Almajirai: We’re building an army that’ll overwhelm us – SGF

The almajirai system, if not dealt with urgently will present overwhelming challenges for Nigeria in the future, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has warned.

Boss Mustapha, while speaking at the daily Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19, Monday, said the country must provide for their welfare and turn them into productive citizens.

“There is nothing wrong about them learning the dictates of their faith. But we must prepare them equally for the future. Equip them, skill them so that they can become educated in their state and also productive citizens in the future.

“If we do not deal with the issues relating to the almajirai, we are building an army that would overwhelm us as a people and as a nation in the future,” he said.

The SGF’s statement was in reaction to the decision of some northern governors to ban the almajirai system as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Almajiri is ideally a system of Islamic education practised in northern Nigeria, where young children leave their homes to live with Islamic scholars and learn about religion. Almajiri derives from an Arabic word, “al-Muhajirun” meaning a person who leaves his home in search of Islamic knowledge.

However, the system has over the years been bastardised with thousands of such children roaming the streets of Northern Nigeria as beggars and without any form of education.

The system has been blamed for significantly contributing to the over 10 million out of school children in Nigeria.

Mustapha said most of the almajirai kids are minors who need people to be responsible for them.

“Most of them are minors. As a matter of fact, by the time they get to their teens they mature and become the Mallams.”

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