Almajiranci Today: A Derailed Project, By Amb Nworisa Michael
AREWA AGENDA – One of the major challenges that has risen to the point of national worries and concerns in the modern day northern Nigeria is that of the issue of Almajirinci.
The most disturbing of all is the hush silence of those that supposed to lend their voices in proffering solutions to this worrying menace, especially the Christians and other critical stakeholders in the region.
This has in a no small measure endeared the situation to fester in lingering manner and thus taking its toll on the societal values and etiquette.
These Innocent children who have been made to endure utter deprivation, moving around in their small groups armed with plastic bowls, and shabbily dressed in non befitting attires, cutting appearances everyone would want to avoid, strutting the streets barefooted,and always appear totally unkept.
The Almajiri system, which originally translates to mean educational system has endeared some kinds of contemptuous impressions to the region by people who are obviously ignorant of what Almajiri means.
Therefore, penning this down is only meant to bring to light what the system is and what is not.
Normally, with the huge uncultivated lands, gold and other mineral resources abundant in the north one wouldn’t expect any northerner to be seen in this state but just like the rest regions in the federation with untapped resources, the north too has had its own fair share of this bureaucratic deficiency in terms of exploring natural resources for economic growth and prosperity.
The Almajiri system of the northern Nigeria today has totally derailed from what it used to be in the 11th century as history testifies.
Originally called the “Tsangaya In Nigeria during the Kanem-Borno empire existed across northern Nigeria to the Chadian region up to the borders of Libya. It was established as an organized and comprehensive system of education for learning Islamic principles, values, jurisprudence and theology. Then came the Sokoto Caliphate, founded through Islamic revolution that was predicated, fundamentally on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.
The two empires operated a similar Qur’anic learning system which over time came to be known as the Almajiri system. Under it, during the days preceding colonialism, the pupils lived with their parents for moral upbringing. The schools were located within the immediate localities where the pupils came from.
The Dan-fodio revolution brought in some modifications: the establishment of an inspectorate of Qur’anic literacy: the inspectors reported directly to the emir of the province ” according to Idris A. AbdulQadir.
Being funded by the state the system wasn’t solemnly dependent on the state. The students were allowed to get occupational and vocational skills in between their Islamic lessons and so were involved in farming, fishing, masonry, small businesses etc. A report by Almajiri Project stated that “the Almajiri offered their services as charity to the community that contributed to their welfare. Hence, as it were a relationship built on the fundamental principle of reciprocity “. During this era, the Almajiri was actually a practice to be emulated.
But sadly as time passes and things evolve, the Almajiri system has been made to come to challenge with Western education. Abdulahi Mohammed asserts that, the teachers as well as students have fail to be receptive to modern realities of learning environment, clinging sadly to the traditional myth that Western education is incompatible with Islamic knowledge”.
The Almajiri system has been greatly abused by men who abuse it by birthing children beyond what they can carter for,and thus resorting to sending them to become an Almajiri.
To address this, government at both state and federal levels should be seen as taking action in addressing the plight of an average Almajiri child. They should engage nongovernmental organizations with specialization on the Almajiri system to proffer solutions.
Sensitisations need to be carried out on people in rural areas discouraging them from sending their wards to the urban areas for Almajirinci.
Families should be discouraged from making children they can not carter for.
Until issues of the Almajiri person is rightly addressed the Northern Nigeria and in extension the federation will continue to face great challenge.
Amb. Nworisa Michael,
Peace & Good Governance Advocate.
[email protected] com