Covid-19: NHRC urges action programme on almajirai kids

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for the development and implementation of a programme of action by the northern states’ governments to “permanently address the challenges posed by the Almajiri system to children and the larger society.”

It made the call in relation to the repatriation of Almajiri kids to their states of origin across the country.

A press release Friday by the director, Corporate Affairs and External Linkages, Mr. Lambert Oparah, stated in an Advisory Opinion signed by the executive secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, that it 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 statement further stated that the Commission noted that the Almajiri children suffered 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 the 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.”

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