum penalties prescribed for the offences created in this Part of this Act.

40.    Application of Criminal Law provisions

Any person in any other law securing the protection of the child, whether born or unborn, shall continue to apply and is hereby adopted for the protection of the child by this Act, notwithstanding that the provision has not otherwise been specifically provided for by this Act.

PART IV

Protection of Children

41.    Child assessment orders

(1)    A State Government or an appropriate authority may apply to the Court for a child assessment order with respect to a child and the Court may make the order, if it is satisfied that

(a)    the applicant has reasonable cause to suspect that the child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm;

(b)    an assessment of the state of the health or development of the child or of the way in which the child has been treated, is required to enable the applicant to determine whether or not the child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm; and

(c)    it is unlikely that such assessment will be made, or be satisfactory, in the absence of an order under this section.

(2)    A court may treat an application under this section as an application for an emergency protection order.

(3)    No Court shall make a child assessment order if it is satisfied that

(a)    there are grounds for making an emergency protection order with respect to the child; and

(b)    it ought to make an emergency protection order rather than a child assessment order.

(4)    A child assessment order shall

(a)    specify the date on which the assessment is to begin; and

(b)    have effect for such period, not exceeding nine days beginning with that date, as may be specified in the order.

(5)    Where a child assessment order is in force with respect to a child it shall be the duty of any person who is in a position to produce the child to

(a)    produce him to such person as may be named in the order; and

(b)    comply with such directions relating to the assessment of the child as the Court thinks fit to specify in the order.

(6)    A child assessment order shall contain an authority to the person carrying out the assessment, or any part of the assessment, to do so in accordance with the terms of the order.

(7)    Notwithstanding subsection (6) of this section, if the child has sufficient understanding to make an informed decision, he may refuse to submit to medical or psychiatric examination or any other assessment.

(8)    A child may only be kept away from home

(a)    in accordance with directions specified in the child assessment order;

(b)    if it is necessary for the purpose of the assessment; and

(c)    for such period or periods as may be specified in the assessment order.

(9)    Where a child is to be kept away from home, the order shall contain such directions as the Court thinks fit with regard to the contact that the child must be allowed to have with other persons while away from home.

(10) A person making an application for a child assessment order shall, before the hearing of the application, take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that notice of the application is given to

(a)    the parents of the child;

(b)    a person who, though not a parent of the child, has parental responsibility for the child; or

(c)    any other person having the care of the child;

(d)    a person in whose favour a contact is in force with respect to the child;

(e)    a person who is allowed to have contact with the child by virtue of an order made under section 55 of this Act; or

(f)     the child concerned.

(11) Rules of Court may make provision as to the circumstances in which

(a)    any of the persons mentioned in subsection (10) of this section; or

(b)    such other persons as may be specified in the rules, may apply to the Court for a child assessment order to be varied or discharged.

42.    Emergency protection orders

(1)    A State Government or an appropriate authority may apply to the Court for an emergency protection order with respect to a child and the Court may make the order if it is satisfied

(a)    that there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is likely to suffer significant harm if

(i)     he is not removed to an Emergency Protection Centre or any other approved suitable accommodation provided by or on behalf of the applicant; or

(ii)    he does not remain in the place in which he is then being accommodated; and

(b)    in the case of an application made by a State Government or any appropriate authority, that

(i)     the applicant has reasonable cause to suspect that the child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm ;

(ii)    enquiries with respect to the welfare of the child are being frustrated by access to the child being unreasonably refused to a person authorised to seek access ; and

(iii)    the applicant has reasonable cause to believe that access to the child is required as a matter of urgency.

(2)    A person

(a)    seeking access to a child in connection with enquires of any kind mentioned in subsection (1) of this section; and

(b)    purporting to be a person authorised to do so, shall, on being asked to do so, produce some duly authenticated document as evidence that he is such a person.

(3)    While an emergency protection order is in force, it

(a)    gives the applicant parental responsibility for the child ;

(b)    operates as a direction to a person who is in a position to do so to comply with any request to produce the child to the applicant; and

(c)    authorises the removal of the child at any time to accommodation provided by or on behalf of the applicant and his being kept there; or

(d)    prevents the child from being removed from any hospital, or other place, in which he was being accommodated immediately before the making of the order.

(4)    Where an emergency protection order is in force, the applicant shall

(a)    only exercise the power given by virtue of subsection (3) (c) or (d) of this section in order to safeguard the welfare of the child;

(b)    take only such action, in meeting his parental responsibility for the child, as is reasonably required to safeguard or promote the welfare of the child, having regard, in particular, to the duration of the order; and

(c)    comply with the requirements of any regulations made by the Minister for the purposes of this subsection.

(5)    Where the Court makes an emergency protection order, it may give such directions as it considers appropriate with respect to

(a)    the contact which is, or is not, to be allowed between the child and any named person; or

(b)    medical or psychiatric examination or any other assessment of the child.

(6)    Where a direction is given under subsection (5) (b) of this section, the child may, if he has sufficient understanding to make an informed decision, refuse to submit to the examination or other assessment.

(7)    A direction given under subsection (5) (a) of this section may impose such conditions as the Court considers appropriate and a direction under subsection (5) (b) of this section may

(a)    prohibit the examination or assessment of the child; or

(b)    allow the examination or assessment of the child only when the Court so directs.

(8)    A direction under subsection (5) of this section may be

(a)    given when the emergency protection order is made or at any time while it is in force; and

(b)    varied at any time of the application of any class of persons prescribed by Rules of Court for the purposes of this subsection.

(9)    Where an emergency protection order is in force in respect of a child and the applicant has exercised the power conferred by

(a)    subsection (3) (c) of this section, but it appears to the applicant that it is safe for the child to be so returned; or

(b)    Subsection (3) (d) of this section, but it appears to the applicant that it is safe for the child to be allowed to be removed from the place in question, the applicant shall return the child or allow the child to be so removed, as the case may be.

(10) Where the applicant is required by subsection (9) of this section to return the child, the applicant shall –

(a)    return the child to the care of the person from whose care the child was removed; or

(b)    if that is not reasonably practicable, return the child to the care of

(i)     a parent of the child; or

(ii)    a person who, though not a parent of the child, has parental responsibility for the child; or

(iii)    such other person as the applicant, with the agreement of the Court, considers appropriate.

(11) Where the applicant has returned a child or allowed a child to be removed as required by subsection (9) of this section, the applicant may again, exercise the powers conferred by subsection (3)

(c)    and (d) of this section at any time while the emergency protection order remains in force, if it appears to the applicant that a change in the circumstances of the case makes it necessary for him to do so.

(12) Where an emergency protection order is in force, the applicant shall, subject to any direction given under subsection (5) of this section, allow the child reasonable contact with

(a)    the parent of the child;

(b)    a person who, though not a parent of the child, has parental responsibility for the child;

(c)    a person with whom the child was living immediately before the making of the order;

(d)    a person in whose favour a contact order is in force with respect to the child;

(e)    a person who is allowed to have contact with the child by virtue of an order made under section 55 of this Act; and

(f)     a person acting on behalf of any of the persons specified in paragraphs (a) to (e) of this subsection.

(13) Whether it is reasonably practicable to do so, an emergency protection order shall name the child, and where it does not name the child it shall describe the child, as clearly as possible.

(14) A person who willfully obstructs a person exercising the power under subsection (3) (c) and

(d)    of this section to remove, or prevent the removal of a child, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two thousand, five hundred naira or imprisonment for a term of three months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

43.    Duration of emergency protection orders, etc.

(1)    An emergency protection order shall have effect for such period, not exceeding nine days, as may be specified in the order.

(2)    Where the Court making an emergency protection order would, but for this subsection, specify a period of nine days as the period for which the order is to have effect, but the last of those nine days is a public holiday or a Sunday, the Court may specify a period which ends at noon on the first later day which is not a public holiday or a Sunday.

(3)    Where an emergency protection order is made on an application under section 42 of this Act, the period of nine days mentioned in subsection (2) of this section shall begin with the first day on which the child was taken into police protection under section 44 of this Act.

(4)    A person who

(a)    has parental responsibility for a child as a result of an emergency protection order; and

(b)    is entitled to apply for a care order with respect to a child, may apply to the Court for the extension of the period during which the emergency protection order is to have effect.

(5)    On an application under subsection (4) of this section, the Court may extend the period during which the order is to have effect, by such period, not exceeding seven days, if it has reasonable cause to believe that the child concerned is likely to suffer significant harm if the order is not extended.

(6)    An emergency protection order may only be extended once.

(7)    Notwithstanding any enactment or rule of law which would otherwise prevent it from doing so, a court hearing an application for, or with respect to an emergency protection order may take account of

(a)    any statement contained in any report made to the Court in the course of, or in connection with, hearing; or

(b)    any evidence given during the hearing, which is, in the opinion of the Court, relevant to the application.

(8)    Any of the following persons may apply to the Court for an emergency protection order to discharge

(a)    the child; or

(b)    a parent of a child; or

(c)    a person who has parental responsibility for the child; or

(d)    a person with whom the child was living immediately before making of the order.

(9)    No application for the discharge of an emergency protection order shall be heard by the Court before the expiry of the period of seventytwo hours beginning with the making of the order.

(10) No appeal may be made against the making of, or refusal to make, an emergency protection order or against any directions given by the Court in connection with the emergency protection order.

(11) Subsection (8) of this section does not apply

(a)    where the person who would otherwise be entitled to apply for the discharge of the emergency protection order

(i)     was given notice, in accordance with the Rules of Court, of the hearing at which the order was made; and

(ii)    was present at the hearing; or

(b)    to any emergency protection order, the effective period of which has been extended under subsection (5) of this section.

(12) A court making an emergency protection order may direct that the applicant may, in exercising any power which he has by virtue of the order, be accompanied by a registered medical practitioner, registered nurse or registered health visitor, if he so chooses.

44.    Children taken into police protection in cases of emergency

(1)    Where the specialised children police in a State has reasonable cause to believe that a child is otherwise likely to suffer significant harm, a specialised children police officer may take the child into police protection by

(a)    removing the child to an Emergency Protection Centre or any other approved suitable accommodation and keeping the child there; or

(b)    taking such steps as are reasonable to prevent the child from being removed from any hospital, or other place, in which the child is then being accommodated.

(2)    As soon as is reasonably practicable after taking a child into police protection, the police officer concerned shall

(a)    inform the State Government within whose area the child was taken of the steps that have been, and are to be taken with respect to the child under this section and the reasons for taking those steps;

(b)    give details of the case to the appropriate authority within whose area the child is ordinarily resident, that is, the appropriate authority of the place in which the child is being accommodated;

(c)    inform the child, if he appears capable of understanding, of –

(i)     the steps that have been taken with respect to him under this section and of the reasons for taking those steps; and

(ii)    further steps that may be taken with respect to him under this section;

(d)    take such steps as are reasonably practicable to discover the wishes and feelings of the child ;

(e)    secure that the case is enquired into by an officer designated for the purpose of this section by the officer in charge of the specialised children police in the State concerned; and

(f)     where the child was taken into protection by being removed to an accommodation which is not provided

(i)     by or on behalf of a State Government,

(ii)    as a refuge, in compliance with the requirements of section 48 of this Act, secure that he is moved to an Emergency Protection Centre or any other approved suitable accommodation which is so provided.

(3)    As soon as is reasonably practicable after taking child into police protection, the police officer concerned shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable to inform

(a)    the parents of the child;

(b)    a person who, though not a parent of the child, has parental responsibility for the child; and

(c)    any other person with whom the child was living Immediately before being taken into police protection, the reasons for taking those steps and the further steps that may be taken with respect to the child under this section.

(4)    A police officer designated under subsection (3) (c) of this section shall, on completing an enquiry under that subsection, release the child from police protection unless he considers that there is still reasonable cause for believing that the child is likely to suffer significant harm if released.

(5)    No child may be kept in police protection for more than seventytwo hours.

(6)    While a child is being kept in police protection, the designated officer may apply on behalf of the appropriate authority for an emergency protection order to be made under section 42 of this Act with respect to the child.

(7)    An application may be made under subsection (6) of this section whether or not the appropriate authority knows of it or agrees to its being made.

(8)    While a child is being kept in police protection, the police officer concerned or the designated officer shall not have parental responsibility for him, but designated officer shall do what is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the child, having regard in particular to the length of the period during which the child will be so protected.

(9)    Where a child has been taken into police protection, the designated officer shall allow

(a)    the parents of the child;

(b)    a person who, though not a parent of the child has parental responsibility for the child;

(c)    a person with whom the child was living immediately before he was taken into police protection;

(d)    a person in whose favour a contact order is in force with respect to the child;

(e)    a person who is allowed to have contact with the child by virtue of an order made under section 55 of this Act; or

(f)     a person acting on behalf of the persons specified in paragraphs (a) to (e) of this subsection, to have such contact, if any, with the child as, in the opinion of the designated officer, in reasonable and in the best interest of the child.

(10) Where a child who has been taken into police protection is in an accommodation provided by, or on behalf of, the appropriate authority, subsection (9) of this section shall have effect as if references to designated officer were references to the appropriate authority.

45.    Duty of a State Government to investigate

(1)    Where a State Government

(a)    is informed that a child who lives, or is found, in the State

(i)     is the subject of an emergency protection order; or

(ii)    has been taken into police protection; or

(b)    has reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in the State, is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, the State Government shall make, or cause to be made, such enquiries as it considers necessary to enable it to decide whether it should take any action to safeguard or promote the welfare of the child.

(2)    Where a State Government has obtained an emergency protection order with respect to a child, it shall make, or cause to be made, such enquiries as it considers necessary to enable it to decide what action it should take to safeguard or promote the welfare of the child.

(3)    The enquiries made under subsection (2) of this section shall, in particular, be directed towards establishing

(a)    whether the State Government should make an applicant to the Court, or exercise any of its other powers under this Act, with respect to the child;

(b)    whether, in the case of a child

(i)     with respect to whom an emergency protection order has been made; and

(ii)    who is not in accommodation provided by or on behalf of the appropriate authority, it would be in the best interest of the child, while an emergency protection order remains in force for the child to be in an accommodation so provided; and

(c)    whether in the case of a child who has been taken into police protection, it would be in the best interests of the child for the appropriate authority to ask for an application to be made under section 43(6) of this Act.

(4)    Where enquiries are being made under subsection (1) of this section with respect to a child, the State Government concerned shall, with a view to enabling it to determine what action, if any, to take respect to the child, take such steps as are reasonably practicable to

(a)    obtain access to the child; or

(b)    ensure that access to the child is obtained, on its behalf, by a person authorised by it for the purpose, unless the State Government is satisfied that it already has sufficient information with respect to the child.

(5)    Where, as a result of enquiries under this section, it appears to the State Government that there are matters connected with the education of the child which should be investigated, it shall consult the relevant education authority.

