Urges FG to halt further repatriation of citizens to states of origin
By Luminous Jannamike – Abuja
Irked by the mass repatriation of children searching for Islamic knowledge in the North by some state governors, a civil society organization, Concerned Nigerians, has described the action as unconstitutional and abuse of the fundamental rights of the kids.
Recall that last week, Governors Umar Ganduje and Simon Lalong of Kano and Plateau states respectively approved the evacuation of nearly 20,000 children to their states of origin over fears they might fuel the spread of Coronavirus, COVID-19, in their domains.
However, Concerned Nigerians in a statement on Wednesday by its convener, Prince Deji Adeyanju, said the repatriation exercise was not only poorly thought-out but also contravened the provision of Section 41 of the Constitution.
The group, therefore, called on the Federal Government and the security agencies to halt further evacuation of citizens away from any part of the country.
The statement read in part, “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 maybe 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 also berated those in power for failing to care for the children over the years, saying the menace of street-begging and other ills ocassioned by the Almajiris were products of leadership failure and decades of negligence on the part of the government.
“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,” the statement added.