May 23, 2013

Abolish al-majiri system, Mark tells Northern Govs


ABUJA—SENATE President, David Mark, yesterday, blamed leaders and politicians from the North for the growing almajiri in the region, saying they must urgently rise up to ban the system.

This is even as he said the Federal Government would no longer condone criminal acts by people in the country on excuse of unemployment.

Mark, who spoke during a debate on a bill, “A Bill for an Act to Repeal and Re-enact the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Act 2003”, sponsored by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, PDP, Cross River Central, was reacting to the issue of parental negligence raised by Senator Alkali Abdulkadir Jajere, ANPP, Yobe South.

Jajere had sought a stiff legislation compelling parents, particularly in the North, to take adequate care of their wards, saying it was time for the almajiri system in the region to be done away with.

He also gave a heart-rending picture of how he grew up without knowing his parents because of the system.

He gave a horrific story of the life he went through as an almajiri child.

According to him, it is by the grace of God that he was enrolled in school.

He also recalled that many of such children never had the opportunity he had to be educated.

Moved by Senator Jajere’s graphic story, Mark said: “It is amazing when we tend to make excuses for our failings. If you cannot gain employment you, go and join a terrorist group so that you can be employed.

“You join Boko Haram because you have no employment. If you are poor, then you begin to trade and traffic in human beings so that you can be rich.

“These are all excuses. What about the people who are buying these people outside. Is it because they can’t find employment or because they are poor? I think we should stop making excuses.

“Everything is reduced to the level of unemployment in the country. Nigeria is not the only country where everybody is not employed. That you are not employed does not mean you should go and do something very bizarre.

“You open up a baby factory; you begin to sedate people and remove their organs to sell. It’s just never a good excuse for some of the things that we do.”