(6)    Where, in the course of enquiries under this section, an officer of the State Government concerned or a person authorised by the State Government to act on its behalf in connection with those enquiries is –

(a)    refused access to the child concerned; or

(b)    denied information as to the whereabouts of the child, the State Government shall apply for an emergency protection order, a child assessment order, a care order or a supervision order with respect to the child, unless it is satisfied that the welfare of the child can be satisfactorily safeguarded without its doing so.

(7)    If, on conclusion of any enquiry or review made under this section, the State decides not to apply for an emergency protection order, a child assessment order, a care order, or a supervision order, it shall

(a)    consider whether it would be appropriate to review the case at a later date; and

(b)    if it decides that it would be appropriate to review the case, determine the date on which that review is to begin.

(8)    Where, as a result of complying with this section, a State Government concludes that it should take action to safeguard or promote the welfare of the child, it shall take that action, if the action is within its power and it is reasonably practicable for it to do so.

(9)    Where a State Government is making an enquiry under this section, the State Government referred to in subsection (11) of this section shall assist it with the enquiry, in particular, by providing relevant information and advice, if called on by the State Government to do so.

(10) Subsection (9) of this section does not oblige a State Government to assist any other State Government where doing so would be unreasonable in all circumstances of the case.

(11) Where a State Government is making an enquiry under this section with respect to a child who appears to it to be ordinarily resident within another State, it shall consult the Government of that other State and the Government of that other State may undertake the necessary enquiry in the place of the State Government that commenced the enquiry.

46.    Disclosure of whereabouts, etc. of children who may be in need of emergency protection

(1)    Where it appears to a court making an emergency protection order that adequate information as to the whereabouts of a child

(a)    is not available to the applicant for the emergency protection order; or

(b)    is available to another person who is not the applicant, the Court may include, in the order, a provision requiring that other person to disclose, if asked to do so by the applicant, any information that he may have as to the whereabouts of the child.

(2)    No person shall be excused from complying with a requirement under subsection (1) of this section on the grounds that complying might incriminate him or his spouse of an offence, but a statement or admission made in compliance with the requirement shall not be admissible in evidence against either of them in proceedings for an offence, other than perjury .

(3)    An emergency protection order may authorize the applicant to enter premises specified by the order and search for the child with respect to whom the order is made, and the Court may, if satisfied that there is reasonable cause to believe that there may be another child on those premises with respect to whom an emergency protection order ought to be made, make an order authorizing the applicant to search for the other child on those premises.

(4)    Where

(a)    an order has been made under subsection (3) of this section;

(b)    the child concerned has been found on the premises; and

(c)    the applicant is satisfied that the grounds for making emergency protection order exist with respect to the child, the applicant shall notify the Court, accordingly.

(5)    A person who willfully obstructs a person exercising the power of entry and search under subsection (3) of this section commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of twenty thousand naira or imprisonment for a term of three months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

47.    Abduction of children in care, etc.

(1)    A person who knowingly and without lawful authority or reasonable excuse

(a)    takes or keeps a child to whom this section applies away from the person responsible for the child; or

(b)    induces, assists or incites a child to whom this section applies to run away or stay away from the person responsible for the child, commits an offence under this section and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding seventy thousand naira or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(2)    This section applies in relation to a child who is

(a)    in care;

(b)    the subject of an emergency protection order ; or

(c)    taken into police protection

48.    Refuge for children at risk

(1)    Where it is proposed to use a voluntary home or registered children’s home to provide refuge for children who appear to be at risk of harm, the Minister may issue a certificate under this section with respect to that home.

(2)    Where an appropriate authority or a voluntary organisation arranges for a foster parent to provide such a refuge, the Minister may issue a certificate under this section with respect to that foster parent.

(3)    Where a certificate is in force with respect to a home, none of the provisions contained in this Act or any other law relating to

(a)    the harbouring of a child who has absconded from residential establishments; or

(b)    compelling, persuading, inciting or assisting a child to be absent from detention; or

(c)    the abduction of a child, shall apply in relation to a person providing refuge for a child in that home.

(4)    Where a certificate is in force with respect to a foster parent, the provisions referred to in subsection (3) of this section shall not apply in relation to the provision by him of a refuge for a child in accordance with arrangements made by the appropriate authority or voluntary organisation.

(5)    The Minister may by regulations

(a)    make provisions as to the manner in which certificates, may be issued;

(b)    impose conditions which shall be complied with while a certificate is in force; and

(c)    provide for the withdrawal of certificates in prescribed circumstances.

49.    Rules and regulations under this Part

(1)    Without prejudice to section 165 of this Act or any other power to make such rules, the Court may make rules specifying the procedure to be followed in connection with the proceedings under this Part of this Act.

(2)    The rules may, in particular, make provisions

(a)    as to the form in which an application is to be made or a direction is to be given;

(b)    prescribing the persons who are to be notified of

(i)     the making or extension, of an emergency protection order; or

(ii)    the making of an application under section 42 (4) or (5) or 43 (6) of this Act; and

(c)    as to the content of any notification and the manner in which, and the person by whom, it is to be given.

(3)    The Ministry may, by regulations, provide that, where

(a)    an emergency protection order has been made with respect to a child;

(b)    the applicant for the order was not the appropriate authority within whose area the child is ordinarily resident; and

(c)    the appropriate authority is of the opinion that it would be in the best interest of the child for the applicant’s responsibilities under the order to be transformed to it, the appropriate authority shall, subject to its having complied with any conditions imposed by the regulations, be treated, for the purpose of this Act, as though it and not the original applicant had applied for, and been granted, the order.

(4)    Regulations made under subsection (3) of this section may, in particular, make provisions as to

(a)    the considerations to which the appropriate authority is to have regard in informing an opinion as mentioned in subsection (3) (c) of this section; and

(b)    the time at which responsibility under any emergency protection order is to be treated as having been transferred to an appropriate authority .

PART V

Children in Need of Care and Protection

50.    Power of certain persons to bring children in need to care and protection before a court in certain cases

(1)    A child development officer, a police officer or any other person authorised by the Minister may bring a child before the Court if he has reasonable grounds for believing that the child

(a)    is an orphan or is deserted by his relatives;

(b)    has been neglected or illtreated or battered by the person having the care and custody of the child;

(c)    has a parent or guardian who does not exercise proper guidance and control over the child;

(d)    if found destitute, has both parents or his surviving parent, undergoing imprisonment or mentally disordered or otherwise severely incapacitated;

(e)    is under the care of a parent or guardian who, by reason of criminal or drunken habits, is unfit to have the care of the child;

(f)     is the daughter of a father who has been convicted of the offence of defilement or indecent treatment of any of his daughters;

(g)    is found wandering or has no home or settled place of abode, is on the street or other public place, or has no visible means of subsistence;

(h)    is found begging or receiving alms, whether or not there is any pretence of singing, playing, performing, offering anything for sale or otherwise or is found in any street, premises or place for the purpose of so beginning or receiving alms;

(i)     accompanies any person when that person is begging or receiving alms, whether or not there is any pretence of singing, playing, performing, offering anything for sale, or otherwise;

(j)     frequents the company of a reputed thief or common or reputed prostitute;

(k)    is lodging or residing in a house or the part of a house used by a prostitute for the purpose of prostitution, or is otherwise living in circumstances calculated to cause, encourage of favour the seduction or prostitution of the child;

(l )    is a child in relation to whom an offence against morality has been committed or attempted;

(m)   is otherwise exposed to moral or physical danger;

(n)    is otherwise in need of care, protection or control; or

(o)    is beyond the control of his parents or guardians.

(2)    The person making an application under subsection (1) of this section shall, before the hearing of the application, take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that notice of the application is given to

(a)    the parents of the child; or

(b)    a person who, though not a parent of the child, has parental responsibility for the child; or

(c)    any other person who has the care of the child; and

(d)    the child concerned, if he has sufficient understanding.

(3)    The Court, if satisfied that a child brought before it comes within any of the paragraphs of subsection (1) of this section may

(a)    cause the parent or guardian of the child to enter into a recognisance to exercise proper care and guardianship over the child; or

(b)    make a corrective order

(i)     committing the child to the care of any first person whether a relative or not, who is willing to undertake the care of the child; or

(ii)    sending the child to an approved institution, in exceptional circumstances where a noninstitutional measure is impracticable or inappropriate;

(c)    without making any other order, or in addition to making an order under paragraph (b) of this subsection, make an order placing the child for a specified period, not exceeding three years, under the supervision of a supervision officer, or of some other person appointed for the purpose by the Court.

(4)    A child shall not be deemed to come within the scope of paragraph (j) of subsection (1) of this section, if the only common or reputed prostitute whose company the child frequents is the mother of the child and it is proved that she exercises proper guidance and due care to protect the child from moral danger.

(5)    For the purpose of paragraph (m) of subsection (1) of this section, but without prejudice to the generality of the words thereof, the fact that a child is found

(a)    destitute or wandering, without any settled place of abode and without visible means of subsistence;

(b)    begging or receiving alms, whether or not there is any pretence of singing, playing, performing or offering anything for sale or otherwise;

(c)    loitering for the purpose of begging or receiving alms;

(d)    hawking or street trading; or

(e)    living in the streets, under bridges, in market places, in motor parks or in other public places, is evidence that the child is exposed to moral danger.

(6)    A court, before which a person is convicted of having committed, in respect of a child, any offence referred to in paragraph (f) or (i) of subsection (1) of this section, may

(a)    direct that the child be brought before a court with a view to that court making such order under subsection (2) of this section as may be proper; or

(b)    if satisfied that the evidence before it is sufficient to enable it properly exercise jurisdiction, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in Part XIII of this Act, make any order which the court has power to make.

51.    Make order where parent or guardian is unable to exercise control

Where the Court is satisfied that the parent or guardian of a child is unable to control the child the Court may, if further satisfied

(a)    that it is expedient so to deal with the child; and .

(b)    that the parent or guardian understands the results which will follow from the consents to making of the order, make a corrective order in respect of the child or order the child to be placed for a specified period, not exceeding three years, under the supervision of an appropriate supervisory child development officer or of some other person appointed for the purpose by the Court.

52.    Power of Court to order parent, etc., to contribute to maintenance

(1)    Where a child is committed

(a)    to the care of an individual under this Act; or

(b)    in exceptional circumstances, to an approved institution or any other institution, and the Court is satisfied that the need for the order arose from the neglect on the part of any of the persons named in subsection (2) of this section, the Court may order that person to make such contribution towards the maintenance of the child as it may think fit, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the means of the person ordered to make the contribution.

(2)    The persons referred to in subsection (1) of this section are

(a)    the father, stepfather, mother or stepmother of the child; or

(b)    a person who is cohabiting with the mother or stepmother of the child, whether or not he is the putative father of the child; or

(c)    the person in whose care and custody the child has been during the two years immediately preceding the date of the order or committal.

(3)    The Court shall order the contribution of such amount per week, per month or per each such period as it deems proper having regard to the means and earning capacity of the person ordered to make the contribution and other relevant circumstances.

(4)    If a person fails or neglects to comply with an order made under subsection (1) of this section, the Court may for every breach of the order direct the amount due to be levied in the manner, by law provided for levying distress in the enforcement of damages or other awards ordered by a court in a civil proceeding.

(5)    The Court which has the jurisdiction over the place in which the person or persons liable to make contribution may, at any time, on the application of the person or persons or on the application of an officer of the appropriate authority or other authorised officer, and on proof of a change of circumstances in the person or persons so required to make the contribution, increase or reduce the contribution or rescind any order as the Court may deem just.

PART VI

Care And Supervision

53.    Care and supervision order, general

(1)    The Court may, on the application of a State Government, an appropriate authority or any other authorised person make a

(a)    care order, placing a child with respect to whom an application is made in the care of a designated authorised person, appropriate authority or the State Government;

(b)    supervision order, placing a child under the supervision of a designated appropriate authority or supervision officer.

(2)    A Court may make a care order or supervision order if it is satisfied that

(a)    the care given to the child, or likely to be given to the child if the order were not made, is not what a parent would reasonably be expected to give to the child; or

(b)    the child is beyond parental control.

(3)    No care order or supervision order shall be made with respect to a person who has attained the age of eighteen years.

(4)    An application under this section may be made on its own or in any other family proceedings.

(5)    The Court may, on an application

(a)    for a care order, make a supervision order;

(b)    for a supervision order, make a care order.

(6)    An authorised person who proposes to make an application under this section, shall .

(a)    if it is reasonably practicable to do so ; and

(b)    before making the application, consult the State Government or the appropriate authority appearing to him to be the authority in whose jurisdiction the child concerned is ordinarily resident.

(7)    An application for a care order or a supervision order made by an authorised person shall not be entertained by the Court if, at the time when it is made, the child concerned is

(a)    the subject of an earlier application for a care order or supervision order, which has not been disposed of; or

(b)    subject to a care order or supervision order.

(8)    The State designated in a care order or supervision order shall

(a)    be the State in which the child is ordinarily resident; or

(b)    where the child does not reside in the State, be the State in which any circumstances arose in consequence of which the order is being made.

(9)    Where the question as to whether harm suffered by a child is significant turns on the child’s health or development, his health or development shall be compared with that which could reasonably be expected of a child of similar circumstances.

54.    Period within which application for order under this Part must be disposed of

(1)    A court before which an application for a order is brought under this Part of this Act shall, in consideration of any rules made pursuant to subsection (2) of this section

(a)    draw up a timetable with a view to disposing of the application without delay; and

(b)    give such directions as it considers appropriate for the purpose of ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the timetable is adhered to.

(2)    The Court may by rules

(a)    specify the period within which specified steps must be taken in relation to the proceedings; and

(b)    make other provisions with respect to the proceedings for the purpose of ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the proceedings are disposed of without delay.

55.    Effect of care order

(1)    Where a care order is made, the State Government and the appropriate authority designated by the order shall receive the child into its care and keep the child in its care while the order remains in force.

(2)    Where

(a)    a care cider has been made on the application of an authorised person; and

(b)    the State Government or appropriate authority designated by the order was not informed of the application, the child may be kept in the care of that person until received into the care of the State Government or the appropriate authority.

(3)    While a care order is in force, the State Government or appropriate authority designated by the order shall have

(a)    parental responsibility for the child, subject to any right, duty, power, responsibility or authority which a parent or guardian of the child has in relation to the child and his property by virtue of any other enactment; and

(b)    the power, subject to the following provisions of this section, to determine the extent to which a parent or guardian of the child may meet his parental responsibility for the child.

(4)    The State Government or appropriate authority shall not exercise power in subsection (3) (b) of this section unless it is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order to safeguard or promote the welfare of the child.

(5)    Nothing in subsection (3) (b) of this section shall prevent a parent or guardian of the child who has care of the child from doing what is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the child.

(6)    While a care order is in force with respect to a child, the State Government or the appropriate authority designated by the order shall not

(a)    cause the child to be brought up in any religious persuasion, other than that in which he would have been brought up if the order had not been made; or

(b)    have the right to

(i)     consent or withhold consent to the making of an application with respect to the child under the adoption provisions of this Act; or

(ii)    appoint a guardian for the child.

