Home General Almajiri Child Rights Day: Tackle almajiri issue, group tells Tinubu

Almajiri Child Rights Day: Tackle almajiri issue, group tells Tinubu

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The President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has been urged by the Almajiri Child Rights Initiative, to help reduce the menace of the Almajiri in the northern part of the country.

The NGO, led by its Director, Mr Mohammad Keana, made the call in Abuja at the 2023 Almajiri Child Rights Day.

The theme of the event: “Transformative Actions to Address the Situation of Almajiri Children in Northern Nigeria,” seeks to provide equal opportunities for the Almajiri children.

Keana tasked the incoming administration with effective laws and political tools that can be used to address the situation of these children, adding that the Child Rights Act must be made to work in all states.

“For us to have all these, it is about building family support in the community and also providing alternative care for these children, as well as enforcing the existing laws so that they are not being exploited the way we see them.”

Mr Hamzat Lawal, while speaking at the event, the Chief Executive of Connected Development, called on states yet to domesticate and pass CRA to do so to provide equal opportunity and access to these children with others.

In his statement, every child deserves to live a dignified life and have access to timely education, irrespective of where they are, where they come from and their social status.

“We want these children, who are known as almajiri, to contribute their quota to nation building and society; we cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if we don’t take care of the children that are on the street, the vulnerable.

“Just yesterday, the Kano State House of Assembly passed the Child Protection Act. Now we are calling on the Executive Governor of the state to sign this into law before he leaves office, and other state Executive Governors to do the same, they still have time before handing over.

“I also believe that the incoming government must ensure that we have the political will with committed resources for almajiri children, and, most importantly, work with partners, CSOs, the private sector, and UN agencies to achieve the SDG.

“If we work together and are sustainable, we can put this almajiri issue behind us and move forward as a country. Every country that does not take care of people that are vulnerable is a country that will never prosper.”

He mentioned that the almajiri syndrome must be a “collective effort, where society will frown at the way these children live.”
Lawal said the traditional and religious institutions must also play their roles.

“Children are being raped and molested because our society has shown a blind eye to the necessary thing, that is the Act that protects the children. We must also carry on with behavioural change for things to work in the country,’’ he stressed.

Mr. Joseph Apeh, Advocacy and Campaign Coordinator, Save the Children International in Borno, also called on Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano to ensure he signs the Child Rights Act before leaving office.

Apeh also called on Bauchi State to sign the CRA.

“We are calling on all states to pass, sign, and comprehensively implement the CRA in Nigeria. That law is comprehensive, it covers nutrition for the child, health, education, and everything a child needs.

“We need to focus on the law, implement it to the fullest,’’ Apeh stressed.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, who also spoke at the occasion, noted that the socio-economic implication of the almajiri phenomenon is enormous in a country that is facing harsh economic realities.

Tallen, who was represented by Mr Ali Madugu, Director, Child Development Department of the ministry, stated that the almajiri situation requires the concerted action and commitment of both the government and NGOs to address it.

According to her, the ministry, in its efforts to tackle the almajiri dilemma, has since 2006 moved to secure a solution to address the challenges by convening a stakeholder’s forum in Gusau, Zamfara state.

She said that to put the issue of almajiri is on the front burner for stakeholders’ solutions, including the government. Other efforts include the conduct of surveys to determine the number, peculiarity of vulnerabilities as well as possible solutions to the problem.

“The Federal Government is also setting up other programmes such as the alternative school programme for out of school children and the homegrown school feeding programmes to encourage enrolment, retention, and graduation, especially from primary school and junior secondary school.”

She appreciated the ACRI and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund for organising the programme and to further bring to the fore the almajiri issue for further attention.

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