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100 girls begin training in sexual, reproductive health  in Kaduna–NGO

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By Stella Kabruk

Awareness

Kaduna, Aug. 22, 2019 Hope for the Village Child, a Kaduna-based Non-Governmental Organisation, says it is training 100 adolescent girls in sexual and reproductive health, to prevent them from taking risky sexual behaviours.

The Coordinator, Ruth Barrera, made this known during a round-table discussion with the participants  in Kaduna on Thursday.

She said that the aim was to insulate adolescent girls from unwanted pregnancies and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

The Coordinator noted that 21 per cent of the 900,000 adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 in Kaduna state were reported to have gotten pregnant in 2018.

Barrera said the organisation was also creating safe spaces at Local Government Health facilities for adolescent girls to access information on sexual and reproductive health.

“We want to provide appropriate sexual and reproductive health information and friendly services to young people.”

She pointed out that similar safe spaces were created for persons living with HIV and AIDS also known as “ heart to heart centres”.

“ This project seeks to close the gap in the implementation of the 2010 National Reproductive Health Policy on healthy sexual development and sexuality of adolescent girls by advocating for the creation of safe spaces at the local government health facilities for adolescent girls.

“ In Chikun LGA of Kaduna state, incidences of unplanned pregnancies, complications during child birth, school drop outs, early marriage, sexually transmitted disease and complications from unprofessional abortions among adolescent girls is on the increase.

“Most of these girls fall within the age range of 14-19 years.”

According to her, the issues continue to increase as a result of non or limited implementation of the National Reproductive Health Policy by Kaduna State Government.

She said that the gap had left adolescent girls with no access to adequate information on sexual and reproductive health, thus leaving them to shoulder higher burden of diseases, low level of education and poverty.

“Kaduna state has an estimated number of adolescent girls to be 900,000. In February 2019, a report by Daily Trust online showed that 21 per cent of teenage girls aged 15 to 19 have been pregnant in the state last year and the number keeps increasing.

“With proper awareness, the adolescent girls would patronise the safe spaces in health facilities better without the fear of being labelled “bad girls”.”

She listed Sabon Tasha General Hospital, Mararaban Rido Primary Healthcare Centre and Kujama Primary Healthcare Centre as health facilities for the project.

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COVID-19: Kaduna ends 2nd phase of palliatives distribution

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The Kaduna State Government says it has ended the second phase of the distribution of relief materials to low income earners and vulnerable people across the state.

The government said in a stament that almost all the 14 local governments that were not covered in the first phase had enefitted.

The Secretary to Kaduna State Government, Malam Balarabe Lawal, said this in a statement issued on Monday in Kaduna.

He said that only Birnin Gwari and Kubau Local Government Areas were yet to distribute the items, but that they had arrived at the council headquarters.

Balarabe, who is also the state Chairman of COVID-19 Relief Distribution Committee, pointed out that “the second phase minimised human discretion in the distribution exercise, which made it more objective and less rancorous’’.

‘’The list of benefitting households was drawn up from multiple data bases like the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme and data from telecommunication companies, detailing individuals who recharge less than N100 per month in that locality.

‘’Likewise, the Ministry of Health which had earlier distributed mosquito nets to people from the lowest rung of society, provided data of vulnerable and needy people,’’ he added.

The chairman also said that all the lists were further scrutinised and harmonised by Cluster Committees across the 32,000 clusters in the 14 local government areas.

‘’The Cluster Committees comprised two women, an Islamic cleric and a Christian clergy as well as a councillor per cluster.

“In communities that are somewhat religiously homogenous, the faith-based representatives on the Cluster Committee reflected the two dominant sects of the religion in the area,’’ he said.

According to Balarabe, benefitting households were given coupons which they present before receipt of their package to ensure proper record keeping and accountability.

The statement further said that the coupons contained the names, addresses and telephone numbers of beneficiaries.

‘’In all, 32,000 households benefitted from the exercise and each household got a package which comprised a 10 kg bag of rice or spaghetti, 10 kg bag of semovita or Gari, 5 kg bag of beans and one carton of noodles, including one 3 kg of vegetable oil,’’ he said.

Balarabe said that ‘’the market value of all the food items is N11,000 per package and that they were put in white Kaduna State Government branded sacks to avoid confusion.’’

The secretary to the state government listed the benefitting local governments as Lere, Kudan, Giwa and Soba.

‘’Others are Kubau, Ikara, Makarfi, Kauru and Kajuru, including Sanga and Zangon Kataf as well as Kagarko and Jaba Local Governments,’’ he added.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Health

Covid-19: 4-month-old child discharged in Kaduna

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The Kaduna State Government on Saturday disclosed that the four-month-old child that tested positive to COVID-19 has been discharged.

