A pro-democracy and human rights group, Concerned Nigerians, has condemned the deportation of ‘street beggars’ popular known as the Almajiris due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The group in a statement made available to Newzandar News in Abuja by its Convener, Deji Adeyanju, described the deportation as ill-thought out, inhumane, callous and gross abuse of the fundamental rights of the children by the authorities.
“The state governors erred by deporting the children. It is reprehensible and irresponsible for any government to deport its citizens especially vulnerable children whose lives may be endangered in the process of deportation.
“The deportation of these Nigerians by state governors is unconstitutional. Section 41 of the CFRN guarantees the rights of every citizen to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof and no citizen shall be expelled or refused entry.
“Nigeria is a nation governed by law and order and unconstitutional acts like this must be condemned by all and sundry. The children are protected by law and their freedom to move and live in any party of the federation without being hounded or harassed by the state must be upheld.
“The founders of our democratic republic demanded that the constitution protects us against government limits on our freedom of movement and assembly as guaranteed in section 41.”
The group called on the government to as a matter of urgency stop any form of deportation or harassment of any Nigerian and ensure that their rights are protected. The group also berated the government for neglecting the children over the years.
The group said, “What we are witnessing today is a failure of leadership and decades of negligence on the part of our leaders. These kids wouldn’t have been on the streets begging if money meant for their education had not being stolen or embezzled. Education is the key to success and every child has the right to qualitative education. It transforms lives, breaks the cycle of poverty and provides a pathway for a better future. These children deserve a better future and the government must ensure they are given one.
“It is also pertinent to note that the state governors do not have the powers under the omnibus section “45 of our constitution” to revoke the right of freedom of movement guaranteed in section 41. Their actions are unconstitutional”.