As the United Nation craves to institutionalise the rights of child globally, group under the aegis of Almajiri Child Right Initiative, is keen to bring the government of Nigeria to the table to ensure that these category of children receive the desired attention accrued to any other Nigerian child.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, to mark the launch of the group, Secretary of the group Mohammed Sambo Keana and Shirk Nurudeen Lemu Chairman Governing board, jointly stated that the Nigerian government, should be made to know that Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Children states that “ State Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s) legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child”.
According to the group, in its inquest in defence of Article 19 of United Nation charter, “this year we plan to institutionalize May 26th as the “Almajiri Child Rights Day” or Vulnerable Children’s Day ahead of Nationally recognise Children’s day , to bring to the consciousness of Nigerian Government and to focus national and global attention to the world’s most deprived, abused and marginalised set of children.
“Our demand is foir the Nigeria government to immediately set up a multi-stakeholder task team to come up with a unified position on how to address the social, educational, nutritional and security need of the Almajiri child including a medium term enlightenment plan for building consensus with Government.
For the ECOWAS commission, to work with the affected countries to initiate and amend policies that will address the regional implication of ungoverned borders as evidence suggests that migration accounts for a large number of the street begging population in places like Borno State where an estimated one million Almajiri exist”.
The group also call on the United Nations and international organisations
on humanitarian cause to add voices to the plights of the children which has been identified as potential danger, especially in addressing the rights to education, nutrition, healthcare, sanitation and decent work of ten million of them which is also critical in achieving the MDGs in Nigeria.
Almajiri Child Rights Initiative, noted that “May 26th” is aimed to focus the nation’s attention on the plight of millions of Almajiri children and other vulnerable children across the country, as such should be observed on such day each year.
“for too long, we have looked the other way while permitting one of the world worst form of Child Rights violations in recent history involving the Almajiri children who are abused, deprived marginalised and exposed to all forms of dangers. They lack decent Shelter with no access to health care, No education and are subjected to daily street begging.
Many are physically and sexually abused, many are prey for ritualists and agents for banditry activities”.
The Almajiri Child Rights Initiative (ACRI) is a non‐profit organization that aims to end the systemic abuse of Almajiri children through access to better healthcare, nutrition, shelter and a reinvigorated educational curriculum that prepares them for a life of dignity in the 21st Century.
It said that its goal includes serving as a pressure group to inspire policy change through a consistent and persistent evidence‐based advocacy, wide stakeholder engagement and awareness campaigns that leverages traditional and new media.
It will also serve as community influences to pressure the government and all those relevant to solving the Almajiri phenomenon, at the executive and legislative levels, into decisive action.