(7)    While a care order is in force with respect to a child, no person shall

(a)    cause the child to be known by a new surname; or

(b)    remove the child from the State of jurisdiction, without either the written consent of every person who has parental responsibility for the child or the leave of the Court.

(8)    Subsection (7) (b) of this section shall not

(a)    prevent the removal of a child from the state of jurisdiction, for a period of less than one month, by the authority in whose care he is ; or

(b)    apply to arrangements for a child to live outside the State, if the required written consent or the leave of the Court has been obtained.

(9)    The making of a care order with respect to a child who is subject to a contact order, a prohibited steps order, a residence order or a specific issue order, discharges the contact order, the prohibited steps order, the residence order or the specific issue order.

(10) The making of a care order with respect to a child who is

(a)    the subject of a supervision order, discharges the supervision order;

(b)    a ward of court, brings that wardship to an end; and .

(c)    the subject of a school attendance order, discharges the school attendance order.

(11) Where an emergency protection order is made with respect to a child who is in care, the care order shall have effect subject to the emergency protection order.

(12) Any order made under section 69 or 84 of this Act shall continue in force until the child attains the age of eighteen years, unless it is brought to an end earlier,

(13) An

(a)    agreement under section 70 of this Act; and

(b)    appointment under section 84 (3) of (4) of this Act, shall continue in force until the child attains the age of eighteen, unless it is brought to an end earlier.

(14) The provisions of First Schedule to this Act shall have effect with respect to financial relief for children.

(15) Subject to this Act, an order made under this section shall, if it would otherwise continue in force, cease to have effect when the child attains the age of eighteen years.

(16) Where an order under this section has effect with respect to a child who has attained the age of sixteen, it shall, if it would otherwise continue in force, cease to have effect when the child attains the age of eighteen years.

(17) A care order, other than an interim care order, shall continue in force until the child attains the age of eighteen years, unless it is brought to an end earlier.

(18) An order made under any other provisions of this Act in relation to a child shall, if it would otherwise continue in force, cease to have effect when he attains the age of eighteen years.

(19) Where an application (in this section referred to as “the previous application”) has been made for

(a)    the discharge of a care order;

(b)    the discharge of a supervision order;

(c)    the discharge of an education supervision order; or

(d)    the substitution of a supervision order for a care order; or

(e)    a child assessment order, no further application of a kind mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (e) of this subsection may be made with respect to the child concerned, without leave of the Court, unless the period between the disposal of the previous application and the making of the further application exceeds six months.

(20) Subsection (19) of this section does not apply to applications made in relation to interim orders.

(21) Where

(a)    an application made for an order under section 58 of this Act has been refused; and ,

(b)    a period of less than six months has elapsed since the refusal, the person who made the application shall not make a further application for such an order with respect to the same child, unless he has obtained the leave of the Court.

(22) On disposing of an application for an order under this Act, the Court may, whether or not it makes any other order in response to the application, order that no application for an order under this  Act of any specified kind may be made with respect to the child concerned by any person named in the order without leave of the Court.

56.    Parental contacts, etc., with children in care

(1)    A State Government or an appropriate authority, shall, subject to the provisions of this section, allow a child under its care, reasonable contact with

(a)    the parents of the child;

(b)    the guardian of the child;

(c)    a person in whose favour a residence order was previously made immediately before a care order was made; and

(d)    a person who, immediately before the care order was made, had care of the child by virtue of an order made by the Court .

(2)    On an application made by the State Government, appropriate authority or the child, the Court may make such order as it considers appropriate with respect to the contact which is to be allowed between the child and a named person.

(3)    On an application made by

(a)    a person mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (d) of subsection (1) of this section; or

(b)    a person who has obtained leave of the Court to make the application, the Court may make such order as it considers appropriate with respect to the contact which is to be allowed between the child and that person.

(4)    On an application made by the State Government or the appropriate authority with respect to the child, the Court may make an order authorising the State Government or the appropriate authority to refuse to allow contact between the child and a person who is mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (d) of subsection (1) of this section and named in the order.

(5)    When making a care order, or in any family proceeding in connection with a child who is in the care of a State Government, the court may make an order under this section, notwithstanding that no application for the order has been made with respect to the child, if it considers that the order should be made.

(6)    The state Government or appropriate authority may refuse to allow the contact that would otherwise be required by virtue of Subsection (1) of this section or an order made under this section if and

(a)    it is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order to safeguard or promote the welfare of the child;

(b)    the refusal

(i)     is decided on as a matter of urgency , and

(ii)    does not last for more seven days.

(7)    An order made under this section may impose such conditions as the Court considers appropriate.

(8)    The Court may vary or discharge an order made under this section on the application of the State Government or appropriate authority, the child concerned or the person named in the order.

(9)    An order under this section may be made at the same time as the care order itself or later.

(10) The Court shall, before making a care order

(a)    consider the arrangement which the State Government or appropriate authority has made, or proposes to make, for affording a person contact with a child to whom this section applies; and

(b)    invite me parties to me proceedings to comment on the arrangement

(11) The Minister may by regulations make provisions as to

(a)    the steps to be taken by a State Government or an appropriate authority that has exercised its powers under subsection (6) of this section;

(b)    the circumstances in which and conditions subject to which, the terms and conditions of an order made under this section may be departed from by agreement between the appropriate authority and the person in relation to whom the order is made; and

(c)    notification by a State Government or an appropriate authority of any variation or suspension of arrangements made, otherwise than under this section, with a view to affording a person contact with a child to whom this section applies

57.    Duty of supervisors while supervision orders are in force

(1)    While a supervision order is in force the supervisor shall

(a)    advise, assist and befriend the supervised child;

(b)    take such steps as are reasonably necessary to give effect to the order; and

(c)    where

(i)     the order is not wholly complied with, or

(ii)    the supervisor considers that the order may no longer be necessary, consider whether or not to apply to the Court for its variation or discharge.

(2)    The supplementary provisions set out in Parts I and II of the Second Schedule to this Act shall apply with respect to supervision orders.

58.    Education supervision orders

(1)    On the application of an appropriate education authority, the court may make an order to be known as an education supervision order putting the child with respect to whom the application is made under the supervision of a designate appropriate education authority.

(2)    The Court shall only make in education supervision order if it is satisfied that the child concerned is of compulsory school age and is not being properly educated.

(3)    For the purposes of this section, a child is being properly educated only if he is receiving efficient fulltime education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude and any special educational needs he may have.

(4)    Where a child is

(a)    the subject of a school attendance order which is in force and which has not been complied with; or

(b)    a registered pupil at a school which he is not attending regularly, it shall be assumed that he is not being properly educated unless the contrary is proved,

(5)    An education supervision order may be made with respect to a child who is in the care of a State Government if the court deems it necessary in the interest of the child.

(6)    The appropriate education authority designated in an education supervising order shall be

(a)    the authority within whose area the child concerned is living or will live; or

(b)    the authority within whose area a school is situated if

(i)     the child is a registered pupil at that school; and

(ii)    the authority mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection and the authority within whose area the school is situated agree.

(7)    An appropriate education authority which proposes to make an application for an education supervision order shall, before making the application, consult the child services committee or unit of the appropriate authority.

(8)    The supplementary provisions set out in Part III of the Second Schedule to this Act shall apply with respect to education supervision orders.

59.    Power of Court in proceedings where question of welfare of child arises

(1)    Where, it appears to the Court in proceedings in which a question arises as to the welfare of a child, that it may be appropriate for a care or supervision order to be made with respect to that child, the Court may direct the appropriate authority to undertake an investigation of the child’s circumstances.

(2)    Where the Court gives a direction under this section, the appropriate authority concerned shall, when undertaking the investigation, consider whether it should

(a)    apply for a care order or a supervision order with respect to the child; or

(b)    provide services as assistance for the child and his family; or

(c)    take any other action with respect to the child.

(3)    Where the appropriate authority undertakes an investigation under this section and decides not to apply for a care order or supervision order with respect to the child concerned, the appropriate authority shall inform the Court of

(a)    its reasons for so deciding;

(b)    any service or assistance which it has provided, or intends to provide, for the child and his family; and

(c)    any other action which it has taken or proposes to take, with respect to the child.

(4)    The information referred to in subsection (3) of this section shall be given to the Court before the end of the period of eight weeks, beginning with the date of the direction, unless the Court otherwise directs.

(5)    If, on the conclusion of an investigation or review under this section, the appropriate authority decides not to apply for a care order or supervision order with respect to the child, the appropriate authority shall consider whether it would be appropriate to review the case at a later date.

(6)    If the appropriate authority, decides that it would review the case pursuant to subsection (5) of this section, it shall determine the date ob which that review is to begin.

(7)    In this section, the appropriate authority, means

(a)    the authority in whose State the child is ordinarily resident; or

(b)    where the child does not reside in the State, the authority within whose State any circumstances arose in consequence of which the direction is being given

60.    Interim orders

(1)    Where

(a)    in any proceeding on an application for a care or supervision order, the proceeding is adjourned; or

(b)    the Court gives a direction under section 59 (1) of this Act, the Court may make an interim care order ,or an interim supervision order with respect to the child concerned.

(2)    The Court shall not make an interim care order or interim supervision order under this section unless it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the circumstances with respect to the child are as mentioned in Section 53 (2) of this Act.

(3)    Where, in any proceeding on an application for a care order or supervision order, the Court makes a residence order with respect to the child concerned, it shall also make an interim supervision order with respect to the child unless it is satisfied that the welfare of the child will be satisfactorily safeguard without an interim supervision order being made.

(4)    An interim order made under or by virtue of this section shall have effect for such period as may be specified in the order, but shall cease to have effect on whichever of the following events first occurs

(a)    the expiry of the period of ten weeks beginning with the date on which the order is made;

(b)    if the order is the second or is subsequent to an order made with respect to the same child in the same proceedings, the expiry of the relevant period;

(c)    in a case which falls within subsection (1) (a) of this section, the disposal of an application;

(d)    in a case which falls within subsection (1) (b) of this section, the disposal of an application for a care order or supervision order made by the appropriate authority with respect to the child;

(e)    in a case which falls within subsection (1) (b) of this section and in which the court has given a direction under section 62 (1) of this Act, but no application for a care order or supervision order has been made with respect to the child, the expiry of the period fixed by that direction.

(5)    Where the Court makes an interim care order or interim supervision order, it may give such directions, if any, as it considers appropriate with regard to the medical examination, including psychiatric examination, or other assessment of the child, but if the child has sufficient understanding to make an informal decision he may refuse to submit to the examination or other assessment.

(6)    A direction under subsection (5) of this section may provide that there shall be

(a)    no examination or assessment; or

(b)    no examination or assessment unless the Court directs otherwise.

(7)    A direction under subsection (5) of this section may be

(a)    given when the interim care order or interim supervision order is made or at any time while it is in force; and

(b)    varied at any time on the application of any person falling within any class of persons prescribed by Rules or Court for the purposes or this subsection.

(8)    Where the Court makes an order under or by virtue of this section it shall, in determining the period for which the order is to be in force, consider whether any party who was, or might have been opposed to the making of the order was in a position to argue his case against the order in full.

(9)    The provisions set out in paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Second Schedule to this Act shall not apply in relation to an interim supervision order.

61.    Discharge and variation, etc., of care orders and supervision orders

(1)    The Court may vary or discharge a care order on the application of

(a)    a person who has parental responsibility for the child; or

(b)    the child himself ; or

(c)    The state Government or appropriate authority designated by the order.

(2)    The Court may vary or discharge a supervision order on the application of

(a)    a person who has parental responsibility for the child;

(b)    the child himself; or

(c)    the supervisor.

(3)    On the application of a person who is not entitled to apply for the order to be discharged, but who is a person with whom the child is living, the Court may vary a supervision order in so far as it imposes a requirement which affects that person.

(4)    Where a care order is in force, the Court may, on the application of any person entitled to apply for the order to be discharged, substitute a supervision order for the care order.

(5)    When the Court is considering whether to substitute one order for another under subsection (4) of this section, any provision of this Act which would otherwise require section 52 (2) of this Act to be satisfied, at the time when proposed order is substituted or made, shall be disregarded.

(6)    The making of a residence order with respect to a child who is the subject of a care order discharges the care order.

62.    Orders pending appeals in cases relating to care or supervision orders

(1)    Where the Court dismisses an application for a care order in respect of a child who is also the subject of an interim care order, the Court may make a care order with respect to the child to have effect subject to such directions, if any, as the Court may deem fit to include in the order.

(2)    Where the court dismisses an application for a care order or supervision order in respect of a child who is also the subject of an interim supervision order, the Court may make a supervision order with respect to the Child to have effect subject to such directions, if any, as the court may deem fit to include in the order.

(3)    Where a Court grants an application to discharge a care order or supervision order, it may order that

(a)    Its decision is not to have effect; or

(b)    the care order or supervision order is to continue to have effect subject to such directions as the Court may deem fit to include in the order.

(4)    An Order made under this section shall only have effect for such period, not exceeding the appeal period, as may be specified in the order.

(5)    Where –

(a)    an appeal is made against any decision of a Court under this section; or

(b)    an application is made to the appellate Court in connection with a proposed appeal against that decision, the appellate Court may extend the period for which the order in question is to have effect, but not so as to extend It beyond the end of the appeal period.

(6)    For the purposes of this section. the appeal period includes

(a)    the period between the making of the decision against which the appeal is made and the determination of the appeal ; and

(b)    the period during which an appeal may be made against the decision.

PART VII

Provisions for use of Scientific Tests in Determining Paternity or Maternity, etc

63.    Power of Court to require use of scientific tests

(1)    In any civil proceeding in which the paternity or maternity of a person falls to be determined by the Court hearing the proceedings, the Court may, on an application by a party to the proceedings, give a direction for –

(a)    the use of scientific tests, including blood tests and Deoxyribonucleic Acid tests, to ascertain whether the tests show that a party to the proceedings is or is not the father or mother of that person: and

(b)    for the taking, within a period to be specified in the direction, of blood or other samples from that person, the mother of that person, the father of that person and any party alleged to be the father or mother of that person or from any two of those persons.

(2)    The Court may at any time revoke or vary a direction previously given by it under subsection

(1)    of this section.

(3)    Where

(a)    an application is made for a direction under this section; and

(b)    the person whose paternity or maternity is in issue is under the age of eighteen when the application is made, the application shall specify who is to carry out the tests.

(4)    In the case of a direction made on an application to which subsection (3) of this section applies the Court .

(a)    shall specify that the person who is to carry out the test is the person specified in the application; or

(b)    may, where the Court considers that it would be inappropriate to specify the person referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection, because specifying that person would be contrary to any provision of regulations made under section 65 of this Act or for any other reason, decline to give the direction applied for.

(5)    The person responsible for carrying out blood tests taken for the purpose of giving effect to a direction under this section shall make, to the Court which gave the direction, a report in which he shall state

(a)    the result of the tests;

(b)    whether the party to whom the report relates is or is not indicated by the results as the father or mother of the person whose paternity or maternity, as the case may be, is to be determined; and

(c)    if the party is so indicated, the value, if any, of the results in determining whether that party is actually the father or mother of that person.

