….as Kebbi State gov’s wife launches project
By Gabriel Ewepu
It has been a source of worry and concern over the years with the menace of street children in Nigeria whose population proportion is the largest with a number of 40 million children, which out of this figure over 10.5 million of them, are out of school, while 17. 5 million of them are categorised as orphans and vulnerable and lack adequate care and protection.
Taking the bull by the horn from a point of determination an international humanitarian organization, ActionAid Nigeria, has moved into Kebbi State, to rescue child-beggars and labourers (almajiri) with the launch of Enhancing the Rights of Children to Care Protection and Accountable Parenting in Nigeria, ERCCAP- N, partnering a civil society organization based in Kebbi State, Active Support for Rural People Initiative, ASURPI, to restore child dignity and responsible parenting.
This was contained in the address of welcome delivered by the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, who was represented by Head of Programmes, ActionAid Nigeria, Suwaiba Yakubu-Jibril, while explaining objectives of the project.
According to Obi ActionAid Nigeria deemed it necessary at this point to intervene with other partners following the vulnerability and undue treatment innocent children are passing through, which the government alone cannot tackle, but expressed optimism that with this project it will go a long way to add value to the life of vulnerable children.
She added that with the project that it would reduce the risk they are facing daily by empowering their parents with what they choose to acquire skills from in order to provide for their children at home and to train them properly in both western and Islamic education in their communities.
The ERCCAP-N project is a three year project has been launched in Bauchi and Akwa Ibom States already, which aims at abolishing child street begging and discrimination on the bases of status, gender, race and other conditions with these objectives, reorientation of people in communities on the constitutional and religious provisions on the rights of children and negative implications of parental neglect.
Others are facilitating the process of withdrawal and promoting integration of street children and children labeled witchcraft back to their families, provision of livelihood support to mothers of child street beggars, facilitation of children’s access to integrated education within their environment, promoting the implementation of Child Rights Acts at all levels.
She said: “Enhancing the Rights of Children to Care Protection and Accountable Parenting in Nigeria, ERCCAP- N project, comes with a unique approach to challenge each stakeholder to their constitutional and religious responsibility through self-realisation and consciousness as well as capacity building, which are necessary requirements for achieving the rights of children.
“This project is ActionAid Nigeria’s response to the plight of children who have lost or are in the verge of losing their legal and constitutional rights to a life of dignity. Child care is an obligation of parents and the society from both religious and constitutional perspectives.
“ActionAid re-affirms its belief that a society, where the right of every child to protection, participation and overall development is possible hence we extend our hand of partnership and collaboration with the state, parents, traditional and religious leaders for a total child irrespective of their religion tribe, race, state and social status.”
Official launching of the ERCCAP-N project in the State, Wife of Kebbi State Governor, Aisha Bagudu, said the government supports the project, assured malams of support to their almajiri schools and charged parents to take responsibility of the welfare of their children.
Bagudu also urged local government chairmen should contribute to support the project for its success.
Also speaking was whose Chief Executive Officer, ASURPI, Mr Ibrahim Ngaski, who stated that, “We going to strategise with intensified advocacy, engagement with relevant stakeholders including the Olamas, Local Government Chairmen, traditional rulers and other civil society organizations, which they will be part of the advocacy movement to reach the people for thorough sensitization, especially the parents and children.
Meanwhile, one of the district heads in the State from Tiggi, Sarkin Sudan Tiggi, of Argungu Emirate Council, Alhaji Musa Yusuf, promised to take the objectives of the ERCCP-N project to his emirate and start engagements with his village heads.
He also canvassed to amanjiris’ clusters, which also they are to have identity cards that would enable government track them and prevent them from becoming public nuisance, and also people can easily access and give them assistance in cash and kind instead of running all over the place and expose themselves to dangers out there.