Nigeria: The Almajiri Factor

14 February 2020

This is a practice common in the northern part of the country. It basically entails the giving out of young children (usually male) by parents who usually have more children than they can really cater for, to an Islamic teacher to train them. The Islamic teacher takes the children, sometimes to a very distant location, and begins to bring them up in Islamic way, under his roof nad tutelage. And because they are usually very many, beyond what he can cater for, the children are sent out to beg for alms and food. Many a times, the children are eternally disconnected from their biological parents. They never go back home. They never know where their hearths and kith are. They do not attend western school. Former President Jonathan tried to address this practice when he built several schools for the Almajiri. I am not sure it worked.

I dare say that children brought up in such conditions lack proper parental guidance, they lack love and are willing and available raw materials for banditry and terrorism. That explains why for a common promise of N10,000, they are willing to go become suicide bombers, provided such monies are paid to their wives and children.

Dealing with abject poverty and budding terrorism in Nigeria would require dealing with the foundation of ignorance and lack. The Almajir practice is one such issue that must be addressed as it has bred more social misfits than pious and God-fearing citizens.

All said, Mr President can yet salvage the situation. Whatever he wants to do, he should do it. If he chooses to keep his Service Chiefs till 2023, it is all well and good.

What Nigerians want is an end to the senseless killings and raw banditry. He swore to defend Nigerians, be they Urhobos or Ijaws or Fulanis. Nigeria is his constituency. Let Mr President do his job without minding whose ox is gored!

That would be a perfect Valentine gift to Nigerians.

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