Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has advocated an end to the current practice of Almajiri system of seeking Islamic knowledge in a country or state far away from the homes of underaged children.
Governor Bello disclosed his thoughts when he took delivery of items donated by the Nigeria Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19, a joint initiative of leading private sector leaders and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Bello, speaking in Minna, maintained that it was a wrong practice that has been ongoing for the past 200 years, where children of about three years to five years are separated from their parents in supposed quest for religious knowledge.
He said: “I feel it is absolutely wrong to separate a child, three, four, five years old from home, send him to a town where he has no one to take care of him and end up in the streets where he is abused.
“This is the worst form of human abuse you can think of.
“A child of three, four years must have parental guidance.”
The governor added that this is an era where parents should produce children they have ability and capability to cater for and desist from shying away from their responsibilities under the guise of sending them away to seek Islamic knowledge.
He noted that with Islamic Malams in virtually all wards in the country, children should be made to seek any form of Islamic Knowledge within their environment such that they receive parental care instead of leaving them for the society to take over their responsibilities.
“So parents should own-up to their responsibility of taking care of their children,” Bello said.
The governor is of the opinion that with the support of the Northern Governors’ Forum, the age long practice of almajiri system would soon be a thing of the past.
He disclosed that Niger State Government is working on a policy through the affiliation of the Universal Basic Education Commission to streamline a system where the children will acquire both western and religious knowledge in their localities, thereby giving no room on whatsoever ground for parents to send their wards away from them.
The governor promised that the present sangaya system of almajiri school activities will be regulated soon.
He said before repatriating the almajiris to their States of origin, such States would be properly informed so that they receive them, give them proper care before reuniting them with their parents.
The items donated to the State by CACOVID in their support to the fight against Coronavirus Disease include: 100 beds, 100 hospital overhead tables, one mobile x-ray machine, one ultrasound machine, two ICU beds, 20, 700 pieces of medical equipment which include, 250 face shield, 1,000 protective goggles, 3,000 KN95 Face Mask, 10,000 disposable latex gloves, 500 elbow rubber loves and 1,000 PPE Overall.
Bello said the items, which have been installed at a public school provided as an isolation centre, would be used to isolate the almajiris and assured that the equipment will be properly handled by the team of medical personnel in the State and will also add value to the health sector.