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Centre urges northern govs to curb forced child begging

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The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has urged state governments in northern Nigeria to develop and implement measures that would permanently address the menace of forced child begging in the region.

Executive Director, CHRICED, Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, at the Public Presentation of a Research Report titled: “Shackled To The Post: An Exploration Of The Best Prospects For Combating Forced Child Begging In Nigeria,” yesterday, in Abuja, said neglecting the plights of the children might lead to violent conflicts in future.

Zikirullahi, who regretted that massive scale forced child begging in Nigeria, especially in northern Nigeria, has continued because it is receiving no effective attention from government, said: “The Almajiri question is one that all actors within and outside government can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to. This point becomes even more pertinent when the extent of insecurity confronting Nigeria is put in the proper context. As we speak, the gory stories of the activities of armed bandits, kidnappers and other violent criminals in North-West have become staple for daily news updates.

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“In North-East, the Boko Haram insurgency continues to rage. In North-Central, the activities of herdsmen continue to undermine security of lives and peaceful co-existence. The reality of over 10 million children wandering the streets, with no education, healthcare and other basic necessities to make them a proper part of society, amounts to yet another recipe for future violent conflicts.”

According to him, instead of addressing their plights, there had been a state-sanctioned series of attacks on the rights of Almajiri children.

“This has taken the form of raids, and forceful transportation to so-called states of origin. At the height of the pandemic from between March to August, northern states competed among themselves in forcefully transporting groups of Almajiri children to the boundaries of the states they had supposedly come from. In a bid to show they were fighting the virus, many northern governors quickly targeted and made scape-goats of Almajiri children, he added.

He said that such knee-jerk reactions had not solved the problems, as these children continue to be present on the streets of the major cities in the north.

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