PLATEAU, Nigeria – In their efforts to end the Almajiri trend in the country especially in the Northern part of the country, Islamic stakeholders held a stakeholders’ discourse to end the menace of Almajiri children in the country especially in the 19 northern States. The Stakeholders also called for the enactment of laws that will deter parents from sending their wards into such ventures.
This was disclosed by Islamic stakeholders, during a stakeholders Discourse organised by Movement for the Rights of Almajiri Children (MORAC) held at the Central Mosque in Jos, the Plateau State Capital.
Speaking at the occassion, a representative of Islamic schools, Muhammad Nazifi Yunus, who is also Director, Albayan schools, said, “The first point of concern in this Almajiri issue are the parents, because they are major stakeholders of this problem. Islam encourages child education and is a grave sin in Islam for you to marry more than one wife and give birth to many children and just abandon them on the streets or take them far away from you in the name of almajiri.”
He called on civil society organisations in collaboration with governments especially in the 19 northern states where issues of Almajiri are prevalent to organised enlightenment campaigns to educate parents on the dangers of sending their wards for Almajiri.
“Secondly, the teachers in those Almajiri schools should be given special attention, because these are people who take their time to memorize the holy Quran and even write it on their slates.
“Let the government bring them closer, salaries should be fixed for them on the government scale, especially if they are well screened, because is not everybody that can teach Quran.
“Finally, I appeal to the government to build boarding schools for the Almajiris, the Almajiri we are complaining about, they are not more than ten million in the whole country.
“I believe that government has the capacity to bring all of them together especially in the 19 northern States and build schools for them, i believe if this is done, it bring to an end to this Almajiri issue.”
Also speaking, Justice Nafisa Lawal Musa, of the Plateau State High Court, said, “The parents have the responsibility of knowing where their children.
“Government should do a serious check on the Almajiri situation, to find out anybody carrying someone should be accountable.
“Questions like, where is he coming from should be asked, how many children are in that Almajiri school he is running”.
She advised that those found on the wrong side of the law should be made to face its wrath.
In her address, the Executive Assistant to the Governor of the State on Social Investment, Dr Sumaiya Hamza, said, “It is a collective responsibility to get this children out of the streets.
She added that, “Government has its own responsibility by enacting laws and policies, while the society has their own responsibility by checkmating the implementation of those provisions, and the parents themselves who gave birth to this children, have their own responsibility of ensuring that these children are adequately educated.
“Moreover, government has already introduced an integrated education under Universal Basic Education, so there is need for the Sangaya Schools (Almajiri Schools) to make use of this provision and for the society to push for the implementation of this government educational policy.
Hamza who is also a retired Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, maintained that, “So that this children will learn both Islamic and Western Education; in the interest of building their future, taking a position of contribution to national development”.
Earlier in his welcome address, Convener of the Stakeholders Discourse, Comrade Salis Abdulsalam said, “This movement was formed to serve as a platform to push for the formulation of legislative bill, to serve as a voice for the Almajiri child, and advocate for effective policy implementation aimed at positively transforming the Almajiri practice in Nigeria.
“As the founder of Displaced Women and Children Foundation, who has been in existence for over 13 years, base on our interactions and field work with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), around the Northern part of the country, especially in the North- East, we discovered that the Almajiri child is worse off than the displaced.
“And the Almajiri by definition happened to be a displaced person, because they are forcefully removed from their natural abode taken to an unknown destination and most times into slavery.
“While as a displaced person, the whole country is worried about is being catered for, enumerated, they have a censor, everybody is worried about them. But nobody is worried about the Almajiri child, they are being used for rituals, among others.
According to him, “This is the myth that is not Islamic, that we need to wakeup and face.”