The government, however, said there are still 76 active cases in the state as at Friday.

In an update by the Commissioner of Health, Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, out of the 232 cases reported, 149 have been discharged, while seven deaths have been recorded.

She said that the state had tested almost 2, 000 samples, warning  that “case numbers are likely to rise further as more tests are conducted in more places.”

COVID-19 cases have been recorded in 33 wards in nine local government areas of the state: Chikun, Giwa, Igabi, Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Makarfi, Sabon-Gari, Soba and Zaria. The data showed that 80 per cent of the infected persons are male.’’

According to her, most of the cases either have a history of interstate travel or are contacts of infected persons.

“In addition to public health warnings to avoid interstate travel, state health officials have been engaged in vigorous contact tracing to contain the spread of the infections.

The Ministry has further stepped up active case searching and testing in communities to stem secondary infections.”

Mohammed-Baloni added that the testing capacity of the state “is being enhanced to enable more aggressive testing in the coming weeks.”

She said that the state had taken delivery of a mobile testing truck and “awaits the delivery of equipment that would enable the mobile truck and 12 GeneXpert machines spread across several general hospitals to increase the number of testing labs in the state.

 “The addition of the flexibility of a mobile testing vehicle and testing labs in LGAs will enable the state to ascertain with greater accuracy its COVID-19 status and allow that data to inform further decision on reopening the state.’’

Mohammed-Baloni noted that the testing laboratory at Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital Kaduna is awaiting validation by Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Body commends Kaduna for social register dev’t

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The National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) on Saturday commended the Kaduna State Government for taking steps to develop its social register 100 per cent.

The Coordinator, Mr Iorwa Apera, gave the commendation in Kafanchan, while addressing Community-Based Targeting Teams (CBTTs) and enumerators undergoing training on community-based targeting processes of Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHHs).

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the CBTTs and the enumerators were being trained to support communities in the identification and capturing of PVHHs into the state social register.

NASSCO, under the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development is building a National Social Register and coordinating livelihood support to extremely poor and vulnerable households in the country.

Apera, who was represented by the Acting Head of the National Social Register (NSR), Mr Mohammed Bala, explained that the expansion of the NSR was a gradual process.

He said that NASSCO begun building the NSR with 30 per cent coverage across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

He added that no state would be allowed to proceed to capture the remaining 70 per cent of the PVHHs until the coverage of the 30 per cent was completed.

But Kaduna state who is currently building the social register in nine Local Government Areas applied for approval to speed up the capturing process to 100 per cent.

“The state agreed to sponsor the training of the CBTTs and enumerators to support the capturing of the remaining 70 per cent PVHHs in all the local government areas of the state.

“This is the first of its kind in the country.

“I commended the Kaduna state government for keying into the project and for financing the training in ensuring that all poor and vulnerable households in the state are captured in the social register,” he said.

The coordinator explained that the community-based targeting process was one of the most important aspect of the process involved in identifying and capturing of PVHHs in the social register.

According to him, the CBT teams were being trained to ensure that they engage and support the communities in the process of building the social register.

He said that facilitation of the training in the three centers, one in each Senatorial Zone was impressive, adding that social distancing protocol was strictly adhered to.

The coordinator explained that the NSR was the aggregation of all the state social register designed to aid the states and the federal government in planning, particularly for the poor and vulnerable.

Also speaking, Mrs Nina Dawong, Coordinator, State Operations Coordination Unit of the National Social Safety-Nets Programme, urged the CBTTs and enumerators to consider the assignment as a call to serve humanity.

Dawong advised them to strictly adhere to the social distancing protocol and other preventive measures against coronavirus while in the field.

Similarly, Mr Ahmed Muhammad, Zonal Officer, North West and North East, Management Information System Office, urged the enumerators to be diligent in carrying out their task to ensure reliable data.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Agriculture

Farmers free to access farms despite lockdown – Kaduna govt

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The Kaduna State Government, says farmers across the state are free to access their farms in spite of the restrictions of movement occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hajiya Halima Lawal, Commissioner of Agriculture, said in a press statement issued in Kaduna that farmers should go for land preparations and other farming activities for the 2020 cropping season.

“The ministry, with the support of partners, has deployed fertilisers and other inputs to all the 23 Local Government Areas in the state.

“Similarly, companies that sell improved seedlings and other farm inputs have been encouraged to set up shop at the various fertiliser sales points, enabling farmers to purchase all required inputs in one-stop-shops across the Local Government Areas for time and cost effectiveness,” she added.