(6)    The report made under subsection (5) of this section shall be

(a)    received by the Court as evidence in the proceedings of the matters stated in the report; and

(b)    in the form prescribed by regulations made under section 65 of this Act.

(7)    Where a report has been made to the Court under subsection (5) of this section, any party to the proceedings may, with the leave of the Court, or shall, if the Court so directs, obtain from the person who made the report a written statement explaining or amplifying any statement made in the report, and that statement shall be deemed for the purposes of this section, except subsection (5) (b) of this section, to form part of the report made to the Court.

(8)    Where a direction is given under this section in any proceedings, a party to the proceedings, shall not, unless the Court otherwise directs, be entitled to call as a witness

(a)    the person who carried out the tests taken for the purpose of giving effect to the direction; or

(b)    any person who did anything necessary for the purpose of enabling those tests to be carried out, unless within fourteen days after receiving a copy of the report that party serves notice on the other parties to the proceedings or on such of those other parties as the Court may direct, of his intention to call that person, and where a person is called as a witness the party who called the person shall be entitled to crossexamine that person.

(9)    Where a direction is given under this section, the party on whose application the direction is given shall pay the cost of taking and testing blood or other samples for the purpose of giving effect to the direction, including any expenses reasonably incurred by any person

(a)    in taking any step required of the person for the purpose; and .

(b)    in making a report to the Court under this section, but the amount paid shall be treated as costs incurred by the party in the proceedings.

64.    Consents, etc., required for taking scientific samples

(1)    Subject to the provisions of subsection (3) and (4) of this section, scientific sample which is required to be taken from any person for the purpose of giving effect to a direction under section 63 of this Act shall not be taken from that person except with his consent.

(2)    The consent of a child who has attained the age of sixteen years to the taking from himself of a scientific sample shall be as effective as it would be if he had attained the age of majority and where a child has by a virtue of this subsection given an effective consent to the taking of scientific sample, it shall not be necessary to obtain any consent for it from any other person.

(3)    A scientific sample may be taken from a child under the age of sixteen years, not being a child as is referred to in subsection (4) of this section, if the person who had the care and control of the child consents.

(4)    A scientific sample may be taken from a child who

(a)    is suffering from mental disorder within the meaning of any relevant law in Nigeria; and

(b)    is incapable of understanding the nature and purpose of the scientific tests, if the person who has the care and control of the child consents and the medical practitioner in whose care he is has certified that the taking of the scientific sample from the child shall not be prejudicial to his proper care and treatment.

(5)    The provisions of this section are without prejudice to the provisions of section 66 of this Act.

65.    Power of Minister to provide for manner of giving effect to directions for use of scientific tests

The Minister may by regulations make provisions as to the manner of giving effect to directions given under section 63 of this Act and, in particular, the regulations may

(a)    provide that scientific samples shall not be taken except by such medical practitioners as may be appointed by the Minister;

(b)    regulate the taking, identification and transporting of the scientific samples; .

(c)    require the production, at the time when a scientific sample is to be taken, of such evidence as to the identity of the person from whom it is to be taken as may be prescribed by the regulations;

(d)    require any person from whom a scientific sample is to be taken, or, in such cases as may be prescribed by the regulations, such other person as may be so prescribed, to state in writing whether he or the person from whom the sample is to be taken, as the case may be, has during such period as may be specified in the regulations, suffered from any such illness as may be so specified or received a transfusion of blood;

(e)    provide that scientific tests shall not be carried out except by such persons, and at such places, as may be appointed by the Minister;

(f)     prescribe the scientific test to be carried out and the manner in which they are to be carried out;

(g)    regulate the charges that may be made for the taking and testing of the scientific samples and for the making of a report to a Court under section 63 of this Act;

(h)    make provision for securing that, so far as practicable the samples to be tested for the purpose of giving effect to a direction under Section 63 of this Act are tested by the same person;

(i)     prescribe the form of the report to be made to a Court under section 63 of this Act.

66.    Failure to comply with directions for taking of scientific tests

(1)    Where the Court gives a direction under section 63 of this Act and a person fails to take any step required of him for the purpose of giving effect to the direction, the Court may draw such inferences, if any, from that facts as appear proper in the circumstances.

(2)    Where, in any proceedings in which the paternity or maternity of a child falls lo be determined by the Court hearing the proceedings, there is a presumption of law that the person is legitimate then if

(a)    a direction is given under section 63 or this Act in those proceedings; and

(b)    a party who is claiming any relief in the proceedings and who for the purpose of obtaining that relief is entitled to rely on the presumption fails lo lake any step required of him for the purpose of giving effect to the direction, the Court may adjourn the hearing for such period as it thinks fit to enable that party to take the step required.

(3)    If at the end of the period referred to in subsection (2) of this section, the person fails without reasonable cause to take the step required, the Court may, without prejudice to subsection (1) of this section, dismiss his claim for relief notwithstanding the absence of evidence to rebut the presumption.

(4)    Where a person named in a direction under section 63 of this Act fails to consent to the taking of scientific sample from himself or from a child named in the direction of whom he has the care and control, the person shall be deemed for the purposes of this section to have failed to take a step required of him for the purpose of giving effect to the direction.

67.    Penalty for impersonating another, etc., for purpose of providing scientific sample

If, for the purpose of providing scientific sample for a test required to give effect to a direction under section 63 of this Act, a person impersonates another, or proffers a child knowing that it is not the child named in the direction, that person commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand Naira or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such line and imprisonment.

PART VIII

Possession and Custody of Children

68.    Acquisition of parental responsibilities

(1)    Where the father and mother of a child were not married to each other at the time of the birth of the child

(a)    the Family Court established under section 153 of this Act may

(i)     on the application of the father, order that he shall have parental responsibility for the child; or

(ii)    on the application of the mother, order that she shall have parental responsibility for the child; or

(b)    the father and mother may by agreement have joint parental responsibility for the child.

(2)    No parental responsibility agreement shall have effect for the purposes of this Act, unless it is made in the form and manner prescribed by regulations made by the Chief Justice of Nigeria under this section.

(3)    Subject to subsection (4) of this section, an order under Subsection (1) (a) of this section, or a parental responsibility agreement, may only be brought to an end by an order of the Court made on the application

(a)    of a person who has parental responsibility for the child; or

(b)    of the child himself, with leave of the Court.

(4)    The Court may only grant leave under Subsection (3) (b) of this section if it is satisfied that the child has sufficient understanding to make the proposed application.

(5)    Where the court makes a residence order in favour of the father or the mother of a child it shall, if the father or mother would not otherwise have parental responsibility for the child, also make an order under subsection (i) of this section giving the father or mother that responsibility.

(6)    Where the Court makes a residence order in favour of a person who is not the parent or guardian of the child concerned, the person shall have parental responsibility for the child while the residence order remains in force.

(7)    Where a person has parental responsibility for a child as a result of subsection (5) of this section, he shall not have the right to

(a)    refuse to consent, to the making of an, application in respect of the child under Part XII of this Act or,

(b)    agree, or refuse to agree to the making of an adoption order, or any other order under

Part XII of this Act with respect lo the child ; or

(c)    appoint a guardian for the child.

(8)    Where subsection (5) of this section requires the Court to make an order under subsection

(1)    of this section in respect of the father or mother of a child; the court shall not bring that order to an end at any time while the residence order concerned remains in force

(9)    The fact that a person has, or does not have parental responsibility for a child shall not affect

(a)    any obligation which he may have in relation to the child including a statutory duty to maintain, the child; or

(b)    any right which, in the event of the death of the child, he or any other person may have in relation to the property of the child.

(10) A person who does not have parental responsibility for a particular child but has care of the child may, subject to the provisions of this Act, do what is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the child.

69.    Power of the Court to make order in respect to custody or rights of access to a child

(1)    The Court may

(a)    on the application of the father or mother of a child make such order as it may deem fit with respect to the custody of the child and the right of access to the child of either parent, having regard to

(i)     the welfare of the child and the conduct of the parent; and

(ii)    the wishes of the mother and Father of the child,

(b)    alter, vary or discharge an order made under paragraph (a) of this subsection on the application of

(i)     the father or mother of the child, or

(ii)    the guardian of the child, after the death of the rather or mother of the child; and

(c)    in every case, make such order with respect to costs as it may think just.

(2)    The power of the Court under subsection (1) of this section to make an order as to the custody or a child and the right of access to the child may be exercised notwithstanding that the mother of the child is at that time not residing with the father of the child.

(3)    Where the Court makes an order under subsection (1) of this section giving the custody of the child to the mother the Court may further order that the father shall pay to the mother towards the maintenance of the child such weekly or other periodical sum as the Court, may, having regard to the means of the father think reasonable.

(4)    Where the Court makes an order under Subsection (1) or this section giving custody of child to the father the Court may further order that the mother shall pay to the father towards the maintenance of the child such weekly or other periodical sum as the Court, may, having regard to the means of the mother think reasonable.

(5)    Subject to this section; no order whether for custody or maintenance shall be enforceable and no liability thereunder shall accrue while the mother of the, child resides with the father, and any such order shall cease to have effect if for a period of three months after it is made, the mother of the child continues to reside with the father.

(6)    An order made under this section may, on the application of the father or mother of the child, be varied or discharged by a subsequent order.

70.    Orders as to custody

No agreement contained in any separation deed made between the father and mother of a child shall, be invalid by reason only of its providing that the father of the child gives up the custody or control of the child to the mother.

71.    Validity of custody agreed to in separation deeds

Where in any proceedings before a Court the custody or upbringing of a child or the administration of any property belonging to or held in trust for a child, or the application of the income thereof, is in question, the Court shall, in deciding that question, regard the welfare or the child as the first and paramount consideration

72.    Principal on which questions relating to custody, upbringing, etc., of child is to be decided

Where the parent of a child has

(a)    abandoned or deserted the child; or

(b)    allowed the child to be brought up by another person at the expense of that other person, for such a length of time and under such circumstances as to satisfy the Court that the parent was unmindful of his parental responsibilities, the Court shall not make an order for the child to be delivered to the parent unless the parent satisfies the Court that, having regard to the welfare of the child, the parent is a fit and proper person to have the custody of the child.

73.    Court to have regard to conduct of parent

Where the parent of a child applies to the Court for a writ or an order for the production of a child, and the Court is of the opinion that the parent

(a)    has abandoned or deserted the child; or

(b)    had otherwise so conducted himself that the Court should refuse to enforce his right to the custody of the child, the Court may, in its discretion, decline to issue the writ or make the order.

74.    Power of Court as to production of child

If at the time of the application for a writ or an order for the production of a child the child is being brought up by another peon, the Court may, in it discretion, if it orders that the child be given up to the parent, further order that the parent pays to that other person the whole of the costs properly incurred in bringing up the child, or such portion of the costs as seems to the Court to be just and reasonable, having regard to the circumstances of the case.

75.    Power of Court to consult child’s wishes

Nothing contained in sections 72, 73 ,and 74 of this Act interferes with, or affects, power of the Court to consult the wishes of the child in considering what order ought to be made under section 74, of this Act or diminishes the right which any child, has to exercise on his own free choice,

76.    Power of Court to child’s religious education

The Court may, on an application by a person for the production or custody of a child if it is of the opinion

(a)    that the parent ought not to have the custody of the child; and

(b)    that the child is being brought up in a different religion other than that in which the parent has brought the child up, make such order as it may deem fit to ensure that child is brought up in the religion in which the parent requires the child to be brought up.

77.    Enforcement of order for payment of money by attachment of income

Where the Court makes an order for the payment of money in pursuance of this Act, the Court shall, in addition to any other powers for enforcing compliance with the order, have power, in any case where pension or income, which is capable of being attached, is payable to the person against whom the order is made, after giving the person by whom the pension or income is payable an opportunity of being heard, order that such part of the pension or income as the court may deem fit be attached forthe payment of any money under this Act,

78.    Notice of change of address by person ordered to pay money

A person who for the time being is under an obligation to make payment in pursuance of an order for the payment of money under this Act shall give notice of any change in his address to the person if any as may be specified in the order.

79.    Power of the Minister to make orders, etc., as to custody of children

(1)    The Minister may, by order, notwithstanding any customary law to the contrary prohibiting

(a)    the giving or acquiring of the custody, possession, control or guardianship of a child; or

(b)    the removal of a child from any part of a State.

(2)    Where an order is made by the Minister in pursuance of subsection (i) of this section, no person shall give or acquire the custody, possession or control of or remove a child from any part of the

State specified in the order except in accordance with rules made by the Minister and such rules may be in general or in respect of any particular part of a State.

(3)    An appeal from the order of the Minister shall lie to the appropriate level of the Court.

80.    Prohibition against acquiring custody, etc., of child for the purpose of dealing in the child.

(1)    No person shall hire, give or acquire the custody, Possession, control or guardianship of a child whether or not for pecuniary or other benefit in circumstances that it may reasonably be inferred that the child has been hired, sold or bartered, or that by reason of the hiring, giving or acquiring, the child may reasonably be inferred to be placed in any danger, whatsoever.

(2)    In any prosecution for the contravention of Subsection (i) of this section, where it is proved that the custody, possession, control or guardianship of a child has been given to or acquired by a person other than a person who is a member of the family of the child, it shall be presumed by the Court that the child has been given or acquired in contravention of the provisions of Subsection (1) of this section.

(3)    It shall be a defence to this section to prove that the child concerned was given or acquired in accordance with customary law, provided that the customary law is not repugnant to natural justice, morality or humanity or inconsistent with any written law

81.    Penalties for contravening sections 79 and 80

A person who contravenes the provisions of Sections 79 and 80 of this Act or of any rules under those sections commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of ten thousand Naira or imprisonment for a term of one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.

PART IX

Guardianship

82.    Parental responsibility of a guardian

(1)    Except as provided under section 69 of this Act, a person appointed a guardian under this

Part of this Act shall have parental responsibility for the child.

(2)    A person appointed as guardian ad litem under Section 90 of this Act shall be a guardian only for the purposes of representing the child and his interest in certain proceedings, but shall otherwise have no parental responsibility for the child.

83.    Guardianship of a child

(1)    The parents of a child shall have guardianship of the child and, in the event of the death of a parent, the surviving parent shall be the guardian of the child.

(2)    Where the parents of a child are not fit to be guardians of a child jointly or severally the Court , shall, on application of a member of the family or an appropriate authority appoint a person to be a joint guardian with the parent or parents of the child.

(3)    A surviving parent who has guardianship of a child may, by deed, appoint a guardian for the child in the event of the death of that parent.

(4)    A single parent may by deed, appoint a person to be the guardian of the child upon the death of that single parent.

(5)    Where a guardian is appointed to act jointly with a parent or parents of a child under subsection (2) of this section and the guardian so appointed considers the parents unfit to have the custody of the child, the guardian may apply to the Court, and the Court may make

(a)    an order that the guardian be the sole guardian of the child; and

(b)    such order regarding the custody and right of access of the parents to the child as the Court may think fit, having regard to the welfare of the child.

