A child rights group, Almajiri Child Rights Initiative (ACRI) has stated that protecting the rights of the Almajiri is vital to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It also called on members of the incoming 9th National Assembly to fast track work on the passage of the Child Destitution Bill.
The group stated this on Sunday in a statement to mark the 2019 Almajiri Child Right Day.
ACRI Team Leader, Mr Sabo Keana, and officials who signed the statement enjoined the legislators to pursue an all encompassing solution to child destitution in Nigeria.
EduCeleb.com reports that the United Nations had adopted the SDGs in 2015 towards making the world a better place to live by 2030 and Nigeria is a party to it.
Almajiri is derived from the Arabic word Almuhajiroon, meaning migrants. It is largely used in Northern Nigeria to refer to the about 9 million itinerary children who attend Quranic school in places far from their homes. Many of them end up fending for themselves very early in life and do not usually have access to Western education.
ACRI noted that the rights of the Almajiri is highlighted in at least eight of the Global Goals and challenged SDG advocates in Nigeria and across the international community to add their voices to the plight of the almajiri child.
“With at least 8 out of the 17 SDGs connected to the plight of Almajiri children, it simply means that they considered child rights as critical to the attainment of the SDGs in Northern Nigeria,” the statement noted.
ACRI described the child destitution of the Almajiri as “an urgency driven by both time and democracy that neither Nigeria nor the world can afford to miss if we are to meet our global targets by 2030.”
“11 years from now, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) hope to have eliminated hunger, ensure decent work for all and achieved 15 more things aimed to leave no one behind.”
“At our current rate, over 10 million Almajiri children will be part of those who have been failed by the rest of us,” it added.
It said that was the reason that the theme for this year centered on Almajiri plights and the attainment of SDGs.
It therefore urged the Nigerian Government to immediately set up a multi-stakeholders’ task force to come up with a unified position on how to address the social, educational, nutritional and security situation of the Almajiri child