Almajiri: NHRC seeks action from northern leaders
Following the impact of Covid-19, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for the development and implementation of a programme of action by Northern States governments to permanently address the challenges posed by the Almajiri system to children and the larger society.
In an advisory issued in Abuja yesterday and signed by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, the Commission noted that the “Almajiri children are exposed to increased vulnerabilities and risks, including death, trafficking, kidnapping, drug use and addiction, recruitment into terrorism, violent crimes, sexual and other forms of assault and forced/child marriages.”
The Commission noted that the Almajiri children suffer multiple violations of human rights, which go contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, the Child Rights Act, the Child Rights Laws (applicable to some states), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and other international human rights instruments relating to the protection of the rights of the child.
The Commission called on Northern states governments to develop a multi-sectoral “programme of action for the transfer, return and rehabilitation of Almajiri children”.
A major step towards achieving this will be an obligation on the part of affected states to “put in place financial, institutional and programmatic frameworks to urgently address the needs of the Almajiri children”, the Commission advised
The NHRC also called for “adequate protection programs, basic support services and empowerment programs to address poverty and other socio-economic vulnerabilities that made the parents send out the children in the first place.”
The three-page Advisory enjoined States to “put in place adequate plans for the enrolment and retention of Almajiri children in schools, including access to existing programmes such as school feeding and free education aimed at addressing the educational needs of the children in line with their rights to basic and compulsory education as guaranteed under the CRA and the Universal Basic Education Act.”