By Sylvester Thompson/Aderogba George
Sen. Ahmad Babba-Kaita representing Katsina north senatorial district has said that the almajiri challenge is the next greatest danger Nigeria is facing after Boko Haram.
The senator said this in Abuja at an event organised by an advocacy group known as Almajiri Child Right Initiative (ACRI), to mark the 2019 Almajiri Child Rights Day.
Babba-Kaita said that these neglected children constitute the scourge of the society who could easily be recruited into banditry, kidnapping and other vices.
He observed that in a situation where the government is overwhelmed, individuals and nongovernmental organisations should rally around to see how this escalating problem can be handled.
He maintained that ACRI is one of the greatest advocacy groups on the rights of almajiri children and needed more support in tackling the menace including the number of out-of-school children.
The lawmaker added he would work with other interested lawmakers to ensure that the bill on the regulation of the almajiri system go for third reading at the National Assembly.
Also, Mr Ahmed Buhari, a presidential aspirant under the platform of Sustainable National Party (SNP) in the concluded general elections, said parents must be made to take full responsibilities of their children.
He observed that the almajiri children lacked parental care, love and good upbringing.
“It is therefore imperative that we sit down in a round table and find the best possible ways to address this problem which may eventually consume us,” Buhari added.
He emphasized the need for the country to have a proper data management system in order to know how best to handle the inadequacies confronting the nation.
Mr Mohammed Keana, founder and team leader of ACRI in his address, emphasized that Nigeria and the world cannot achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, without resolving the almajiri child right crisis.
He said ACRI is joined by other child right advocates in Nigeria and across the world, to mark the second annual Almajiri Child Rights Day.
“This is to draw attention to one of the world’s most abused set of children,” Keana said.
He further said that ACRI is calling on the government to immediately set up a multi-stakeholder task team and come up with a unified position on how to address this challenge.
“Government must address the social, educational, nutritional and security situation of the almajiri child.
“We need a medium-term enlightenment plan for building consensus with actors and benefactors,” he said.
Keana also called on the legislature to pick up where their predecessors left and pursue an all encompassing solution to child destitution in Nigeria.