Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN), has condemned the decision of some state governments, especially in the Northern part of the country, to reject Almajirais that were returned to their states of origin.
In a statement dated May 17, titled “Almajirai: Let the Children Live” and made available to THISDAY in Port Harcourt, PAN commended attempts by governors of Northern States in Nigeria to modify the Almajirai system but faulted its implementation process, which have made the children to be victims rather than beneficiaries of the reforms.
In the statement signed by the President of PAN, Professor Edward Alikor, and the Secretary, Dr. Patronila Tabansi, the association expressed regret that Nigerian children are being treated like pawns in a chessboard by political leaders.
The statement reads in part: “The Paediatric Association of Nigeria is concerned at the news report of many children, called the Almajirai, evacuated from some states in Northern Nigeria and being rejected and sent back by the receiving states.
“We regard the decision of the Northern governors to modify the Almajirai system as a well-directed step for the future and well-being of these children and Nigeria. The Almajirai are known to constitute over 72 per cent of the country’s 13.2 million out-of-school children.”