(6)    The Court may under Subsection (2) of this section, order that a parent or parents of a child make a payment to a joint guardian towards the maintenance of the child.

84.    Order for guardianship of a child

(1)    Where an application for the guardianship of child is made to the Court by a person, the court may, by order, appoint that person to be the guardian of a child if

(a)    the child has no parent with parental responsibility for him ; or

(b)    a residence order has been made in respect to the child in favour of a parent o guardian of the child who has died while the order was in force.

(2)    The power conferred under subsection (1) of this section may also be exercised in any family proceedings if the Court considers that the order should be made notwithstanding that no application was made for it.

(3)    A guardian of a child may, by deed, appoint another person to be the guardian of the child in the event of his death.

(4)    An appointment made by a will which is not signed by the testator, shall have effect only if it is signed at the direction of the testator.

85.    Consent of a person appointed as a guardian

The consent of a person appointed as a guardian is necessary for the appointment to have effect.

86.    Revocation of guardianship

The appointment of a guardian under sections 85 and 90 of this Act may be brought to an end at any time by an order of the Court

(a)    on the application of a natural parent or any person who has parental responsibility for the child;

(b)    on the application of the child concerned, with leave of the Court;

(c)    in any family proceedings, if the Court considers that it should be brought to an end notwithstanding that no application, has been made; or

(d)    on the application of an appropriate authority.

87.    Power of a guardian over estate of a child

A guardian under this Act shall have all such powers over the estate, as the case may be, of a child as a guardian appointed by will or otherwise by virtue of the rules of common law, equity, or appropriate personal law.

88. Disputes between joint guardians

Where two or more persons act as joint guardians of a child and they are unable to agree on any question affecting the welfare of the child, any of them may apply to the Court for its direction, and the court may make an order regarding the question in dispute.

89.    Appointment of guardian ad litem

(1)    The Court may, for the purpose of any specified proceedings, appoint a guardian ad litem for the child concerned to safeguard the interests of the child, unless it is satisfied that it is not necessary, to do so.

(2)    The guardian ad litem shall

(a)    be appointed in accordance with the Rules of Court ; and

(b)    be under a duty to safeguard the interests of the child in the manner prescribed by those rules.

(3)    Where

(a)    the child concerned is not represented by a legal practitioner; and

(b)    any of the conditions mentioned in Subsection (4) of this section is satisfied, the Court may appoint a legal practitioner to represent the child.

(4)    The conditions under which an appointment may be made under Subsection (3) of this section are that

(a)    no guardian ad litem has been appointed for the child;

(b)    the child has sufficient understanding to instruct a legal practitioner and wishes to do so;

(c)    it appears to the Court that it would be in the best interest of the child for him to be represented by a legal practitioner.

(5)    A legal practitioner appointed under or by virtue of this section shall represent the child in accordance with the Rules of Court.

(6)    Notwithstanding any enactment or rules of law to the contrary, the Court may take account of

(a)    any statement contained in a report made by a guardian ad litem who is appointed under this section for the purpose of the proceedings in question; and

(b)    any evidence given in respect of the matters referred to in the report, in so far as the statement or evidence is, in the opinion of the Court, relevant to the question which the Court is considering.

90.    Establishment of panels of persons from which guardians ad litem may be appointed

(1)    The Minister my by regulations provide for the establishment of panels of persons from which guardians ad litem appointed under this section shall be selected.

(2)    The regulations may, in particular, make provisions

(a)    as to the constitution, administration and procedures of the panels;

(b)    requiring two or more specified Local Governments to make arrangements for the joint management of a panel;

(c)    for the defrayment by the State Government of expenses incurred by members of panels;

(d)    for the payment by the State Government of fees and allowances to members of panels;

(e)    as to the qualifications for membership of a panel;

(f)     as to the training to be given to members of the panels;

(g)    as to the cooperation required of specified Local Governments in the provision of panels in specified areas; and

(h)    for monitoring the work of guardians ad litem.

(3)    Rules of Court may make provisions as to the

(a)    assistance which a guardian ad litem may be required by the Court to give to it;

(b)    consideration to be given by a guardian ad litem, where an order of a specified kind has been made in the proceedings in question, as to whether to apply for the variation or discharge of the order;

(c)    participation of guardians ad litem in any review, of the kind specified in the Rules of court, conducted by the Court.

91.    Right of guardian ad litem to have access to records

(1)    Where a person has been appointed as a guardian ad litem under this Act, he shall have the right at all reasonable times to examine and take a copy of

(a)    any record by the State Government or the appropriate authority which was compiled in connection with the making, or proposed making, by any person of any application under this Act with respect to the child concerned; or ,

(b)    any other record held by the State Government or the appropriate authority which was compiled in connection with any function which have been referred to their social service committee, so far as those records relate to that child.

(2)    Where a guardian ad litem takes a copy of a record which he is entitled to examine under this section, that copy Of any part of it shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any enactment or rules, be admissible as evidence of any matter referred to in any

(a)    report which he makes to the Court in the proceedings in question; or

(b)    evidence which he gives in those proceedings.

92.    Saving of existing orders and jurisdiction of the Court

(1)    Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act, an order lawfully made by any court relating to the guardianship or custody of a child before the commencement of this Act and which is in force, at the time of the commencement of this Act and is not inconsistent with this Act shall continue in force, until other provisions are made under and by virtue of this Act.

(2)    Nothing in this Act shall restrict or affect the jurisdiction of a court to appoint or move guardians by virtue of the High Court Laws or any other written law, until the Court has been established in the relevant jurisdictions.

PART X

Wardship

93.    Jurisdiction of Court.

The Court shall have jurisdiction in all matters pertaining to making a child a ward of Court.

94.    Wardship order

(1)    Subject to the provisions of this section, no child shall be made a ward of court except by virtue of an order, to that effect, made by the Court.

(2)    Where application is made for an order in respect of child, the child becomes a ward of court on the making of the order Of on the expiration of such period as may be prescribed, unless within that period another order is made in accordance with the new application.

(3)    The Court may, either upon an application in that behalf or without an application, order that a child who is for the time being a ward of court ceases to be a ward of court.

95.    Maintenance of a ward of Court

(1)    Subject to the provisions of this section, the Court may make an order

(a)    requiring either parent of a ward of court to pay to the other parent; or ,

(b)    requiring either parent or both parents of a ward of court to pay to any other person having the care and control of the ward, such weekly or other periodical sums towards the maintenance and education of the ward as the Court thinks reasonable having regard to the means of the person or persons making the payment.

(2)    An order under Subsection (1) of this section may require such sums as are mentioned in that subsection to continue to be paid in respect of any period but not beyond the date on which the, ward of court attains the age of majority and such order if made may provide that any sum which is payable for the benefit of that ward, having regard to the age of the child, be paid directly to that ward.

(3)    No order shall be made under Subsection (1) (a) of this section, and no liability under order made under this section, shall ace, at a time when the parent of the ward. of court or former ward of court as the case may be, are residing together and If they so reside for a period of three months after an order has been made, the order shall cease to have effect.

(4)    The Court shall have power, from time to time, by an order under this section, to vary discharge any previous order made under this section,

96.    Committal of ward to care of appropriate authority, etc

(1)    Where it appears to the Court that there are exceptional circumstances making it impracticable or undesirable for a ward of court to be, or to continue to be under the care of either of his parents or any other person, the Court may, if it thinks fit, make an order committing the care of the ward to an appropriate authority,

(2)    Where it appears to the Court that there are exceptional circumstances making it desirable that a ward of court, not being a ward who in pursuance of an order under Subsection (1) of this section, is in the care of an appropriate authority, should be under the supervision of an independent person, the court may, with regard to such period as the court thinks fit, order that the ward be under the supervision of a child development officer or other appropriate authority.

(3)    The Court shall have power, from time to time by an order under this section to ; vary or discharge any previous order made under this section. .

97.    Matrimonial causes.

A Court hearing a matrimonial case in which a. child may be involved may direct that proper proceedings be taken in the Court at the High Court level for making the child a ward of Court,

98.    Dismissal of application for wardship

Where the Court is of the opinion that an application for wardship is an abuse of the court process, it shall dismiss the application forthwith

99.    Rules for application for wardship

An application for wardship shall be made in compliance with the rules contained in Third

Schedule to this Act.

[Third Schedule]

PART XI

Fostering

100. Application for fostering

(1)    A person may foster a child by making an application to the court within the jurisdiction in which the person and the child reside at the date of the application.

(2)    An application for fostering shall be made in accordance with the procedure and in the manner prescribed by the rules made under the provisions of this Act.

101. A child to be fostered

A child who may be fostered under this Act includes a child who

(a)    is abandoned by this parents; or

(b)    is an orphan and is

(i)     deserted by his relatives, or

(ii)    voluntarily presented by his relatives for fostering, or

(Iii)   voluntarily presents himself for fostering, where no relatives of his can be found; or

(c)    has been abused, neglected or illtreated by the person having care and custody of him ; or

(d)    has a parent or guardian who does not or cannot exercise proper guidance over him ; or

(e)    is found destitute; or

(f)     is found wandering, has no home or settled place of abode, is on the streets or other public place, or has no visible means of subsistence ; or

(g)    is voluntarily presented by his parents for fostering.

102. Making a fostering order

(1)    Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Court may, on receipt of the application for fostering make an order authorising the application to foster the child.

(2)    Except where a man and his wife have applied jointly to foster a child, a fostering order shall not authorise more than one person to foster a child.

103. Limit on number of children who may be fostered.

The number of children who may be fostered by a person shall not exceed three unless exceptional Circumstances are shown.

104. Restriction on the making of fostering order

(1)    A fostering order shall not be made by the Court unless

(a)    the applicant or, in the case of a joint application, each of the applicants is not less than twentyfive years old and, is at least twentyone years older than the child to be fostered;

(b)    the applicant and the child are resident in the same State;

(c)    the applicant is a citizen of Nigeria;

(d)    the applicant has the means to maintain the child;

(e)    the applicant is a person of unquestionable integrity; and

(f)     the applicant is certified by a medical officer to be physically and mentally fit.

(2)    A fostering order shall not be made in favour of a sole applicant who is unmarried, unless the applicant has attained the age of thirtyfive years and the child to be fostered is of the same sex as the applicant.

105. Consent to fostering

(1)    Where a married person is the sole applicant for a fostering order, the application shall be accompanied with the consent, in writing, of the other spouse that the order be made.

(2)    Where it appears to the Court that a person, other than the father or mother or relative of a child has any right or obligation in respect of the child under an order of court or an agreement or under customary law, the Court may refuse to make the fostering order until the Consent of that person is first obtained.

(3)    The Court may dispense with any consent required under this section if it is satisfied that the person whose consent would have been required

(a)    has abandoned, neglected or persistently illtreated the child; or

(b)    cannot be found or is incapable of giving his consent or is unreasonably withholding his consent.

106. Further conditions for making of fostering orders

(1)    Before making a fostering order, the Court shall be satisfied that

(a)    every consent under section 107 of this Act, which has not been dispensed with, had been obtained and every person who has given his consent understands the nature and effect of the fostering order for which the application is made;

(b)    the order, if made, will be for the maintenance, care, education and general welfare and be in the interest of the child; and

(c)    the applicant has not received or agreed to receive and no person has made or given or agree to make or give to the applicant, any payment or other reward in consideration of the fostering.

(2)    The Court may, in a fostering order, impose such terms and conditions as it may think fit and in particular, may require the foster parent by bond or otherwise to make for the child such provisions as in the opinion of the Court is just and expedient.

107. Interim Orders

(1)    Subject to this section, the Court may, on application for a fostering order by person, postpone the determination of the application and make an interim order giving the custody of the child to the applicant for a period not exceeding two years, as a probationary period, on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks fit as regards provision for the maintenance, education and supervision of the child and otherwise.

(2)    The Court shall impose the following conditions under subsection (1) of this section, that is

(a)    that the child shall be under the supervision of an officer appointed by the Court; and

(b)    that the child shall not be taken out of the State without the prior consent of the court.

(3)    All consents as are required for the making of a fostering order shall be necessary for an interim order but subject to a like power on the part of the Court to dispense with any such consent.

(4)    An interim order shall not be made in any case where the making of a fostering order would be unlawful by virtue of section 127 of this Act.

(5)    An interim order shall not have the same effect as a fostering order under this Act.

(6)    An interim order may be revoked by the Court if the foster parent fails to comply with any condition imposed on him by the interim order pursuant to this section.

108. Rules of Court

(1)    The Chief Justice of Nigeria may make rules of Court providing generally for the practice and procedure of the Court in respect of the fostering of children under this Act.

(2)    The power to make rules conferred under subsection (1) of this section shall, without prejudice to the generality of that subsection, include power to make provisions for

(a)    proceedings to be held in camera in determining the application in the Court;

(b)    excluding or restricting the jurisdiction of any court where a previous application made by the applicant in respect of the same child has been refused by that or any other court;

(c)    the admission of documentary evidence of any consent required under section 107 of this Act ; and

(d)    a report for the assistance of the Court in determining whether or not the fostering order will be in the overall interest and welfare of the child having regard to the ability of the applicant to maintain, care, for and educate the child.

109. Appeal

An appeal shall lie to the Court at High Court level from the Court at the Magisterial level in respect of a decision on an application for a fostering order other than a decision to postpone the determination of an application for the order or to make an interim order.

110. Rights and duties of foster parents and other persons

(1)    On the making of a fostering order

(a)    all rights, duties, obligations and liabilities, including

(i)     any arising under customary law applicable to the parents of the child, or any other Person or persons in relation to the custody, maintenance and education of the child, and

(ii)    all rights to appoint a guardian and to consent or give notice of consent or= marriage, shall be suspended; and

(b)    there shall vest in and be exercisable by and enforceable against the foster parents, all such rights, duties, obligations and liabilities in relation to custody, maintenance and education of the child as if the child were a child born to the foster parent in lawful marriage.

(2)    A child shall, in respect of his custody, maintenance and education, stand to the foster parent exactly in the position of a child born to the foster parent in lawful marriage.

(3)    Where a husband and wife are joint foster parents, they shall, in respect of the custody, maintenance and education of the child, and for the purpose of the jurisdiction of any court to make orders as to the custody and maintenance of a right of access to the child, stand to each other and to the child in the same relationship as they would have stood if the child were a child born to them in lawful marriage.

111.  Effect of fostering on maintenance order Where at the time a fostering order is made in respect of a child, an order requiring a person to contribute towards the maintenance of that child under this Act is in force, the fostering order shall prevail.

112. Fostered Children Register

(1)    The Chief Registrar and the appropriate child development service shall each keep and maintain a register to be known as the Fostered Children Register in which shall be made such entries as may be directed by a fostering order to be made therein.

(2)    A fostering order shall contain a direction to the Chief Registrar and the appropriate child development service to make in the Fostered Children Register the entry in the form specified in Part II of Fourth Schedule to this Act.

