…They may be future of Northern Nigeria-El-Rufa’i
…’revert to Jonathan’s Almajiri model”-Northern Youth’
By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
The Arewa Consultative Forum,ACF ,has thrown its weight behind Governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufa’i of Kaduna state who had publicly outlawed the Almajiri system in Kaduna State.
ACF said it would support any policy that would transform the Almajirai for good and hailed El-Rufa’i for declaring that Kaduna would make primary school education compulsory for the Almajirai.
The governor had said that all the 218 Almajirai who were repatriated to Kaduna and now tested free of COVID-19, would be compulsorily enrolled in primary school.
He said on Monday, that the former child urchins were being restored full human rights as children, dignity and hope.
“Every child in Kaduna has equal opportunity and access to 12 years of Free and Compulsory Education in our public schools,” he said.
However, the Joint Association of Northern Youth Groups, said unless the Northern Governors revived the program former President Goodluck Jonathan put in place for the Almajiri ,they might not achieve the desired objective.
Governor El-Rufa’i said on his Facebook that he was “pleased to see our Almajiri children the batch of 218 from Kano, Nassarawa, Plateau & Gombe States looking well & free of Covid 19.”
” With the support of @UNICEF Nigeria, AMA Foundation, other NGOs & philanthropists, they are being restored full human rights as children, dignity & hope! Every child in Kaduna has equal opportunity and access to 12 years of Free and Compulsory Education in our public schools.”
The governor disclosed that the next step was for the Commissioner of Human Services and Social Development, Mrs Hafsat Baba and her team to return the Almajirai to their parents in collaboration with Local Government Chairmen and Traditional Rulers.
“All the children are to be compulsorily enrolled in the primary school nearest to them so they have modern education and life skills in the morning, and continue their Quranic or Islamic education in the afternoon and over the weekend. That is how many of us got our education. That is what the Nothern States’ Governors’ Forum decided. These children may the future of Northern Nigeria,” he said.
Reacting to El-Rufa’i’s statement on the Almajiri,Murtala Abubakar ,Convener of the Joint Action Committee of Northern Youth Associations, ,said the
Governor’s statement to the effect that all Almajirai that were returned to the state and lcovid-19 free will be compulsorily enrolled into primary schools, should be viewed with caution.
” The problem militating against the Almajiri system of education is lack of political will and consensus among the critical stakeholders. What the Governor is advocating for is not going to work, the system needs reforms not abolishment. Therefore, what the northern Governors need is to replicate president Goodluck Jonathan’s template and make improvement where necessary . Deportations of these children by one governor to another is not only counterproductive but dehumanizing as it standsb condemned,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ACF supported El-Rufa’i, assuring that it would align with the policy.
Emmanuel Yawe, the National Publicly Secretary of the ACF, said “It’s a wonderful idea..any policy that will turn the Almajiri into useful citizens the ACF will support it.”
It could be recalled that the ACF had earlier declared support for the Northern Governors on Almajirai repatriation.
ACF spokesman said recently that “the decision to repatriate Almajiris to their states was taken by the Northern Governors Forum and we have no quarrel with that because we don’t believe in the Mmajirinci system.
“Its a retrogressive system. We don’t believe in it at all. Its against the human development of the North and the development of the country. So, the ACF is against the Almajiranci system.”
“So, the decision of the governors to take them to their states of origin and the state to find their families, we totally agree with it. This is because if somebody has given birth to a child, he should be in the position to look after that child and not to throw the child onto the streets.”
“We support that decision. But the only problem is with the implementation. The implementation is very clumsy and the governors should sit up and implement in a proper way.”
“The Governors are implementing it harphazardly. It is not properly implemented. You can’t just carry the Almajiri in your state and without proper coordination with another state and go and drop them in another state and go away.”
“If one state is taking them to another state, the state should be alerted accordingly so that the state should make proper arrangement to welcome and trace their parents and take them back to their parents(families).” he said.
“The Northern Governors should sit up and implement the policy properly, without leading to any form of rancour and misunderstanding among the states,” he said.