The commissioner warned against the diversion of the fertiliser being sold to farmers at N5,000 per bag, noting that the government had  received reports of some individuals buying up the subsidised fertiliser by proxy.

‘’These middlemen, through their agents, buy up as many bags of fertiliser as possible, with the intention of reselling above the official price of N5,000.”

Lawal said security operatives have been mandated to arrest anyone involved in sabotaging government effort to make fertilizer available at affordable price for farmers.

According to her, the ministry has been running radio and television announcements, advising residents to report all suspicious cases of diversions or any illicit activities.

“Whistle-blowers should remain assured of their anonymity while reporting to these dedicated telephone numbers: 08030453360, 08029133240.’’

She warned the perpetrators to desist from such unpatriotic acts that posed threat to food security and the economy.

Lawal stressed that in spite of the lockdown,  the state government has allowed unfettered movement of agricultural items and inputs, to ensure food availability.

Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Economy

Group lauds Kaduna community engagement in social register enrollment

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A group, the Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC) has commended the state government for engaging members of the community in the identification and documentation of Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHHs) in developing the state’s Social Register.

The Chairperson of the group, Ms Jessica Bartholomew made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , on Friday in Kafachan, Kaduna.

Bartholomew, who spoke on the sideline of a three-day training of Community-Based Targeting Teams (CBTT), said that community-driven approach to government interventions was key to building the needed public trust and sustainability of the programme.

She said that the community-based targeting allowed the community to identify, validate and select specific members of the community that met the criteria of PVHHs to be enrolled in the register.

“This is in line with the guidelines of the National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) to ensure community participation and ownership.

“The community-led approach is a clear evidence of citizens engagement in the formulation and implementation of government programmes in the state,” she said.

Bartholomew also lauded the state government for engaging Civil Society Organsations (CSOs) and media in the process of identification and documentation of the PVHHs.

She particularly commended the state’s Focal Person on National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP), Mrs Saude Atoyebi for partnering with CSOs and media in rolling out social protection programmes in the state.

The chairperson called on the targeting teams and enumerators saddled with the responsibility of supporting the communities to identify and capture the PVHHs, to carry out the task devoid of politics.

According to her, generating accurate data of the poor and vulnerable households in the state is crucial in the delivery of social protection interventions to the targeted group.

“Capturing the wrong people in the register will thwart the main goal of social protection interventions.

“Therefore, generating accurate data is the only way that government interventions will get to the targeted group.

“It is, therefore, imperative to ensure that the data is accurate so that no PVHHs will be deprived of being protected from vulnerability and economic shocks,” she said.

Atoyebi had explained at the opening of the training in Kaduna that the State Operations Coordinating Unit (SOCU) had been working tirelessly to update the PVHHs register in the state.

She said that the state had captured more than 130,000 PVHHs in nine Local Government Areas namely: Kachia; Sanga, Kauru, Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Kajuru, Ikara, Kubau and Lere.

She added that Gov. Nasir El-Rufai had directed that all PVHHs in all the LGAs be captured in the social register for planning and delivery of social protection interventions.

“The effort is being supported by the state government and guided by NASSCO,” she said.

NAN reports that training is taking place simultaneously in the three Senatorial Zones to build the capacity of the CBTTs and enumerators on community-based targeting processes.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Rabiu Sani Ali (NAN)

 

 

 

 

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Kaduna Govt. tasks enumerators of poor, vulnerable households on accurate data

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Kaduna State Government on Friday, directed enumerators of Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHHs) in the state to strictly adhere to prescribed guidelines to ensure accurate and reliable data.

Mr Rabiu Dankaka, Managing Information Officer System II, Kaduna State Operations Coordinating Unit of the National Social Safety-Nets Programme, gave the directive at a three-day training in Kafanchan.

Dankaka explained that the main task of the enumerators was to administer data collection tools to poor and vulnerable households identified by the community.

He described the enumerators as “ambassadors” of the project, which actions and behaviour could affect the accuracy of the information that they collected.

He advised the enumerators to carefully listen to the respondents with patience, positive and friendly mind, adding that non-adherence to guidelines would produce erroneous and unreliable data.

According to him, accurate and reliable data is the “corner stone” in planning and implementation of social protection interventions targeted at the poor and vulnerable households in the state.

The MIS officer warned that under no circumstances should the enumerators attempt to reduce the size of a household,no matter how large they are.

He equally warned that on no account should the enumerators seize the opportunity of insecurity to compromise the standard procedures of the exercise.

“Only permanent and resident members of the community, who have been duly identified during the community engagement for the identification of PVHHs, should be enumerated.

