As debates on alarming number of roaming children especially those known as the Almajiri continue, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, is expected to present a memo on practical steps to address the issue to his colleagues in the 19 Northern States.
The Commissioner, Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, who gave the hint on Wednesday during a meeting with stakeholders working around Almajiri in Kaduna State said, the current administration in the State has the political will to address the issue but need the cooperation of other states with regards to inter-state movement of the children in this category.
Hafsat, who was an active social activist before her appointment as commissioner by El-Rufai in 2017, frown at parents who push their children on the street to beg under the guise of Almajirinci model of education saying, the law banning street begging and hawking in Kaduna State would be implemented as a measure to check the development.
She wanted parents to be alive to the responsibility of the number of children they bring forward and not to send them off under the guise of Quranic education in far distance away from home, “whether we like it or not, this is our issue and we must find a way of addressing it.”
Giving an instance of his the roaming children are being treated when fall into wring hand she said, “it is unfortunate that we recorded over 600 cases of child violation with a good number of them are male children in 2019 alone.
“The governor now has a committee in place to see to the implementation of laws banning begging and street hawking in Kaduna State.
“We should know that government is not in charge of the moral upbringing of any child. It is the responsibility of the parents to bring up their children to become important persons in life.
“If the political will will work, parents should help it work by inculcating moral values in their children. Parenting in Northern Nigeria is zero. I’m also worry about these children that are in the streets to beg to feed the family.
“We are sitting on the time bomb. These are the children who don’t have the feeling of the father or the mother. That bond is not there. We call for this meeting to discuss and come up with what we can we do differently. We must tell ourselves the truth because it is our issue. The Governor is going to presenting a memo to Northern governors.
Senior Research Fellow, Ahmadu Bello University, Arewa House, Kaduna, Dr Shuaibu Shehu Aliyu, called on the State Government to champion the course of addressing the issue of Almajiri in Northern Nigeria.
“There has not been political will on the part of the government except now that the current government in Kaduna State is trying to do something about it.
“One of the things that can be done is for the Northern governors to make a law on interstate movement on Almajiri in the name of Quranic schooling. Kaduna State government, on its own, should come up with uniform for each of the Quranic schools, so their children can be identified at any point they are seeing roaming the streets. There is also no need for a five years old boy to be seeking Quranic school in far place away from home”, he said.
National Coordinator, Mu Kawar Da Bara Movement and Editorial Cartoonist, Daily Trust, Mustapha Bulama said, parents should be told that it is their responsibility to take care of their children, “our Islamic scholars should move from telling us to marry more than one wife to letting the parents know they are responsible for decent upbringing of their children.”
The meeting had in attendance the representatives of education authority, the police, the academia, but the critical stakeholders that must come together if this issue will be properly addressed included the Mallams, traditional leaders, Almajiri’s parents, Almajiri himself, Civil society and non-governmental organisations while government which is at the centre rise to coordinate.