(3)    If, on an application to the Court for a fostering order, it is proved to the satisfaction of the Court that the date of birth of the child and other particulars of the child are identical with a child to whom entry in the Register of Births kept by the National Population Commission relates, the fostering order shall contain a further direction to the Chief Registrar and the appropriate child development service to cause the entry in the Register of Births to be marked Fostered.

(4)    Where a fostering order is made in respect of a child who has been the subject of a previous fostering order made under this Act, the fostering order shall contain a direction to the Chief Registrar and the appropriate child development service to cause the previous entry in the Fostered Children Register and the Register of Births in respect of that child to be marked Re fostered.

(5)    The Court shall cause a copy of every foster order to be communicated to the Chief Registrar and the appropriate child development service and on receipt of the order, the Chief Registrar and the appropriate child development service shall comply with the directions contained therein.

(6)    A certified copy of an entry in the Fostered Children Register if purporting to be stamped, or sealed with the seal of office of the Chief registrar shall be prima facie proof of the facts contained therein, including the date of birth of a child to whom it relates without any further evidence as if the same were a certified copy of an entry in the Register of Births.

(7)    The Chief Registrar shall cause an index of the Fostered Children register to be made and kept in the registry.

(8)    A copy of extract of an entry in any register, being an entry which is cancelled under this section, shall be a prima facie evidence of that cancellation.

(9)    A register, record or book as is mentioned in subsection (8) of this section or an index thereof shall not be liable to be searched by any member of the public, and the Chief Registrar shall not make a certified copy thereof or furnish any information therein contained to a person except under an order made by the court.

(10) On the revocation of a fostering order, the Court shall cause the fact of the revocation to be communicated to the Chief Registrar and the appropriate child development service who shall cancel or cause to be canceled

(a)    the entry in the Fostered Children Register relating to the fostered child; and

(b)    the word Fostered or Refostered in the entry relating to the fostered child in the Register of Births.

(11) The Chief Registrar may keep such record books and make such other entries therein as may be consistent with the particulars contained in the Fostered Children Register.

113. Visit to fostered child by child development officers

(1)    The appropriate child development service shall keep itself informed, from time to time, of the condition and welfare of each child fostered under this Act ad for that purpose, arrange for child development officers to do all or any of the following things that is –

(a)    to pay periodic visits at reasonable times to each child fostered under this Act until the child attains the age of eighteen years; and

(b)    to enter any premises for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is any contravention ,by a person of any condition of the fostering or of any other provision of this Act.

(2)    During a visit under this section. the officer conducting the visit may require the production of the fostered child or that information be given regarding the condition of the child.

114.  Revocation of a foster order on grounds of the interest of the child

Where it is proved to the satisfaction of a court that a foster parent has abandoned. Neglected or persistently. illtreated or assaulted a fostered child, the Court shall

(a)    revoke the fostering order in respect of the child; and

(b)    proceed to take other necessary action pursuant to the provisions of this Act.

115. Prohibition of receiving money or reward as inducement to foster a child

(1)    A person who

(a)    receives or agrees to receive money or a reward ;is an inducement to foster a child; or

(b)    receives or agrees to receive money or any reward in order to facilitate arrangements to foster a child; or

(c)    gives or agrees to give money or reward to secure consent of a person to foster a child, commits an offence under this Act.

(2)    A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) of this section is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding thirty thousand naira or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

116. Prohibition of taking, sending fostered child out of state or Nigeria

(1)    Where a foster parent intends to take a fostered child outside the State or Nigeria, he shall give notice to the Court of his intention to do so and shall, on return to the State or Nigeria, notify the Court of their return.

(2)    A person who permits or causes or procures the possession of a child to be given to any person

(a)    outside the State in which the fostering order was made; or

(b)    outside Nigeria, with intent to getting that child fostered by that person commits an offence.

(3)    A person who commits an offence under subsection (2) of this section is liable on conviction in the case of an offence under

(a)    subsection (2) (a) of this section. to imprisonment for a term of ten years; and

(b)    Subsection (2) (b) of this section, to imprisonment for a term of fifteen years.

117. Prohibition of withdrawal of a child from the care of the applicant

While an application for a fostering order is pending in a Court, no person who has given his consent to a fostering order being made in respect of a child shall withdraw the child or cause the child to be withdrawn from the care and possession of the applicant without the leave of the Court and the court shall, in granting the leave, have regard to the welfare of the child.

118. Foster parent prohibited from marrying fostered child

(1)    No foster parent shall marry any child fostered by him pursuant to this Act.

(2)    A foster parent who marries a child fostered by him commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

119. Noncompliance with lawful directives

A person who

(a)    without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a lawful directive given by a child development officer; or

(b)    obstructs a social welfare officer in the exercise of the powers conferred by this Act, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine no exceeding two thousand five hundred naira or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

120. Private arrangement for fostering children

(1)    For the purposes of this Part of this Act and subject to subsection (2) of this section

(a)    a child shall be deemed to be fostered privately if he is cared for, and provided with accommodation by a person other than

(i)     a parent of the child; or

(ii)    any other person who has parental responsibility for the child, or

(iii)    a relative of the child; and

(b)    a person shall be deemed to foster a child privately if he cares for the child in circumstances in which the child is fostered privately as defined under paragraph (a) of this subsection.

(2)    A child is not fostered privately if the person caring for and accommodating the child has done so for a period of less than twentyeight days and does not intend to do so for any longer period.

(3)    The provisions in Part III of Fourth Schedule to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of supplementing the provisions of this section.

121. Welfare of a child fostered privately

(1)    Every State Government shall

(a)    satisfy itself that the welfare and best interest of a child who is fostered privately within the State are satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted; and

(b)    ensure that persons caring for that child are given such advice as appears to the State Government to be needed.

(2)    Where a person who is authorised by a State Government to visit a child who is fostered privately has reasonable cause to believe that a child who is or is proposed to be fostered privately is being accommodated in premises within the State, may, at any reasonable time, inspect those premises and any child accommodated therein,

(3)    A person exercising the power under subsection (2) of this section shall, if so required, produce some duly authenticated document showing his authority to do so.

(4)    Where an officer of the State Government is not satisfied that the welfare of a child who is fostered privately within the State is satisfactorily safeguarded or promoted, he shall

(a)    unless he considers that it would not be in the best interest of the child, take such steps as are reasonably practicable to secure that the care and accommodation of the child is undertaken by

(i)     a parent of the child, or

(ii)    any other person who has parental responsibility for the child, or

(iii)    a relative of the child, and

(b)    consider the extent to which, if at all, they shall exercise any of their powers under this Act with respect to the child.

(5)    The Minister may make regulations

(a)    requiring every child who is fostered privately within a State to be visited by an officer of State Government

(i)     in prescribed circumstances, and

(ii)    on specified occasions or within specified periods; and

(b)    imposing requirements which are to be met by any State officer in carrying out his functions under this section.

122. A person disqualified from fostering a child privately

(1)    A person shall not foster a child privately if he is disqualified from doing so by regulations made by the Minister for the purposes of this section, unless he has disclosed the fact to the appropriate authority and obtained its written consent.

(2)    The regulations shall, in particular, provide for a person to be so disqualified where

(a)    an order of a kind specified in the regulations has been made at any time

(i)     with respect to that person, or

(ii)    with respect to a child who has been in the care of that person;

(b)    a requirement of a kind so specified has been impose by an enactment;

(c)    he has been convicted of an offence of a kind so specified, or has been placed on probation or discharged absolutely or conditionally for any offence;

(d)    a prohibition has been imposed on him at any time under section 123 of this Act or under any other specified enactment;

(e)    his rights and powers with respect to a child have at any time been vested in a specified authority under a specified enactment.

(3)    A person shall not foster a child privately if

(a)    he lives in the same household as a person who is himself prevented from fostering a child by subsection (i) of this section; or

(b)    he lives in a household at which any such person is employed, unless he has disclosed the fact to the appropriate authority and obtained their written consent.

(4)    Where an appropriate authority refuses to give its consent under this section, it shall inform the applicant by a written notice

(a)    the reason for the refusal;

(b)    the applicants rights to appeal against the refusal; and

(c)    the time within which he may appeal.

(5)    The form set out in Part IV of the Fourth Schedule to this Act and the provisions contained in Part V and VI of that Schedule shall be used and have effect for the purposes of this section and this Part of this Act.

[Fourth Schedule]

123. Power of State Government to prohibit private fostering

(1)    This section applies where a person

(a)    proposes to foster a child privately; or

(b)    is fostering a child privately.

(2)    Where the State Government in whose State the child is proposed to be, or is being fostered, is of the opinion that

(a)    a person is not a suitable person to foster a child; or

(b)    the premises in which the child will be, or is being accommodated, are not suitable; or

(c)    it would be prejudicial to the welfare of the child for him to, or continue to be, accommodated by that person in those premises, the State Government may impose on him a prohibition specified under subsection (3) of this section.

(3)    A prohibition imposed on a person under subsection (2) of this section may prohibit him from fostering privately

(a)    any child in any premises within the State; or

(b)    any child in premises specified in the prohibition; or

(c)    a child identified in the prohibition, in premises specified in the prohibition.

(4)    A State Government which has imposed a prohibition onany person under subsection (2) of this section, may, if it thinks fit, cancel the prohibition

(a)    of its own motion; or

(b)    on an application made by that person, if it is satisfied that the prohibition is no longer justified.

(5)    A prohibition imposed under this section shall be imposed by notice in writing addressed to the person on whom it is imposed and informing him of

(a)    the reason for imposing the prohibition;

(b)    his right to appeal against the prohibition; and

(c)    the time within which he may appeal.

124. Offences under this Part

(1)    A person who

(a)    being required, under any provision made by or under this Part of this Act, to give any notice or information

(i)     fails, without reasonable excuse, to give the notice within the time specified in that provision. or

(ii)    fails, without reasonable excuse, to give the information within a reasonable time, or

(iii)    makes or causes or procures another person to make any statement in the notice or information which he knows or believes to be false or misleading in a material particular; or

(b)    refuses to allow a child fostered privately to be visited by a duly authorised officer of the State Government; or

(c)    intentionally obstructs another person in the exercise of the power conferred by section 121 (2) of this Act ; or

(d)    contravenes section 124 of this Act; or

(e)    fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any requirement imposed by a State Government under this Part of this Act; or

(f)     accommodates a child fostered privately in any premises in contravention of a prohibition known to him to have. been imposed by a State Government under this Part of this Act; or

(g)    knowingly publishes or causes to be published, an advertisement which he knows contravenes Paragraph 8 of Part III of Schedule 4 to this Act, commits an offence under this Act.

(2)    Where a person contravenes Section 124 (3) of this Act, he does not commit an offence under this section if he proves that he did not know, and had no reasonable ground for believing, that a person to whom section 124 (1) applies was living or employed in the premises in question.

(3)    A person who commits an offence

(a)    under subsection (1) (a) of this section, is liable on summary conviction to a fine nor exceeding five thousand Naira

(b)    under subsection (1) (b), (c),(d), (e), (f), or (g) of this section, is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand Naira or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(4)    If a person who is required under any provision of this Part of this Act to give notice fails to give the notice within the time specified in that provision, proceedings for an offence may be brought at any time within six months from the date when evidence of the offence came to the knowledge of the State Government.

PART XII

Adoption

125. Establishment of adoption services, etc.

(1)    Every State Government shall, for the purpose of adoption, establish and maintain within the State and, in the case of the Federal Government, within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja a service

designed to meet the needs of

(a)    a child who has been or may be adopted;

(b)    parents and guardians of the child specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection; and

(c)    persons who have adopted or who may adopt a child, and for this purpose, every Government shall provide me requisite facilities or ensure that me facilities are provided by approved adoption services as may be prescribed by the appropriate authority.

(2)    The facilities to be provided as part of the services maintained under subsection (1) of this section include

(a)    temporary board and lodging, where needed by a child and, in exceptional circumstances the mother of a child;

(b)    arrangements for assessing a child and prospective adopters and placing of the child for adoption; and

(c)    counseling for persons with problems relating to adoption.

126. Establishment of adoption services, etc.

(1)    An application for adoption shall be made to the Court in such form as may be prescribed, and shall be accompanied with

(a)    where the applicant is a married couple, their marriage certificate or a sworn declaration of marriage;

(b)    the birth certificate or sworn declaration of age of each applicant;

(c)    two passport photographs of each applicant ;

(d)    a medical certificate of the fitness of the applicant from a Government hospital; and

(e)    such other documents, requirements and information as the Court may require for the purposes of the adoption.

(2)    On receipt of an application under subsection (i) of this section, the Court shall order an investigation to be conducted by

(a)    a child development officers;

(b)    a supervision officer; and

(c)    such other persons as the Court may determine, to enable the Court to assess the suitability of the applicant as an adopter and of the child to be adopted.

(3)    The Court shall, in reaching a decision relating to the adoption of a child, have regard to all the circumstances, first consideration being given to(

a)     the need to safeguard and promote the welfare and the best interest of the child throughout the childhood of that child; and

(b)    ascertaining, as far as practicable, the wishes and feelings of the child regarding the decision and giving due consideration to those wishes and feelings, having regard to the age and understanding of the child.

127. Religious upbringing of adopted child

The Court shall, in placing a child for adoption, have regard as far as is practicable to the wishes, if any, of the parents or guardian of the child as to the religious upbringing of the child.

128. Persons who may be adopted

The Court shall, not make an adoption order in respect of a child unless

(a)    the parents of the child or, where there is no surviving parent, the guardian of the child consents to the adoption; or

(b)    the child is abandoned neglected or persistently abused or ill treated, and there are compelling reasons in the interest of the child why he should be adopted.

129. Persons who may adopt

The following persons may apply for an adoption order

(a)    a married couple where

(i)     each of them has attained the age of twentyfive years, and

(ii)    there is an order authorising them jointly to adopt a child; or

(b)    a married person if he has obtained consent of his spouse, as required under section

132   of this Act; or

(c)    a single person, if he has attained the age of thirtyfive years, provided that the child to be adopted is of the same sex as the person adopting; or

(d)    in all cases specified in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of this section, the adopter or adopters shall be persons found to be suitable to adopt the child in question by the appropriate investigating officers.

130. Power to make adoption order

(1)    Subject to the provisions of this Act. the Court may, on the application of a person stated in section 126 of this Act in the prescribed manner make an order under this Act referred to as an adoption order .

(2)    An adoption ordershall be made in the form specified in the Fifth Schedule to this Act

131. Restrictions on the making of adoption orders.

(1)    An adoption order shall not be made in respect of a child unless

(a)    the applicant or, in the case of a joint application, one of them, is not less than twentyfive years old and is, at least, twentyone years older than the child;

(b)    the applicant, or in the case of a joint application, both or, at least, one of them and the child are resident in the same State;

(c)    the applicant has been resident or, in the case of a joint application, both of them have been resident in the State in which the application is made for a period of. at least, five years;

(d)    the applicant is a citizen or, in the case of a joint application, both applicants are citizens of Nigeria;

(e)    the child has been in the care of the applicant for a period of at least three consecutive months immediately preceding the date on which the order is made; and

(j)     the applicant has, at least twelve months before the making of the order, informed the social welfare officer of his intention to adopt the child.

