A socio-political group, Citizens Action for Good Governance, has expressed concern over the menace of Almajiri and out-of-school children in northern Nigeria comparing it to gunpowder that can explode anytime.
The organization, therefore, called on the state governments to reorganize the old academic programme which gets children in exchange for the study of Islamic or Arabic studies with western education in line with modern standards.
The National Coordinator of the group, Nazir Galadanchi, in an interview with newsmen, said, “Yes, Almajiri is an old academic programme that gets children in exchange to come and study Islamic or Arabic studies from different places in the country. I feel it is outdated, they can reorganise it in such a way that it meets modern times.
“It is not that they should cancel it, but they should modernise it and integrate it with western education so that while they are doing their Almajirinchi Islamic programmes, they will also be undertaking their western education. A lot of us had to finish our Islamic programmes before even going into western education.”
He also called on the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to engage the state governments to revive the old Almajiri Group of Enterprise which trained persons in market economics, financial discipline, entrepreneurship and different programmes for which they attained economic self-sufficiency.
“Honestly, we are worried because Katsina State, unfortunately, is said to have the highest number of out-of-school children in the country. We want to use this medium to call on state governors to ensure that they create welfare and social programmes.
“The Almajiri children are like gunpowder, they can explode anytime. We can see what is happening with the bandits. You see little children turning to kidnappers around communities and wonder what is happening because they have been neglected. The government should make them useful to society.
“The Federal Government has created a lot of attractive programmes to ensure that people remain in school. We want the state governments to replicate these, even if it is not as generous as that. Let them do something too to show responsibility because it is the primary responsibility of state governments and local government areas to ensure that students are back in school,” Galadanchi said.