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Regional News of Thursday, 25 November 2021


Gombe official raises the alarm over child labour on farmlands

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The Director, Child Welfare, Gombe State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Joseph Markus, has lamented the increase of underaged girls for cheap labour on the farmlands.

Markus made this revelation in his address on Tuesday, November 23, at a media roundtable organised by Save the Children International towards ending child marriage in the state.

According to the Director, the situation is gaining momentum across the state, stressing that certain privileges he enjoys as a person came through education.

He urged stakeholders to ensure that issues concerning the girl child are given deserved priority. Markus said, “As we were coming from Kumo this morning with the speaker (children’s parliament), I saw groups of girls waiting for those that will come and hire them, take them to the farms to work for the whole day from morning to night.

“Can’t we be kind to them, can’t we provide support for them. I told the speaker, speaker see your people. We have been agitating, advocating those in government as well as the legislators to help us pass this legal framework so that we will have something to lean on. So that we can fight this fight.

“At the moment I can shake hands with the governor, dine with him because I have gone to school but for school. Education is a tool.

”Markus also reminded relevant stakeholders to ensure the domestication of the Child Rights Act, as well as the implementation of a framework towards ending child marriage in the state.

“The question is are the lawmakers seeing the young as they are used for labour. Just last week a four-year-old was defiled; the question is if she was my daughter how will I feel; if she was your child how will you feel?

“We are neglecting what our holy books say about taking care of each other. I enjoin all of us to put heads and energy together towards providing an enabling environment for these kids,” he added.

Also speaking, Abdullahi Hussaini bemoaned the failure of parents to utilize the free basic education in the state. Police yet to act on ex-Gombe gov's petition 10 days after selling Covid-19 vaccination card is criminal, Gombe deputy governor.

He called on the government to constitute a task force towards making education compulsory.

“Government should inaugurate a task force that will make school attendance compulsory as well as making hawking activities by children punishable by law,” Hussaini said.

Also, the Executive Director, Saif Advocacy Foundation, Alhassan Yahya, while lauding current efforts by stakeholders, urged them to set agenda in challenging the government on state education.

On his part, Speaker, Children’s Parliament Umar Abdullahi, tasked the government to ensure speedy domestication of the Child Rights Act, to protect the rights of children in the state, adding that employment of more female teachers to encourage school attendance.

He advised that more schools should be established within the communities to reduce long-distance between schools and homes.

Abdullahi said, “Many parents don’t support their girls going to schools because of insecurity. Parents are afraid when their girls are going or coming back from school.

“I don’t feel good when girls are not educated. It is the right of every citizen to be educated. So why should the girls be denied this right? I call on the government to please look at girls education in Gombe State and find a solution.”