By Hassana Yakubu
Kaduna – Hajiya Hafsat Baba, Kaduna State Commissioner for Human Service and Social Development, on Tuesday called on the 19 northern states to come up with a strong policy to successfully eradicate the almajiri system in the region.
Baba made the call in Kaduna while defending her ministry’s budget before the House of Assembly Committee on Human Service and Social Development.
She noted that, for almajiris to be completely off the streets, policies need to be put in place that would eradicate the menace.
“It is the responsibility of the entire 19 Northern States to come up with a policy that will take care of this menace.
“Kaduna state might succeed in the eradication but then there will be an influx of almajiris from neighbouring states into the Kaduna again,’’ she noted.
According to her, most of the children taken off the street recently by her ministry were discovered to be from states other than Kaduna.
“Presently the ministry is trying to identify the state of origin of each child so that they can be taken back to their various homes, because most of them still need parental care,’’ she said.
Speaking on the budget, she said the priority of the ministry is human capital development.
“With a critical look, one realizes that we are in every ministry because the ministry stands for women, children, people with disabilities and also the youths. So inevitably we are in every ministry.
“The ministry therefore, has decided to invest in these people. That is why the ministry takes up all the issues concerning these different groups of people.”
She disclosed that the ministry is also working towards ensuring that all children are enrolled in school, and making sure that pregnant women visit health care facilities.
Mrs Comfort Amwe, the chairperson of the commitee, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the ministry in 2019.
Amwe however, expressed concern on the ministry’s overhead cost, saying “ they overshoot their budget, which they explain that the excesses came from the ministry of finance.
“While for the capital projects, there is rehabilitation going on at Kafanchan and in the document it’s shown that the contractor has not been mobilized but the work is already on 90 per cent completion.
“Though they said he is one of their contractors who normally don’t wait for advance payment before he begins work.”
The chairman noted that the figure for the ministry’s 2020 budget proposal was quite large.
“It’s quite encouraging, even though the figure is quite huge, I am sure positive things will come out of it,” she said.
In his remarks, the Chairman House Committee on Information, Mr Tanimu Musa said the Assembly expects 100 per cent performance from all ministries in the execution of the 2020 budget.
According to him, the Assembly would continue to carryout its oversight functions through various commitees, adding that “where there is need for support we will do that.”