CSO seeks partnership with Enugu Assembly on 6 months maternity leave

The organization made the appeal on Thursday when they paid a visit to the Enugu State House of Assembly Committee Chairman
on Civil Service and Labour matters, Hon. Osita Oko.

Enugu State coordinator of CS-SUNN, Mr. Finian Ali, who led other members of his team on the visit said that the aim of their visit is seek approval for the extension of paid maternity leave from the current four months to six months in
Enugu State.

“The approval of six months maternity protection will help to promote exclusive
breastfeeding, and ensure that mothers give their babies the quality breastmilk nutrition that
they deserve during this period.

“It will help to stabilize the emotional and mental health of
nursing mother and ensure they are able to breastfeed their babies exclusively.

“This will
translate to improved cognitive and overall wellbeing of the child, and will invariably impact
positively, state and national development, including reducing the huge cost of treatment of
malnutrition in the state,” Ali said.

He said that CS-SUNN has conducted strategic advocacies to critical stakeholders necessary for
influencing and approving the 6 months maternity protection in Enugu state before seeking his intervention.

According to the coordinator, on the 22nd December, 2023, they met with the state Head of Service on the request and also on 16th January, 2024, met with the Civil Service Rules Review Committee, while on the 22nd of January, 2024, they equally met with the Permanent Secretary, ministry of budget
and planning to include the 6-months maternity leave request in the ministry’s
response letter to the head of Service’s memo on the review of civil service rules.

Ali pointed out that nutrition was essential to children’s growth and development, and the first 1000days of a
child’s life (the period from conception to age 2) is critically important for optimal physical,
mental and cognitive growth, health and development.

“We are therefore counting on your
support to facilitate the legislative oversight that will drive the approval of 6-months
maternity leave in the state,” he appealed.

Responding, Hon. Oko said that they are interested in anything that would help the growth of the children in the state and promised to do anything possible to assist.

“I am in support of anything that will help our children. If maternity leave is to be extended to six months, the law will be amended. I will give you all the necessary support you need the House of Assembly,” Oko said.