…Policy will depopulate those terrorists are recruiting-CAN
…Almajirai deserve State Protection-NEF
By Ibrahim Hassan
As the controversy surrounding the issue of Almajiri compulsory education in Kaduna state rages on, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has said that every Nigerian child including the Almajirai, deserve protection from government.
The Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, however, said Almajirai are human beings with great potential and the politics used to discourage them to go to modern school should be completely removed.
According to spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, “every child deserves the support and protection of the state. The Nigerian child is entitled to free and compulsory education and no parent can violate the laws related to these and defend such violation under any guise.”
According him, the nature and contexts of the kind of education Governor El-Rufa’i was proposing for the Almajirai, were at stake.
“There is ample scope for integrating Islamic education with western- type of education which the state prefers. For the initiative of the government of Kaduna State to succeed, it must be applied across all states, and should involve genuine and inclusive engagement with powerful religious groups that defend this practice,” he said.
He explained that El-Rufai’s proposal could be feasible.” It can, and should work, but it should be undertaken with sensitivity and the willingness to look at many strategies that should make it work,” he said.
However, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN,in Kaduna state,Rev John Joseph Hayab said El-Rufai’s compulsory primary education for the Almajirai ,was a fantastic development.
“This is a fantastic development. Our Northern leaders suppose to enroll them before now. The past Nigeria leaders, Goodluck Jonathan built modern schools for Almajirai all over Northern Nigeria which many are yet to be put to use.”
“Almajirai are human beings with great potential in them. The politics that was used to hinder or discourage them to go to modern school should be completely removed and get all of them to school.
Educating these young Nigeria children who love calling them Almajiri will change the future of our region and our country at large,” he said.
Rev Hayab said “we need to harness the potential in them and depopulate those terrorists are recruiting.”
“We need to harness the potential in these groups and give birth to a new breed of future leaders who see and appreciate our nation for changing their lives and become patriotic nation builders.”
“Another area we must warn is our political leaders should stop playing politics with issue of Almajiri. Don’t say what you will not do because it further hardens their mind from trusting us and believing what we say. Our leaders have made several promises and pronouncements but no sincere action,” Hayab said
Governor El-Rufa’i had said his government would make it compulsory for the Almajirai who are COVID-19 free to acquire formal education.
He also threatened that parent who allows their children become Almajiri in the state, would be jailed.
According to him, parents who enrol their children into the Almajiri education system stand the risk of prosecution and up to two years jail.
Speaking in Kaduna when he visited 200 Almajirai that were repatriated from Nasarawa State and undergoing rehabilitation and optical screening at Government College, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna,the governor said any Islamic cleric who enrolls any child into the Almajiri system would also be prosecuted and jailed as well as fined N100,000 or N200,000 per child.
According to him, all the Almajiri pupils repatriated from other states of the country were indigenes of the state.
“Government will give them all the opportunity they deserve to grow and develop,” he said.
He expressed satisfaction with the ongoing transformation of the Almajiri pupils from hopelessness to hope and confidence, saying the state has a responsibility to do whatever it can to give them hope and a better future.
“We will, therefore, continue to take delivery of every Almajiri pupil indigenous to Kaduna state for rehabilitation, treatment and enrolment into formal school nearest to where their parents live.
“We will continue to do this until we clear Kaduna state of the menace of Almajiri system, which is not education but the abuse of the privilege and future of a child.”
“Our ultimate goal is for them to acquire formal education without depriving them of the opportunity to acquire Quranic education. They will continue their Quranic education but under the care of their parents and not under someone who does not know them or paid to look after them,” he said.
“The Ministry of Human Services and Social Development (MHSSD), along with UNICEF would closely monitor them and ensure that no child would leave his locality until he finished primary and junior secondary school.”
“Every child in Kaduna state must get 12-year free and compulsory primary and secondary school education. Those that cannot proceed to senior secondary school will have the opportunity to go to vocational school, also free.”
“As such, no parent has any excuse for his child not to go to school,” he said.