The Sokoto State Government, on Monday, said all the 92 repatriated Almajiri pupils from Niger and Kaduna State, would be enrolled into school.
The children were repatriated as part of measures to forestall the spread of COVID-19.
A’isha Dantsoho, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Women and Children Affairs, stated this on Wednesday at a Child Protection Training Workshop, organised by the ministry in partnership with UNICEF.
Dantsoho said that 33 pupils were repatriated from Kaduna State and 59 from Niger, adding that all the pupils were quarantined at the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp, Sokoto.
She said that 11 pupils who tested positive to coronavirus had been treated.
The permanent secretary added that the pupils had been registered with the National Population Commission (NPC) and were given birth certificates, for onward enrolment into proper schools in their respective settlements.
She stated that six out of the pupils were from the Niger Republic and had been transported back to their country.
Dantsoho described the workshop as timely, and a recognition of the state government’s efforts on child protection.
She said that the government had engaged stakeholders’ engagement on child protection processes, which lead to the domestication of the child protection law in the state.
Dantsoho noted that the state government had established sexual assault referral centre, while enlightenment campaigns on child protection and strengthening of prosecuting organs for proper protection had been vigorously pursued.
Speaking via zoom, Mrs Nkiruka Maduechesi from UNICEF Abuja, said that child protection processes were multifaceted and require collaboration among stakeholders not just government agencies.
Maduechesi said that child protection should be a collective responsibility involving parents, community members, traditional and religious institutions, as well as all tiers of government.
She highlighted the importance of defending the children against all forms of abuses, exploitation and harm, including their deprivation of education, health and feeding, which deterred their growth and development.
The official called on participants to always be in the vanguard of protecting children from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, at all times.
She said that a survey conducted by the NPC in 2014 indicated that six out of every 10 children had experienced one form of violence or the other.
According to the UNICEF official, one out of four girl-child also experienced sexual abuse, while one out of 10 boys had experienced sexual violence.
Maduechesi highlighted the need for access to justice for the Almajiri pupils, as they were part of children in communities, urging people to be abreast of the consequences of child abuse.
She stated that adequate measures should be put in place, to educate people on the relocation of the Almajiri pupils, stigmatisation and other activities, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The official urged that best case management practices for survivors should be enforced and for stakeholders to live up to expectations of safeguarding the children.
In his remark, the District Head of Gagi, Alhaji Sani Umar-Jabbi, who represented the Sokoto Sultanate Council, suggested the inclusion of traditional institutions, especially in the rural areas, in the management of cases and survivors of abuses. (NAN)