The Almajiri Child Right Initiative on Saturday appealed to government at all levels to develop and implement policies that offers long term solution to Almajiris in the country.
Mr Mohammed Keana, leader of the group, made this call at a news briefing in Abuja to commemorate the Almajiri Child Right Day.
He stressed the need for stakeholders to set up a task team to address the social, educational, nutritional and security situation of Almajiris in the country.
Keana said the day was to draw the attention of the government toward addressing ‘Almajiri’s welfare as they are the mostly abused children in the country.
“In Nigeria, grey areas around religion and culture have repeatedly been used to justify the abuse and exploitation of the ‘ Almajiri’.
“The child is abandoned by parents, exploited by some scholars and caregivers and constituting nuisance to the society.
“The current state of the Almajiris portends a real and existential threat that if left unchecked, could have profound consequences.
He, however, said the entrenched inhumanity towards them was unacceptable; saying “Now, it’s time to act.”
According to him, most of the children are sent from age five and do not receive any formal education.
“They live in shabbiest conditions with many facing nutritional challenges aggravated by daily street begging.
“According to UNICEF report, there are nine to 10 million Almajiris in Northern Nigeria.
“The situation makes the children prime targets for radicalism, turning gullible youths who have been largely abandoned by society and lacking structured homes into recruits for banditry and terrorism,” he said.
Keana, however, called on relevant stakeholders in the international communities to add their voices to the plight of Almajiri, especially in terms of education, nutrition, healthcare, sanitation and achieving the SDGs in the country.
The Almajiri Child Rights Initiative (ACRI), an NGO, 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.
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