OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a motion which urged the the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) to rescind its decision on banning almajiri system of education until provision is made by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
The House also resolved to urge the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management to include the almajiri children among the beneficiaries of palliatives being distributed by the federal government to the vulnerable and less privileged.
The lawmakers also mandated the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 to enforce the inter-state travel ban order and direct the governors concerned to immediately halt the evacuation of the almajirai, while mandating the Federal Ministry of Health to examine the health conditions of the children so far evacuated.
The resolutions followed a motion under matters of urgent national importance moved by Mrs Aishatu Dukku (APC, Gombe) and co-sponsored by Mr. Shehu Balarabe Kakale (APC, Sokoto).
Mrs. Dukku, while leading debate on the motion, drew the attention of the House to a statement issued by the governors under the aegis of Northern Governors Forum on Tuesday 21st of April, 2020, where they unanimously decided to ban the almajiri system of education and evacuate the children back to their parents or states of origin.
The lawmaker faulted the decision of the NGF saying the children were at risk and currently being exposed to the deadly coronavirus disease.
She revealed that about 10 million children attended the almajiri schools in northern Nigeria with over 500,000 of them living in the state of Kano alone, where majority of the children were currently being evacuated from.
The Gombe lawmaker lamented that the evacuation was jeopardizing the fight against Covid-19 due to the high level of movement of the children from different places and its attendant high risk of infection.
She also expressed concern that the evacuation of the children was against their fundamental human rights of residing anywhere in Nigeria as guaranteed in Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria.
Acording to her, “the evacuation of the children is in violation of the inter-state travel ban currently enforced by the government. Again, the nature and manner in which the children are being transported is dehumanizing and has brought them pain and untold hardships.”
She further explained that in some cases, the children, after travelling for so many hours under harsh weather, were rejected and turned back by their States of origin or at best, they were kept in isolation under dehumanizing and demeaning condition.
She also noted that the action was capable of putting Nigeria on the spotlight of human rights violators and at the same time jeopardize the fight against Covid-19.
The motion was unanimously adopted when the presiding officer put the question.