The Kaduna State government has said it will relocate rescued ‘almajiris’ to their respective states and neighbouring countries.
Officials of the State Task Force enforcing COVID-19 related regulations said they rescued at least 160 children from different parts of the state on Friday.
The officials said some of the rescued children are toddlers who cannot identify themselves.
In a statement Friday sent to PREMIUM TIMES and signed by the media adviser to the governor, Muyiwa Adekeye, he said the children were rescued in locations “that are neither authorised and licenced as schools nor as children’s homes”.
Mr Adekeye said the rescued children are from 13 states in the north and south of Nigeria. Some of them are from Benin Republic, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic, he added.
He also said that the locations in which the children were found were operating in violation of the state regulations that had ordered the closure of all schools since December 2020.
According to him, “keeping children in unauthorised places is inconsistent with the policy of repatriating almajiri to their states to continue their education under care of their parents in regulated schools”.
“The widespread practice of having children and then outsourcing and avoiding the responsibility for their moral, religious, and educational needs is neither supported by our monotheistic religions nor our culture.
“It is also a violation of the State’s Universal Basic Education Law, Child Welfare and Protection Law and Street Hawking and Begging (Prohibition) Law.” he said
The full statement of Mr Adekeye is reproduced below:
KDSG rescues 160 Almajirai
Officials of the Kaduna State Government Task Force enforcing Covid-19 related regulations have rescued 160 children from locations that are neither authorised and licensed as schools nor as children’s homes. Some of the rescued children are toddlers who are not yet able to properly identify themselves. The rescued children are from 13 states in the north and south of Nigeria. Some of the kids are from Benin Republic, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic.
The locations in which the children were found were operating in violation of regulations that had ordered the closure of all schools since December 2020. By keeping children in unauthorised places, the locations were also in contravention of KDSG land use regulations and inconsistent with the policy of repatriating almajirai to their states and local governments of origin to continue their education under the care of their parents, and in properly registered and regulated schools.
KDSG wishes to remind all non-governmental organisations, corporate entities, religious leaders and faith institutions that the state government has laws prescribing the free and compulsory education of all children in properly registered schools. The rights of the children described as almajirai to be treated with the dignity accorded all other children is a matter of fairness and equality of treatment that no responsible government should compromise.
Since March 2020, 31,092 almajiri children have been repatriated to their states of origin since the Northern Governors Forum decided to jointly end the abuses associated with the Almajiri system. Since then KDSG has undertaken a continuous exercise to identify locations where these children are being kept and taken steps to rescue them from such places and reunite them with their patents to continue their education. As part of the implementation of this policy, Kaduna State has received 1,118 children from the state who were relocated from other states.
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In the latest round of this exercise conducted this week, operatives of the state task-force rescued 160 children whom they have sorted according to their state of origin as follows:
1. Kebbi: 16
2. FCT Abuja: 2
3. Katsina: 15
4. Kano: 15
5. Zamfara: 8
6. Sokoto: 1
7. Nasarawa: 12
8. Niger: 5
9. Kwara: 4
10. Kogi: 2
11. Oyo: 2
13. Kaduna: 68
14. Niger Republic: 5
15. Burkina Faso: 3
16. Benin Republic: 1
The children are being profiled, documented and subjected to health checks, including test for Covid-19 infections, after which they will be transported to their states of origin and handed over to the relevant officials. The children confirmed to be bona fide citizens of. Kaduna State will be relocated to their local governments of origin and handed over to the Local Government Council officials for documentation, registration and future enrollment into schools under the care of their parents or guardians. The children from ECOWAS countries will be handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service for necessary attention.
KDSG reiterates its appeal to our citizen to take responsibility for the proper upbringing, welfare and care of their children. The widespread practice of having children and then outsourcing and avoiding the responsibility for their moral, religious, and educational needs is neither supported by our monotheistic religions nor our culture. It is also a violation of the State’s Universal Basic Education Law, Child Welfare and Protection Law and Street Hawking and Begging (Prohibition) Law. The Ministries of Human Services and Social Development, Education, Health and Justice have been tasked to enforce these laws, along with with subsisting free, compulsory education and public health regulations.
Special Adviser to the Governor (Media & Communication)
15th January 2021
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