Members of the PVHHs that are not permanently residing in the community should not be enumerated.

“Enumerators should also ensure that all information of every member of the PVHHs are collected, with address clearly captured, including community name and PVHHs number.

Similarly, Mr Joshua Yakubu, one of the facilitators, urged the teams to support community identification of the targeted group in an objective, transparent, reliable, and accessible manner.

In a paper entitled, “Grievance Redress Mechanism”, Yakubu said that the National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) had set up a grievances redress structure.

He added that the structure from the federal, state, local government, and community levels, was designed to receive, discuss, and resolve complaints from community members and other relevant stakeholders.

The News Agency of Nigerian reports that the state government is training Community-Based Targeting Teams (CBTTs) and Enumerators to support capturing of PVHHs in the state social register.

The training is taking place simultaneously in the three Senatorial Zones to build capacity of the CBTTs and enumerators on community-based targeting processes.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo (NAN)

 

 

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Labour, Civil Society flays deduction of salaries of workers, pensioners by Kaduna Govt, other States

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The Labour Civil Society Situation Room on COVID-19 has criticised the arbitrary deduction in the salaries and pension of workers and pensioners by the Kaduna State Government and other States.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, the President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Chairman of the Labour Civil Society Situation Room, said this in a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting on Thursday in Abuja.

The meeting was held to review the recent developments pertaining to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on the economic front.

Wabba said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room reviewed the decision by the Kaduna state government and a few other states to deduct the salaries of workers in their states, including healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 challenge.

“Even worse is the threat by Gov. Nasir El-Rufai to sack affected workers if they go on strike.

”This anti-worker practice championed by the Kaduna State government violates the fundamental principles and rights at work.

“These principles and rights are key components of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) global labour standards and are also codified in our laws.

”The infringement of these rights is a crude abuse of power and akin to modern day slavery.

“Wages are binding contracts which cannot be unilaterally or arbitrarily reviewed. It is unfortunate that while some states are giving incentives to workers at this time of grave health emergency, in line with global trend.

The Kaduna State Government is taking away from workers and pensioners. This is nothing but a full-blown industrial tyranny,” he said.

Wabba said the situation room was behind the ultimatum by workers in the affected states for a reversal of the unjust decision, adding it fully stands by workers’ resolve to embark on strike, if their demands were not met.

He said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room demanded that the state governments must reciprocate Federal Government’s gesture in granting moratorium on repayment of budget support palliatives by paying workers and pensioners their full entitlements.

“We also renew our calls for investigation on how states used the palliatives and Paris Club refunds.

“We demand that private sector employers should stop the retrenchment of workers in the guise of COVID-19 as such moves would only impair efforts geared at economic revitalisation,” he said.

Wabba said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room applauded the Federal Government for reversing the directive by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to place workers on half salaries based on the claims of shortfall in revenue owing to COVID-19.

“This is the way to go for all employers in the public and private sectors in order to protect the livelihood and dignity of workers.

“The continued incidence of job losses, income deprivation and denial of the means of livelihood for workers by some employers in Nigeria on the excuse of COVID-19 is a source of worry to us,” he said.

The NLC president therefore said that Labour Civil Society Situation Room recommended that for immediate term, governments should adopt a measured approach to the fallout of COVID-19.

Wabba said government should not cut down on budgetary allocations to education, health, agriculture and infrastructure as these sectors were critical for the needed economic rebound and growth.

He also said government should unfreeze the embargo on public sector jobs, adding that hike in user access charges on public utilities should be shelved for the next six months.

“Given the abuse of security votes by many political office holders. we call for the scrapping of security votes from public budgeting in Nigeria.

“We call on political office holders to reduce their salaries and allowances in order to free up finances for other areas of national developmental needs.

“We also call for an end to medical and education tourism for elected public officials and their families.

“We call for an immediate stop to the practice of borrowing to finance consumption.

“We call for foreign loans where necessary to be tied exclusively to capital projects with feasible income and debt repayment potentials cum projections,” he said.

Wabba also called for accelerated disbursement of palliatives and loans to workers in the informal sector.

He said that this should be transparent, inclusive and monitored by mass-based groups, adding that the conditions for access to the loans should be minimal to deepen access.

Wabba said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room also recommended that the budgetary and planning process in Nigeria should be overhauled to become more socially inclusive, citizens-centred, value objective and reflective of real national developmental needs.

“We call on the National Assembly to set in motion legislative processes to deliver the promises of Chapter Two of Nigeria’s Constitution.

“On the budget process, we must cut our cloth according to our materials. We must discard the use of assumptive and deficit budgets that cannot be funded by available resources and heavily dependent on local and foreign loans especially for recurrent expenditure.