(2)    On the application of a married couple, if they consist of a parent and a step parent of the child, the Court shall dismiss the application if it considers that the matter would be better dealt with under Part VIII of this Act.

132. Required consent

(1)    Where a married person is the sole applicant for an adoption order, the Court may, if it thinks fit, refuse to make the order if the consent of the spouse of the applicant to the making of the order is not first obtained.

(2)    Where it appears to the Court that a person other than the parent or relative of a child has any right or obligation in respect of the child under an order of the Court or any agreement or under customary law the Court may, if it thinks tit, refuse to make the adoption order if the consent of that person is not first obtained.

(3)    The child development officer on an application for an adoption order in respect of a child, shall prepare a report shall assist the Court in determining whether a person who is not a parent or relative of the child has any right or obligation in respect of that child and whether the consent of the person ought first to be obtained.

(4)    A consent under this section may be given either

(a)    unconditionally; or

(b)    subject to conditions with respect to the religious persuasion in which the child is to be brought up.

(5)    In giving a consent under this section, it may not be necessary for the person giving the consent to know the identity of the applicant for the adoption order.

(6)    The Court may dispense with any consent required under this section if it is satisfied that the person whose consent is required cannot be found or is incapable of giving his consent or is withholding his consent unreasonably.

(7)    While an application for an adoption order is pending in any Court, no person who has given his consent to an adoption order to be made in respect of a child shall withdraw the child from the care and possession of the applicant without the leave of the Court and the Court shall have regard to the welfare of the child in considering whether or not to gram the leave.

133. Conditions preceding the making of adoption order

The Court shall, before making an adoption order, satisfy itself that

(a)    every consent required under section 132 of this Act which has not been dispensed with has been obtained;

(b)    every person who has given his consent understands the nature and effect of the adoption order for which the application is made and for this purpose the relevant madoption service shall provide adequate counseling for the parties involved in the adoption;

(c)    the order, if made, shall be for the welfare and best interest of the child, due consideration for this purpose being given to the wishes of the child having regard to his age and understanding; and

(d)    the applicant has not received or agreed to receive, and no person has made given or agreed to make or give to the applicant any payment or other reward in consideration of the adoption other than what the Court may approve.

134. Power of court to impose terms and conditions.

The Court may, in making adoption order, impose such terms and conditions as the Court may think fit, and in particular, may require the adopter, by bond or otherwise, to make for the child such provisions, if any, as in the opinion of the Court, are just and expedient.

135. Interim orders, pending adoption orders

(1)    Subject to the provisions of this section, the Court may, on an application for an adoption order, postpone the determination of the application and make an interim order giving the custody of the child to the applicant for a period not exceeding two years on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks fit as regards provision for the maintenance, education and supervision of the welfare of the child an otherwise.

(2)    The Court shall, in making an interim order under subsection (1) of this section, specify that the child shall

(a)    be under the supervision of such child development officer as the Minister may appoint; and

(b)    not be taken out of the State concerned without the consent of the Court .

(3)    The consents to the making of an adoption order which are required under section 132 of this Act shall be required to the making of an interim order, and the power of the Court to dispense with any such consent shall also apply in the case of an interim order,

(4)    An interim order shall not be made in any case where the making of an adoption order would be unlawful under the provisions of this Act.

(5)    An interim order shall not be deemed to be an adoption order within the meaning of this Act.

136. Jurisdiction of the Court

Subject to rules of the Court made under section 137 of this Act, the Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to deal with an application for an adoption order.

137. Rules of the Court for adoption of a child

(1)    The Chief Justice of Nigeria may make rules of Court for regulating generally the practice and procedure of the Court in respect of the adoption of child.

(2)    The power to make rules conferred by subsection (1) of this section, shall, without prejudice to the generality of that subsection, include power to make provisions for

(a)    application for the adoption orders being heard and determined otherwise than in open court;

(b)    the admission of documentary evidence of any consent required under section 132 of this Act; and

(c)    requiring the child development officer to prepare for the consideration of the Court on an application for an adoption order. a report, for the assistance of the Court in determining whether the order will be for the welfare and best interest of the child.

138. Appeals

(1)    An appeal shall lie to the Court at the High Court level from the Court at the Magisterial level in respect of decision on any application for an adoption order, other than a decision to postpone the determination of the application for such an order and make an interim order.

(2)    Where the Court at the High Court level exercises original or appellate jurisdiction appeal shall lie to the Court of Appeal.

(3)    Proceedings in respect of an appeal under this section shall be conducted in chambers.

139. Adoption when corrective order is in force

(1)    A child may be adopted notwithstanding that a corrective order is in force in respect of the child.

(2)    On the application for an adoption order being made in a case under subsection (1) of this section and on being satisfied that the adoption would be for the welfare and best interest of the child concerned, the Court shall suspend the corrective order so as to enable the applicant to have the child in his case for a period of at least three consecutive months immediately preceding the date of the adoption order.

140. Adoption where maintenance order is in force

(1)    A child may be adopted notwithstanding that a maintenance order is in force in respect of the child.

(2)    Where, at the time when an adoption order is made in respect of a child, a maintenance order requiring a person to contribute towards the maintenance of that child under this Act or any other law is in force, the maintenance order shall cease to have effect at that time.

141. Effect of adoption

(1)    On an adoption order being made

(a)    all rights, duties, obligations and liabilities, including any other order under the personal law applicable to the parents of the child or any other person in relation to the future custody, maintenance supervision and education of the child, including all religious rights, right to appoint a guardian and to consent or give notice of dissent to marriage, shall be extinguished; and

(b)    there shall vest in, and be exercisable by and enforceable against the adopter

(i)     all rights, duties, obligations and liabilities in respect of the future custody, maintenance, supervision and education of the child, and

(ii)    all rights to appoint a guardian and to consent or give notice of dissent to marriage of the child, as would vest in the adopter as if the child were a natural child of the adopter, and in respect of those matters, the child shall stand to the adopter in the relationship of a child born to the adopter.

(2)    Where a husband and wife are joint adopters of a child, they shall

(a)    in respect of the matters specified under this section; and

(b)    for the purpose of the jurisdiction of the Court to make orders as to the custody and maintenance of and rights of access to the children, stand to each other and to the child in the same relationship as they would have stood if the child were their natural child and in respect of those matters, the child shall stand to them in the relationship of a child born to the adopters.

(3)    For the purposes of the devolution of the property on the intestacy of the adopter an adopted child shall be treated as a child born to the adopter.

(4)    In a disposition of property made after the date of an adoption order, reference, whether express or implied, to

(a)    the child or children of the adopter shall, unless the contrary intention appears, be considered as including, a reference to the adopted child; and

(b)    a person related to the adopted child in any degree shall, unless the contrary intention appeared, be construed as a reference to the person who would be related to him in that degree if he were the natural child of the adopter and were not the child of any other person.

142. Establishment of the Adopted Children Register

(1)    The Chief Registrar shall establish and maintain a register to be called and known as the “Adopted Children Register” in which shall be made such entries as may be directed by an adoption order to be made therein, but no other entries.

(2)    An adoption order shall contain a direction to the Chief Registrar and the National Population Commission (in this Part of this Act referred to as the Commission)to make in the Adopted Children Register entry in the form specified in the Fifth Schedule to this Act.

(3)   If on any application to the Court for an adoption, there is proved to the satisfaction of the Court that

(a)    the date of the birth of the child; and

(b)    the identity of the child is identical to, a child, to whom any entry in the Register of Births kept by the Commission relates, the adoption order shall contain a further direction to the Chief Registrar to cause that birth entry in the Register of Births to be marked Adopted and to include in the entry relating to the adoption of the child in the Adopted Children Register the day of the child’s birth.

(4)    Where an adoption order is made in respect or a child who had been the subject of a previous adoption order, made by the court under this Act, the order shall contain a direction to the Chief Registrar and the Commission to cause the previous entry in the Adopted Children Register in respect of that child to be marked “Readopted”.

(5)    The Court shall cause a copy of every adoption order to be communicated to the Chief Registrar and the Commission and on receipt of the order, the Chief Registrar and the Commission shall comply with the directions contained therein.

(6)    A certified copy of an entry in the Adopted Children Register if purporting to be stamped or sealed by the Chief Registrars office shall be proof of the adoption as is therein specified and where the copy of the entry includes the date of the birth of the child to whom it relates, it shall be proof also of the date without any further evidence as though the same were also a certified copy of an entry in the Register of Births.

(7)    The Chief Registrar shall cause an index of the Adopted Children Register to be made and kept in the Registry,

(8)    The Chief Registrar shall, in addition to the Adopted Children Register and the index thereof keep such other registers and books and make such entries therein as may be necessary to record, in connection with an entry in the Register of Births which has been marked Adopted,

(9)    Any such Register or books as are mentioned in subsection (8) of this section or any index thereof. if any, shall not be liable to searches by members of the public and the Chief Registrar shall make a certified copy thereof or furnish any information therein contained to any person except under an order made by the Court.

(10) On the revocation of an adoption order, the Court shall cause the fact of the revocation to be communicated to the Chief Registrar who shall cause to be cancelled

(a)    the entry in the Adopted Children Register relating to the adopted child; and

(b)    the marking with the word Adopted or Readopted of any entry relating to the child in the Register of Births.

(11) A copy of an extract of an entry in any register being an entry the marking of which is cancelled under this section shall be deemed to be an accurate copy if both the marking and the cancellation are omitted therefrom.

143. Prohibition of certain payments for adoption

(1)    No adopter or any other person shall

(a)    except with the sanction of the Court, receive or agree to receive any payment or reward in consideration for or for the facilitation of the adoption of a child under this Act;

(b)    make or give or agree to make or give to an adopter any payment or reward the receipt of which is prohibited by this subsection.

(2)    A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding thirty thousand naira or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three year or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(3)    Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (2) of this section, an adoption order affected by the payment prohibited under subsection (1) of this section may be allowed to continue or be resolved at the discretion of the Court having regard to all the circumstances of the case particularly the best interest of the child.

144. Restriction on interState adoption

(1)    Except under a licence issued pursuant to section 145 of this Act, no person shall permit or cause or procure the care and possession of a child to be given to any person outside the State in which the adoption order was made with a view to getting the child adopted by any person.

(2)    A person who permits or causes or procures the possession of a child to be given to any person

(a)    outside the State in which the fostering order was made or

(b)    outside Nigeria with intent to getting that child fostered by that person commits an offence.

(3)    A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (i) of this section commits and offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of thirty thousand Naira or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.

(4)    A person who commits an offence under subsection (2) of this section is liable on conviction to a term of

(a)    in the case of an offence under subsection (2) (a) of this section, to imprisonment for a term of ten years;

(b)    in the case of an offence under subsection (2) (b) of this section to imprisonment for a term of fifteen years.

145. Licence to give child for interState adoption

(1)    Subject to this section, the Minister may grant a licence for a child to be transferred to a person, subject to such conditions and restrictions as he may think fit authorising the care and protection of a child for whom interstate adoption arrangements have been made.

(2)    A licence shall not be granted under subsection (1) of this section unless the Minister is satisfied, as respects every person whose consent is required under section 132 of this Act to the making of an adoption order for the child, that

(a)    the application for the licence is made with the consent of that person: or

(b)    the consent of that person can properly be dispensed with on any ground on which the Court could dispense with a consent to an adoption order under that section,

(3)    A licence shall not be granted under this section unless the Minister is satisfied

(a)    that the person to whom the care and possession of the child is proposed to be transferred is a suitable person, under the provision of this Act, to be entrusted with the child; and

(b)    that the transfer is for the welfare and best interest of the child.

(4)    The Minister shall, in granting a licence under this section, have consideration to the wishes of the child having regard to the age and understanding of the child.

146. Recognition of other adoption

Where a person has been adopted under any law in force in any Part of Nigeria, or under the law of any other country other than Nigeria, the adoption shall have the likely validity and effect as if the adoption has been effected by an adoption order under this Act.

147. Adopted parents, etc., prohibited from marrying adopted child

(1)    A marriage between a person who has adopted a child under this Act or a natural child of the person who adopted the child and the adopted child is hereby prohibited and any such marriage shall be null and void.

(2)    A person who marries an adopted child in violation of subsection (i) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not exceeding fourteen years.

148. Visit of adopted child development officers

(1)    The Director of Child Development in the State Ministry shall keep himself informed from a time to time, of the condition and welfare of a child adopted by any person in the State and arrange for officers of his Department to do all or any of the following

(a)    to pay periodic visits at reasonable times, to every child adopted under this Act;

(b)    to enter any premises for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is any contravention by any person of any condition or adoption imposed in an adoption order or any provision of this Act in relation to an adopted child.

(2)    During any visit under subsection (1) of this section, the officer paying the visit may require production of the adopted child or that information be given regarding the condition of the child.

(3)    A person who

(a)    without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a requirement imposed by a child development officer; or

(b)    obstructs a child development officer in the exercise of the powers conferred by this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred Naira or imprisonment not exceeding three months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

PART XIII

The Family Court

149. Establishment of the Family Court

There shall be established for each State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja a court to be known as the Family Court (in this Act referred to as the Court) for the purposes of hearing and determining matters relating to children.

150. Court to have two levels

The Court shall be at two levels

(a)    the Court as a Division of the High Court at the High Court level: and

(b)    The Court as a Magistrate Court, at the Magistrate level.

151. General jurisdiction

(1)    Subject to the provisions of this Act and in addition to such other jurisdiction as may be conferred on it by any other law, the Court shall have unlimited jurisdiction to hear and determine

(a)    any civil proceeding in which the existence or extent of a legal right, power duty, liability privilege interest, obligation or claim in respect of a child is in issue; and

(b)    any criminal proceeding involving or relating to any penalty, forfeiture, punishment or other liability in respect of an offence committed by a child, against a child or against the interest of a child.

(2)    The reference to civil or criminal proceedings in this section includes a reference to a proceeding which originates in the Court and that which is brought by the Court at the High Court level to be dealt with by the Court in the exercise of its appellate or supervisory jurisdiction,

(3)    The Court shall, in any matter relating to or affecting a child or a family and at all stages of any proceedings before it

(a)    be guided by the principle of conciliation of the parties involved or likely to be affected by the result of the proceedings, including .

(i)     the child,

(ii)    the parents or guardian of the child, and

(iii)    any other person having parental or other responsibility for the child; and

(b)    encourage and facilitate the settlement of the matter before it in an amicable manner.

152. Family Court at the High Court level

(1)    The Court at the High Court level shall consist of such member of

(a)    Judges of the High Court of the State and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; and

(b)    assessors, who shall be officers not below the rank of Chief Child Development Officers, as shall enable the Court to effectively perform its functions under this Act.

(2)    The members of the Court at the High Court level shall be appointed by Chief Judge of the State and in the case of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory. Abuja.

(3)    The Court at the High Court level shall be duly constituted if it consists of

(a)    a Judge; and

(b)    two assessors, one of whom has attributes of dealing with children and matters relating to children preferably in the area of child psychology education.

