UNICEF calls for domestication of Child Rights Act

By Raphael Jov, Abuja

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on Kano state government to domesticate Nigeria Child Rights Act in order to provide the framework for child protection.

UNICEF country Representative, Peter Hawkins made the call yesterday, during a webinar, organized by the organization in partnership with Kano State Government and Almajiri Child Rights Initiative (ACRI) to discuss the Alternate pathways and future of Almajiri children in the state.

Recall that in 2003, Nigeria passed the Child Rights Act but so far only 25 states have domesticated the law while 11 states are yet to do so.

Hawkins called on traditional leaders, communities and parents to look at putting children at the fore-front of what they do. “Government should also look at domesticating the Child Rights Act in Kano. Kano has not yet domesticated the Child Rights Act. The Act defines the rights of a child, parents, communities and government in fulfilling the rights of that child.”

“We need to enhance the social protection element, increase livelihood, identify and reintegrate these children with their families.”

He stressed that the issue of girls’ education is so critical that all must look for alternative ways not leave them behind. “With the COVID19 lockdown, this is a period to skill up the teachers, bring the girls and boys back to school and give them access to education. It’s about the ability to value what they will learn.”

On his part, the Executive Governor Kano state, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje said the state has already decided to carry out a census to build up data of almajiri children and create a sustainable programme for them.

He said; “We found out we have three categories of Almajiris in Kano – those that belong to Kano state, those from other states and those that don’t know where they come from. These children have a right to be educated, protected and a right to be with their parents. We are trying to create a sustainable program, so even when we leave office the program will still be sustained.”

“Our new policy on education is taking care of the girl-child. Education in Kano now free, so people will not be marginalized. Education in Kano is now compulsory from primary to secondary. Compulsory education is now included in the law. There are new schools that we have created and we shall continue to create new schools. Recruitment of teachers is gradual. Pertaining to financing, apart from the normal budgets for education in Kano, we also created an education trust-fund,” the governor said.

Also speaking, the Chief Imam Al furqan Mosque, Kano Dr Bashir Aliyu Umar said the Quranic Education cannot exist without the endowment system, urging the governor to set a regulatory system to ensure that standards are maintained.

“Emphasis should be given to solving the economic challenges of the Almajiri schools rather than integration. Because of the economic challenges, the children do not get what they should from the Almajiri schools,” he added.

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