Khadijat Saidu, Birnin Kebbi.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC), Women Commission, has noted that over ten million Almajiri, orphans and vulnerable children are roaming the streets in Nigeria while criminals are keeping their weapons and drugs with them.
Chairperson of the TUC, Women’s wing, Kebbi State Chapter, Comrade Hafsat Abdulhamid Jamoh stated this during a 1-day program on “Child Abuse and Almajiri Syndrome, Community Responsibilities to Build a Morally Sound Society.”
She said: “In both Islam and Christianity, a child needs not beg for food and other essential needs. His food, security and other basic needs are guaranteed by law, his parent and relatives.
“The state is also obligated to meet the child demands including feeding, clothing, shelter and education.
“Let me use this privileged opportunity to inform you that over ten million Almajiri, orphans and vulnerable children are roaming the streets of Nigeria, most particularly in the northern and southern region respectively, begging for food; this indeed, is a disgrace to our regions and nation.”
She added that, relegating children to Almajiri system is tantamount to child abuse, violations of their fundamental rights which are guaranteed by Nigeria’s constitution.
The National Chairperson of the Women Commission, TUC, Hajia Hafsat Shuaib who commended the Kebbi State Chapter for organizing the program, appealed to Nigerians not to perceive the problem of Almajiri as a Northern thing, but something that we must collectively solve.
She disclosed that, apart from sexual and child abuse, there are other evil treatments that they are subjected to in the streets; they are exposed to criminals who keep weapons and drugs with them during the day, in most cases, they cannot resist.
She therefore called on, parents, traditional rulers, religious leaders to see the almajiri as their own. Adding that in Africa, a child belongs to everybody because we have the culture to nurture children irrespective of who are their parents.
While declaring the program open, Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Establishment, Training and Pension, Dr. Isa Muhammed noted that the present administration has done a lot for women and child development through the Ministry of Women Affairs.
He also condemned child abuse and relegation of children to almajiri system, adding that the society has completely derailed from the original system of Almajiri.
The governor assured the Congress that the state government would continue to support any organization with the course of women and children development.