An advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has said the quest for survival and a better life are responsible for the frequent movement of almajiris to the South-West of Nigeria and other neighbouring states.

The group said such movement might be reduced if Northern states they migrate from take the survival of the almajiris more seriously.

SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, spoke with SaharaReporters on Wednesday. 

The group was reacting to the legality of interstate deportation as state governments take initiatives to prevent the spread of Coronavirus by deporting youths hidden in trucks that tried to gain entry to their territories.

Mumuni said, “The question of interstate travel is a question of survival. People may think survival in a certain part of Nigeria is more favourable and conducive to their lives and that is the only reason they want to move about. 

"The better thing is if the government of the state in which they come from take the welfare and well-being of citizens seriously so that the question of almajiris and their problems are solved.

“When states they come from take their survival more serious, they will be able to live and subsist in their state by not only living but good living.”

The SERAP director however, absolved the state governments, who deported the almajiris of any blame.

According to him, the government, whether local, state or federal has the right to take any step it considers good in the interest of the public health of the people of the state.

He added, “So, if people are being returned to their states of origin when we have a public health emergency, we won’t blame the government for that. 

“That’s the way it can be eradicated but if you say they are moving to other parts of Nigeria for survival, that they have to do as Nigerians because there is no functional law that says a citizen of another state cannot go to another state to survive.

“Security agents are bound to carry out legitimate order (of the ban on inter-state travelling) and while they are carrying it out, they must ensure that they do not deliberately maltreat Nigerians in the name of enforcing the order.”

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