By Hassan Zaggi
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on communities, parents and traditional leaders in Kano to put children at the fore-front of all that they do.
This is even as it has appealed to the Kano State Government to domesticate the Child Right Act.
Recall that in 2003, Nigeria passed the Child Rights Act into law, unfortunately, however, only 25 states have domesticated the law.
Eleven other states are yet to do so.
UNICEF country Representative, Peter Hawkins, made the call yesterday, during a webinar conference, organized by UNICEF in partnership with Kano State Government and Almajiri Child Rights Initiative (ACRI).
The focus of the conference was to discuss the alternate pathways and future of Almajiri children in the state.
“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,” Hawkins reiterated.
According to him, the issue of girls’ education is so critical that all must look for alternative ways not to leave them behind.
“With the COVID-19 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,” UNICEF Chief noted.
Speaking, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, said that his government has concluded plans to carry out a census to build up data of almajiri children so as to create a sustainable programme for them.
“We found out that 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,” Governor Ganduje, said.
On his part, the Chief Imam, Al furqan Mosque, Kano, Dr Bashir Umar, argued that the Quranic education cannot exist without the endowment system.
He, therefore, urged Governor Ganduje to set up a regulatory system to ensure that standards are maintained.