Almajirai from Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, found in Kaduna

THE Kaduna State government on Friday announced that its officials have discovered children from Niger Republic, Burkina Faso and Benin Republic among 160 Almajirai “rescued” by it.

“Officials of the Kaduna State government task force enforcing COVID-19-related regulations rescued the 160 children from locations that are neither licensed as schools nor authorised as children’s homes,” it said.

Some of the rescued children were toddlers who were not yet able to properly identify themselves.

A statement on Friday by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, said the places where the children were found were operating in violation of regulations that had ordered the closure of all schools since December 2020.

The statement reads: “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 right 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.

“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: Kebbi, 16; FCT Abuja, 2; Katsina, 15; Kano, 15; Zamfara, 8; Sokoto, 1; Nasarawa, 12; Niger, 5; Kwara, 4; and Kogi, 2.

Others were Oyo, 2; Kaduna, 68; Niger Republic, 5; Burkina Faso, 3; and 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 subsisting free, compulsory education and public health regulations.”


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