“We call for the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex, proper governance for our solid minerals sector, revival of moribund textile factories and other manufacturing concerns as a demonstration of our commitment to economic diversification,” he said.

Wabba said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room reiterates its commitment to defend jobs, wages and livelihoods.

He added that all interventions in this crisis must be geared at enhancing productivity, stimulating economic growth, promoting diversification of the economy and mobilising and empowering national productive forces.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Kaduna State Social Register will leave no one behind – official

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The Kaduna State Government says it will capture all Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHHs) in the state’s social register and leave no one behind in all social protection interventions.

Mrs Saude Atoyebi, Focal Person, National Social Investment Programme in the state, gave the assurance  in Kaduna at the opening of a three-day training of Community-Based Targeting Teams (CBTT).

Atoyebi said that without evidence-based data of PVHHs, it would be difficult  to serve the poor and vulnerable in the state.

According to her, generating the data is critical in the provision of support to PVHHs.

She said that the number of PVHHs captured in the social register from nine local government areas of the state was barely 20,500 in mid-2019.

She listed  the council areas  as Kachia, Sanga, Kauru, Birnin Gwari, Chikun,  Kajuru, Ikara, Kubau and Lere.

“Having recognised the importance of this data, Gov. Nasir El Rufa’i directed that the social register be populated with all poor and vulnerable households.

“This is because it is only when the PVHHs are identified and captured in the register that the state and the Federal Government will be able reach out to them with various interventions.

“Today, we have more than 130,000 PVHHs across the nine LGAs in our register, and plans have been concluded to gradually capture all poor and vulnerable households in the state.

The State Operations Coordinating Unit has been working tirelessly to achieve this feat.

“This training is a milestone in actualising a social register that leaves no one or group behind,” she said.

The focal person added that the mandate would be achieved with the support of the state government and guidelines from the National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office.

She noted that the training was taking place simultaneously in the state’s three senatorial zones to build the capacity of the CBTTs on community-based targeting processes.

She said that the main task of the targeting teams would be to support communities in identifying and capturing  poor and vulnerable households into the social register.

She noted that the PVHHs were more likely to be affected in the event of catastrophe, adding  that it was government’s responsibility to provide them  with the necessary support  to live decently.

The Kaduna State Government has today, entrusted you with the noblest of service – to serve the poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

“Through your efforts, the poor and vulnerable households will stand a better chance at a life of dignity.

“This will actualise the vision of Gov. El-Rufa’i to ensure that no poor person sleeps hungry or suffers avoidable socio-economic shocks,” she said.

Atoyebi advised the targeting teams to observe all health protocols such as social distancing, hand washing and wearing of mask, while carrying out their duties.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the training was conducted in strict compliance with safety measures against coronavirus, such as  use of face mask, social distancing and use of hand sanitiser.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

 

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Group wants Kaduna govt. to ensure full implementation of child protection law

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The Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC) has called on the state government to ensure full implementation of its Child Welfare and Protection Law, 2016.

The Chairperson of the group, Ms Jessica Batholomew, made the call in a statement in Kaduna against the backdrop of Wednesday’s Children’s Day celebration.

Batholomew said that the state enacted the law to protect children from all forms of abuse as well as ensure their educational development among other needs.

She, however, noted that the law was being partially implemented since enactment in 2016, adding that full implementation of the law and other policies would ensure uninterrupted growth and development of the child.

According to her, the child protection law, policies and programmes  are crucial in building the needed human capital in the state.

“The various interventions to improve child health and nutrition and the due attention to protecting the interest of the child were quite commendable, ” she said.

She particularly commended the state for promoting free and compulsory education for every child in the state from primary to senior secondary school.

Batholomew equally lauded the bold step of the government to end the almajiri system of education by insisting that all such pupils in the state must acquire basic education alongside quranic education.

According to her, the decision to prosecute parents who enrol children in such exploitative and abusive education system will restore the children’s right to basic education.

The Almajiri education system requires a child to leave his parent at a very tender age and move with his quranic teacher from place to place.

“With no provision for feeding and care for the child, the almajiris are forced to roam the street, begging for alms to survive, thereby exposing them to all kinds of physical, health and psychological hazard.

“I am confident that the step taken by the government will surely restore their dignity and make them better citizens and live long to achieve their full potential,” she said.

The chairperson, however, urged the government to ensure full implementation of the law compelling parents and caregivers to send their children to school.

She further called on the state government to expand the radio and television teaching programme introduced to keep children learning while on lockdown at home due to COVID-19.

(
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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