KADUNA, Nigeria – 160 children have been rescued by the Kaduna State Government Task Force on COVID-19 related regulations from locations that are deemed as unauthorised and unlicensed.
A statement by the Special Adviser to Governor El-Rufai on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, explained that some of the rescued children according to Kaduna State government, ‘are toddlers who are not yet able to properly identify themselves’.
The rescued children, according to the statement are from 13 states in the north and south of the country, adding that some of the kids are from Benin Republic, Burkina Faso and the Niger Republic.
Most of the children according to officials who rescued them were found in locations operating in violation of regulations that had ordered the closure of all schools since December 2020.
The statement noted, “By keeping children in unauthorised places, the locations were also in contravention of KDSG land use regulations and inconsistent with the policy of repatriation of Almajiri to their states and local governments of origin to continue their education under the care of their parents, and in properly registered and regulated schools.”
It added that the rights of the children described as Almajirai have to be treated with dignity accorded all other children as a matter of fairness and equality of treatment that no responsible government should ignore.
The statement explained that since March 2020, 31,092 Almajiri children have been repatriated to their states of origin since the Northern Governors Forum decided to jointly end the abuses associated with the Almajiri system.
“Since then KDSG has undertaken a continuous exercise to identify locations where these children are being kept and taken steps to rescue them from such places and reunite them with their patents to continue their education.
“As part of the implementation of this policy, Kaduna State has received 1,118 children from the state who were relocated from other states,” the statement explained.
The statement gives the number of children per their state of origin as; Kebbi: 16, FCT Abuja: 2, Katsina: 15, Kano: 15, Zamfara: 8, Sokoto: 1 and Nasarawa: 12.
Others are Niger: 5, Kwara: 4, Kogi: 2, Oyo: 2, Kaduna: 68, Niger Republic: 5, Burkina Faso: 3 and Benin Republic: 1.
It explained that the children are being profiled, documented and subjected to health checks, including tests for COVID-19 infections, stressing that after which they would be transported to their states of origin and handed over to the relevant officials.
The statement noted that children confirmed to be bona fide citizens of Kaduna State would be relocated to their local governments of origin and handed over to the Local Government Council officials for documentation, registration and future enrollment into schools under the care of their parents or guardians.
Children from ECOWAS countries, according to the statement, would be handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service for the necessary attention.