The Kaduna State Government Task Force enforcing COVID-19 related regulations have rescued 160 children from locations that were neither authorised nor licensed as schools or children’s homes, an official has said.
Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication, who said this in a statement, on Friday, in Kaduna, added that the children were from 13 states across the country, and neighbouring countries, including toddlers, who were unable to properly identify themselves.
”The operatives of the state task-force rescued 160 children whom they have sorted out, according to their states of origin as Kaduna 68, Kebbi 16, Katsina 15, Kano 15, Nasarawa 12, Zamfara 8, Niger 5, Kwara 4, FCT Abuja 2, Kogi 2, Oyo 2, one from Sokoto 1.
”Others are Niger Republic 5, Burkina Faso 3 and Benin Republic 1.
”The children are being profiled, documented and subjected to health checks, including test for Covid-19 infections, after which they will be transported to their states of origin and handed over to the relevant officials,’’ Adekeye said.
He added: ”The children confirmed to be bona fide citizens of Kaduna State will be relocated to their local governments of origin and handed over to the Local Government Council officials for documentation, registration and future enrolment into schools under the care of their parents or guardians.
”The children from the ECOWAS countries will be handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service for necessary attention.
He explained that the locations, where the children were found, had been operating in violation of regulations that had ordered the closure of all schools since December 2020.
Adekeye said keeping children in unauthorised places also contravened the state’s land use regulations and was inconsistent with the policy of repatriating almajirai 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.
The special adviser reminded all Non-Governmental Organisations, corporate entities, religious leaders and faith-based institutions to comply with the state’s laws prescribing free and compulsory education for all children, in properly registered schools.
The Ministries of Human Services and Social Development, Education, Health and Justice, he said, had been mandated to enforce the State’s Universal Basic Education Law, Child Welfare and Protection Law and Street Hawking and Begging (Prohibition) Law, alongside policies on the free, compulsory education and public health regulations.
“Since the repatriation of 31,092 Almajiri in March 2020, the state government 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, relocated from other states,’’ Adekeye further said.
He reiterated the state government’s appeal to all citizen to take responsibility for the proper upbringing, welfare and care of their children.