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The End Of Almajari Practice In Nigeria.

By Tsado Mohammed
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This is a sensitively significant policy that is going to have a monumental impact on lives, economic growth and future development in the Country. Strictly ending all forms of begging on the street or public places by children under the age of 15years should also include street hawking. This effectively imply bringing an end to the Almajari practice throughout the Country. As a nation and a people. We must tell ourselves the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. We must say goodbye to some practices that is not doing us any good. People should be able to acquire all known forms of knowledge from any location in Nigeria. The Almajari Qur’anic system that is currently being practiced mostly in the Northern part of the Country is therefore a misconceived phenomenon that must be brought to an end immediately.

Even from a religious point of view. It’s an absolute disaster to have million among the population who cannot read or write. And without any skills or training to make any meaningful contribution to the Socio-economic growth and prosperity of the Country. The modern world is largely driven by innovation and scientific Development. All necessary measures must be put in place to ensure that every child that is of school age can be able to acquire any form of knowledge, training or business skills from any location in the Country. This can be achieved through implementation of the following.

Guideline for ending the Almajari phenomenal

1- No child under the age of 15years. Should be involved in any form of begging on the street. Their feeding, clothing, shelter, health care education and moral training is a primary responsibility of the Parents.

2- Children should be able to acquire Islamic knowledge while living with parents, relatives or guardian, who should be able to provide for them and take full responsibility.

3- Islamic leaning should be accompanied with acquiring of Western education in addition to any other skills and training of interest or potential.

4- All Almajari system that encourages children to go and beg on the street and homes must be permanently closed down. Exposing innocent children to hardship at such tender age is definitely unreasonable. Plus the fact that they mostly are deprived of proper education or any form of skills training that they would be able to make a living from and in the process contribute to nation building.

5- More Quranic learning schools should be encouraged and established across every Community to ensure that children can be able to walk from their respective homes to acquire knowledge and training without compromising on their future.

6- As at the time of Implementation. There should be a six (6) months period to give individuals as well as Communities the opportunity to provide and establish more Qur’anic learning centers to ensure that everyone is carried along. Traditional ruler, Islamic groups and Institutions must help to bring an end to the Almajari phenomenon. And institutionalize a system of practice that enable children to be able to acquire Islamic knowledge and at the same time start building their future through education or any particular training and business skills.

No human society can be able to grow or develop beyond the available human capacity of the people. This definitely apply to all modern nation. It’s not just the population but how the population is judiciously utilized for development purpose. And in this Century that we are. Education, science and technology is paramount to the survival of any sovereign nation. Knowing fully well that, not all natural resources will last forever. But the human potential to explore the natural environment for continued survival will forever remain and can be further improved upon through education. It’s a known fact that Northern part of the Country still remains behind others regions educationally. People must move along the same future if the Country is to ever remain united and grow progressively. We can not have some people moving forward while others are doing the exact opposite. Irrespective of the socio-cultural and religious diversity we must move along the same Development path especially in terms of education.

As a person. I always considered myself a Nigerian above any other affiliation. Even though I was born in Minna. Niger State. I had my first degree in Political Science from Usman Danfodio University in Sokoto State. I later went through the National Youth Service Corp in Maiduguri. Borno State in 2006/2007. Through politics and other activities I have been to almost every part of this Country. And talking about Islamic knowledge. I completed memorization of the Holy Qur'an just after my Primary School. So when I speak on the need to immediately say goodbye to Almajari children practice. I am doing it with a clear understanding of the issues involved. One more thing. The process of ending Almajari should include a comprehensive process of economic empowerment for poor Nigerian families to enable them take care of their families. Send the children to school to acquire education and contribute to building a progressive society.

In summary. Some of the basic reason why Almajari Practice should immediately be brought to an end within the Nigerian entity is as follows.

a. The young, innocent children are easily introduced to drugs, crime and terrorism.

b. Most of them never even graduated from Qur’an nor able to read or apply Islamic teaching properly.

c. They are completely denied of Parental home, moral and ethical training.

d. Most of them will become a liability to the rest of the society.

e. No education or any skills training simply means limited opportunities or ability to make any meaningful impact to economic development of the nation.

f. Ending Almajari will as well enhance the level of political awareness and participation while also reducing the level of ignorance among the population.

g. Greater economic involvement will reduce the level of dependency, poverty and economic prosperity for people and the nation as a whole.

h. Healthy growth and competitiveness among the different groups that makes up the Federation. Northern Nigeria will also be able to catch up educationally. In all this. It’s a win for everyone.

Hand that gives is always on-top while the receiver is always down under. The Muslim community in the Country and beyond should be brought together to contribute financially and otherwise in establishing of this schools and helping each other in all ways possible. A committee should be established to help raise the funds needed for some of the projects include provision of the Qur’an and a conducive learning environment. Nigerians are known to be one of the most religious people in the world today. Government should look at ways to help in exploring all available avenues to improve the welfare and living condition of the people through religion. Imagine if it is possible to get rich Muslims and Christians to each donate just 2-5% of their wealth to the extremely poor people they share the same religious faith with. It will easily reduce the number of extreme poverty in the Country.

Establish (MSS Qur'anic Schools Study Centres)

With existing public schools facility. Government should encourage the commencement of evening and weekend classes. Every school with Muslim population should be encouraged to operate Muslim Students Society (MSS) Classes by utilizing the available infrastructure. Through this process. Every child will be able to attend and acquire Islamic knowledge just as in a normal school environment. All that will be needed here is to employ the service of more Islamic teachers to facilitate the success of the program. This is far more sustainable than any other proposal because in this instance. The school Structure and classes is already available. All that is required is a proper timetable to be operational after normal school hours as well as during weekends.

(Mosques Quran Classes)
This is another viable option. In every Community with Muslims population. It is expected that they should have a mosque or space for observing the compulsory five daily prayers. The mosque and space around it could also serve the purpose of providing temporary environment for children to study the Qur’an closer to home so the need to send little children far without any provisions should be eliminated. The poverty situation of most Nigerians not withstanding. Almajari system can only make the situation even worst. Compromising the future of the younger generation, the children we keep saying are the leaders of tomorrow”

This is a piece from my upcoming book POLITICS OF DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA.n - TSADO MOHAMMED [email protected]

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Tsado Mohammed and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."