The United Nations Children's Fund, (UNICEF) has condemned in strong terms, the incessant kidnappings of children in Kano State and other parts of northern Nigeria.
The Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Field Office, Kano, Mr. Maulid Warfa, made the condemnation yesterday during the Partnership and Network Strengthening Meeting with Kano media at the Horizon Hotel.
Warfa described the increased kidnapping of children as a heartbreaking disaster that needed urgent government's intervention.
He pointed out the worrisome issue of kidnappings and child labour in northern Nigeria and noted that the UNICEF lacked the power to stop it but would support government's policies on child rights.
"We condemn in strongest terms the incessant kidnappings of children and child labour in Kano State and northern Nigeria.
"In my life, I have never ever seen mass kidnappings of a number of children like this. We, therefore, call on the government to urgently address the problem.
"The UNICEF is not a government. We don't have the power; we don't have the arms to stop these kidnappings. We just support the government's policies. We can only support the victims of kidnappings and child labour, especially when they are traumatised, to overcome that problem," Warfa said.
He also described the almajiri issue as "complicated and multi-faceted," and commended the Kano State Government for its resolve to integrate the almajiris into the state's formal education system.
Warfa said that the UNICEF is working with the Kano State's Ministries of Women Affairs and Education as well as the Governor's Office to ensure that children are integrated into formal education in the state.
"It is a long-term programme. It will indeed take time before it is modernised due to the fact that there are social, cultural, religious and financial issues.
"The same method is applied to child labour and child hawking. We are making an effort, in collaboration with the state government, to ensure these problems are mitigated.
"We always go out to the authorities and policy makers in a bid to find lasting solutions to all problems bedeviling the children," he said.