(4)    The Court at the High Court level shall have power to

(a)    deal with all matters relating to the enforcement of the rights of the child as set out in this Act on the application for redress by a child who alleges that a right has been, is being, or is likely to be infringed in respect of him;

(b)    deal with all offences punishable with

(i)     death, or

(ii)    terms of imprisonment for a term of ten years and above;

(c)    deal with other matters relating to a child where the claim involves an amount of fifty thousand Naira and above;

(d)    deal with divorce and custody of the child; and

(e)    hear appeals from the Court at the Magisterial level.

(5)    Appeals shall lie to the Court of Appeal on any matter decided by the Court at the High Court level in the same manner as appeals lie in respect of matters decided by the High Court.

153. Family Court at the Magistrate Court level

(1)    The Court at the Magisterial level shall consist of such number of

(a)    Magistrates, not below the rank of Chief magistrate ; and

(b)    assessors, who shall be officers not below the rank of Senior Child Development Officer, as shall enable the Court to effectively perform its functions under this Act.

(2)    The members of the Court at the Magisterial level shall be appointed by the Chief Judge of the State and in the case of the Federal capital Territory, Abuja, the Chief Judge of the High Court.

(3)    The Court at the Magisterial level shall be duly constituted if it consists of

(a)    a Magistrate;

(b)    two assessors, one of whom shall be a woman and the other person who has attributes of dealing with children and matters relating to children, preferably in the area of child psychology education,

(4)    The Court at the Magisterial level has power to try offences and deal with all matters not specifically assigned to the Court at the High Court level under Section l52 of this Act.

(5)    Appeals lie to the Court at the High Court level from a decision of the Court at the Magisterial level in the same manner as appeals lie from the decisions of Magistrates Courts to the High Court of the State.

154. Professionalisation and training of Court personnel

(1)    The personnel of the Court shall be afforded professional education, inservice training, refresher courses and other modes of instruction to promote and enhance the necessary professional competence they require.

(2)    The contents of the education, training and courses referred to in Subsection (1) of this section shall be such as shall reflect the diversity of the children who come into contact with and the diversity and complexity of matter dealt with by the Court.

(3)    In constituting a Court handling a matter concerning a child, consideration shall be given to the circumstances and the needs of the child, particularly the age, sex, religion or other special characteristics of the child.

155. Right to counsel, etc.

A child has the right to be represented by a legal practitioner and to free legal aid in the hearing and determination of any matter concerning the child in the Court.

156. Exclusion of persons from attending court

No person, other than

(a)    the members and officers of the Court ;

(b)    the parties to the case, their solicitors and counsel;

(c)    parents or guardian of the child; and

(d)    other persons directly concerned in the case, shall be allowed to attend the Court, and, accordingly, member of the press are excluded from attending a Court

157. Prohibition of publication of child’s name, etc.

(1)    No person shall publish the name, address, school, photograph, or anything likely to lead to the identification of a child whose matter is before the Court except in so far as is required by the provisions of this Act.

(2)    A person who acts in contravention of the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of fifty thousand naira or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

158. Proceedings to be in the interest of the child

The proceedings in the Court shall be conducive to the best interest of the child and shall be conducted in atmosphere of understanding; allowing the child to express himself and participate in the proceedings.

159. Attendance of parents, guardians or child at the hearing in the Court

(1)    In any proceedings in which the Court is hearing an application for an order under this Act, or is considering whether to make an order, the Court may order the parents, guardian or the child concerned to attend such stage or stages of the proceeding as may be specified in the order.

(2)    The power conferred by subsection (1) of this section shall be exercised in accordance with the rules of the Court.

(3)    Where an order made under subsection (1) of this section has not been complied with or the court has reasonable cause to believe that it will not be complied with, the Court may

(a)    make an order authorising a police officer or such person, as may be specified in the order to

(i)     take charge of the child and to bring him to the Court, and

(ii)    enter and search any premises specified in the order if he has reasonable cause to believe that the child may be found on the premises; or

(b)    order any person who is in a position to do so to bring the child to the court

(4)    Where the Court has reason to believe that a person has information about the whereabouts of child, it may by order require the person to disclose such information to the Court.

(5)    A person who refuses to comply with an order made under this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand naira or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

160. Evidence giving by a child

(1)    In any proceedings, whether civil or criminal, the evidence of a child may be given unsworn

(2)    A deposition of a child’s sworn evidence shall be taken for the purposes of any proceedings, whether civil or criminal, as if that evidence had been given on oath.

161. Rules for procedures, fees, etc.

(1)    The Chief Justice of Nigeria may make rules regulating the procedure in the Court the parties entitled to participate in any proceedings, the fees to be charged and the forms to be used in proceedings.

(2)    The provisions of any written law relating to the practice and procedure in Magistrate Courts or High Courts, as the case may be, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act shall have effect with respect to proceedings in the Court.

162. Exclusive jurisdiction

(1)    No other Court, except the Family Court , shall exercise jurisdiction in any matter relating to children as are specified in this Act.

(2)    The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not affect the jurisdiction of the normal criminal courts to try cases or offences by adult offenders as specified in Part III of this Act or any other law.

PART XIV

Child Minding and Day Care of Young Children

163. Registration, etc., of child minding and day care centre

(1)    Every State Government shall keep a register into which shall be entered the names and other particulars of persons who

(a)    act as child minders on domestic premises within the area of the appropriate authority: and

(b)    provide day care for children under the age of six years on premises other than domestic premises within the areas of the State Government.

(2)    A person

(a)    acts as child minder if

(i)     the person looks after one or more children under the age of six years, for reward, and

(ii)    the period, or the total of the periods, which the person spends in looking after the children in day exceeds two hours; and

(b)    provides day care for children if the period, or the total of the periods during which children are looked after by the person in any day exceeds two hours.

(3)    Where a person provides day care for children under the age of six years on different premises situated within the same State, the person shall make a separate application with respect to each of those premises.

(4)    A person who

(a)    is the parent, or a relative, of a child;

(b)    though, not the parent of a child, has parental responsibility for the child; or

(c)    is a foster parent of a child, is not a child minder for the purposes of this Part when looking after the child.

(5)    Where a person is employed as a nanny for a child, she does not act as a child minder when looking after that child wholly or mainly in the home of the person so employing her.

(6)    Where a person is employed by two different employers, she does not act as a child minder looking after any of the children concerned wholly or mainly in the home of either of her employers.

(7)    A person who wishes to be entered in the register kept under subsection (1) of this section shall apply in writing to the State Government to be so registered.

(8)    A State Government may refuse to register an applicant under subsection (1) (a) of this section, if it is satisfied that

(a)    the applicant; or

(b)    a person looking after, or likely to be looking after, children on the premises on which the applicant is, or is likely to be, child minding, is not fit to look after children under the age of six years.

(9)    A State Government may also refuse to register an applicant under subsection (1) (a) of this section, if it is satisfied that

(a)    living, or likely to be living; or

(b)    employed, or likely to be employed, at any premises on which the applicant is, or likely to be, child minding is not fit to be in the proximity of children under the age of six years.

(10) A State Government may refuse to register an applicant under subsection (1) (b) of this section if it is satisfied that a person looking after, or likely to look after, children on the premises to which the application relates is not fit to look after children under the age of six years.

(11)  A State Government may also refuse to register an applicant under subsection (1) (b) of this section, if it is satisfied that a person

(a)    living, or likely to be living; or

(b)    employed, or likely to be employed, at the premises to which the application relates, is not fit to be in the proximity of children under the age of six years.

(12) A State Government may refuse to register an applicant under this section if it is satisfied

(a)    in the case of application under subsection (1) (a) of this section, that the premises on which the applicant is, or is likely to be, child minding; or

(b)    in the case of an application under subsection (1) (b) of this section, that the premises to which the application relates, is not fit to be used for looking after children under the age of six years, whether because of the condition of the premises or the condition of any equipment used on the premises or for any reason connected with the situation, construction, style or location of the premises.

(13) For the purposes of this section, a person acts as a nanny for a child if she is employed to look after the child by

(a)    a parent of the child; or

(b)    a person who, though is not a parent of the child has parental responsibility for the child.

(14) A register kept under this section

(a)    shall be open to inspection by members of the public at all reasonable times; and

(b)    may be kept by means or a computer.

(15) The provisions of Part VI of Fourth Schedules and 6 to this Act shall have effect for the purpose Fourth of making further provisions with respect to registration under this section, including, in particular, further provisions for exemption from the requirement to be registered and provisions for disqualification.

164. Conditions to be complied with by child minders

(1)    Where a State Government registers a person under section 163 (1)(a) of this Act, it shall in addition to the requirements set out in subsection (2) of this section impose Such reasonable conditions on the person as it considers appropriate in each case.

(2)    A State Government shall on registering a child minder

(a)    specify that the maximum number of children, or the maximum number of children within specified age groups, whom the child minder may look after when acting as child minder shall be five;

(b)    require the child minder to secure that any premises on which he so looks after the children, and the equipment used on those premises, are adequately maintained and kept safe;

(c)    require the child minder to keep a record of the name and address of every

(i)     child being looked after by him on any premises within the area of the State Government.

(ii)    person who assists in looking after the child, and

(iii)    person living, or who is likely at any time to live those premises ;

(d)    require the child minder to notify the State Government in writing of any change in the names and addresses of persons mentioned in paragraph (c) (ii) and (iii) of this subsection.

(3)    A State Government may, at any time vary, any condition imposed by it under this section

(4)    The Minister may, by regulations, make provisions as to

(a)    conditions which shall be imposed by State Governments under this section in prescribed circumstances;

(b)    conditions of such descriptions as may be prescribed which shall not be imposed by State Governments under this section;

(c)    the annual fees payable in respect of registration and inspection of premises.

165. Conditions to be complied with by persons providing day care for children

(1)    Where a State Government registers a person under section 163 (1) of this Act, it shall, in addition to the requirements set out in subsection (3) of this section, impose such reasonable conditions on the person as it considers appropriate in each case.

(2)    Where a person is registered under section 163 (1) (b) of this Act with respect to different premises within the area of the same State Government, this section shall apply separately in relation to each registration.

(3)    A State Government shall on registering a person providing day care for children

(a)    specify the maximum number of children, or the maximum number of children within specified age groups, who may be looked after on the premises;

(b)    require the person to secure that the premises on which he so looks after the children and the equipment used on those premises, are adequately maintained and kept safe;

(c)    require the person to notify the State Government in writing of any change in the facilities which he provides or in the period during which he provides those facilities

(d)    specify the number of persons required to assist in looking after children on the premises;

(e)    require the person to keep a record of the name and address of every

(i)     child looked after;      

(ii)    A person who assists in looking after the child; and

(iii)    person who lives or is likely at any time to live, on the registered premises;

(f)     require the person to notify the State Government in writing of any change in the names and address of a person mentioned in paragraph (e) (ii) and (iii) of this subsection.

(4)    In determining the maximum number of children to be specified under subsection (3) (a) of this section, the State Government shall take account of the number of other children who may at any time be on the premises

(5)    A State Government may at any time vary, remove or add to any of the conditions imposed under this section

(6)    The Minister may, by regulations, make provision as to conditions

(a)    which shall be imposed by State Governments under this section in prescribed circumstances;

(b)    of such descriptions as may be prescribed which shall not be imposed by State Governments under this section.

(7)    In subsection (3) of this section references to children looked after are references to children looked after in accordance with the provision of day care made by the registered person

166. Cancellation of registration of a child minder

(1)    The State Government may at any time cancel the registration of a child minder if

(a)    it appears to the State Government that the circumstances of the case are such that the State Government would be justified in refusing to register that person as a child minder; or

(b)    the care provided by that person when looking after any child as a child minder is in the opinion of the State Government seriously inadequate having regard to the needs of that child; or

(c)    the child minder has

(i)     contravened or failed to comply with any requirement of or conditions imposed on him under section 165 of this Act;

(ii)    failed to pay any annual tee under paragraph 7 of the Sixth Schedule to this Act within the prescribed time.

(2)    The State Government may at any time cancel the registration of person providing day care for children with respect to particular premises if

(a)    it appears to the State Government that the circumstances of the case are such that it would be justified in refusing to register that person as a person providing day care;

(b)    the care provided by that person when on the premises is, in the opinion of the State Government seriously inadequate having regard to the needs of the children concerned; or

(c)    that person has

(i)     contravened or failed to comply with any requirement of or condition imposed on him under section 165 of this Act; or

(ii)    failed to pay any annual fee under paragraph 7 of Schedule 6 to this Act within the prescribed time.

(3)    The State Government may at any time cancel the registration of person providing day care for children if it appears to it that the circumstances of the case are such that It would be justified in refusing to register that person with respect to any premises.

(4)    Where a condition to carry out repairs or make alterations or additions has been imposed on a registered person under section 164 or 165 of this Act, his registration shall not be canceled on the ground that the premises are not fit to be used for looking after children if

(a)    the time set for complying with the condition has not expired; and

(b)    it is shown that the condition of the premises is due to the repairs not having been carried out or the alteration or additions not having been made.

(5)    A cancellation under this section shall be in writing.

(6)    In considering the needs of a child for the purposes of subsection (1) (b) or (2) (b) of this section, a State Government shall in particular have regard to the religious persuasion and cultural and linguistic background of the child.

167. Protection of children, emergency cases of cancellation of registration, etc.

(1)    Where an application is made to the Court for an order

(a)    canceling a registered persons registration;

(b)    varying any condition imposed on a registered person under section 164 or 165 of this Act; or

(c)    removing a condition or imposing an additional condition on such a person, the Court may make the order if it appears to the Court that a child who is being, or may be, looked after by a person, or as the case may be, in accordance with the provision for child minding or day care, is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm.

(2)    Any cancellation variation removal or imposition order made under this section shall have effect from the date on which the order is made.

(3)    An application under subsection (1) of this section may be ex parte and shall be supported by a written statement of the State Governments reasons for making it.

(4)    Where an order is made under this section, the State Government shall serve on the registered person, as soon as is reasonably practicable, after the making of the order

(a)    notice of the order and of its terms; and

(b)    a copy of the statement of the State Governments reasons which supported its application for the order.

(5)    Where the Court imposes or varies any condition under subsection (1) of this section, the condition, or the condition as varied, shall be treated for all purposes, other than for the purpose of section 173 of this Act, as if it had been imposed under section 164 or 165 of this Act, by the State Government concerned.

168. Powers of the State Government to inspect premises, etc.

(1)    A person authorised to do so by a State Government may at any reasonable time, enter

(a)    any domestic premises within the State in which child minding is at any time, carried on; or

(b)    any premises within a State in which day care for children is at any time, provided.

(2)    Where a State Government has reasonable cause to believe that a child is being looked after on any premises within the State in contravention of this Part of this Act a person authorised to do so by the State Government may enter the premises at any reasonable time

(3)    A person entering any premises under this section may inspect

(a)    the premises;

(b)    child being looked after on the premises;

(c)    the arrangements made for the health welfare of the child being looked after on the premises; and

(d)