The initiative seeks to provide access to justice for vulnerable children and those on the move, including Almajiris
UNICEF and the European Union (EU) are collaborating with the Kaduna State government to provide access to justice for vulnerable children and those on the move, including Almajiris
Wilfred Mamah, UNICEF child protection specialist, Kaduna office, during a media engagement on Sunday in Kaduna, said the project was a global partnership and would also run in Kano and Sokoto states.
“This intervention is a partnership with UNICEF and European Union working to strengthen access to justice in six countries, including Nigeria,” Mr Mamah said.
He explained that the project was being run through the state Ministry of Human Services and Social Development to provide protection for children, who lacked parental care and were often neglected by society.
Mr Mamah, however, said the issue of Almajiri children was a great challenge.
“Children on the move are often exposed to violence, abuse and neglect because they do not have parental care and they struggle to have access to justice.
“Even as survivors, they struggle to have access to justice, even when violated or fall victim in conflict with the law,” he said.
The child protection specialist explained that the project would provide alternative care to vulnerable children and those on the move in Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Chikun, and Igabi local government areas of the state.
He said that centres would be set up in the four local government areas to provide correctional aid and treatment for children that commit offences.
According to him, a Justice for Children Forum has been inaugurated, comprising critical actors in the justice system in the state to coordinate the project.
The UNICEF official said that the coordination forum was mandated to be an advocate for justice.
“We have achieved greater success in that direction with the establishment of the state family court.
“The family court will be handled by trained professionals, called Assessors or social welfare experts, who will give therapist response to the crime.
“In that therapy, the law is looking on how to handle these children differently from the way adults are handled, starting from the point of the investigation,” he said.
He added that with the court’s establishment, the children would have a functional and friendly justice system.