The Almajiris are the children in the northern part of Nigeria who mostly engage in street begging. They constitute a significant portion of Nigeria’s 13.2 million out of school children. Getting them out of the street and giving them proper education has always been an issue on the front-burner in the north.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken the almajiri discourse to the centre stage again as the children are being deported to their various states over the fear of COVID-19 spread. Governor of Kaduna State, El-Rufai says northern governors are determined to end Almajiri system and also the almajiri system has ended in his state.
Legit.ng reported that Governor El-Rufai said efforts are already ongoing to ensure the system remains a thing of the past in the north. He said parents of almajiris were being educated to take up their responsibilities and send their children to school instead of allowing them to wander on the streets. El-Rufai said the Northern Governors Forum, an association of state governors in the north, has collectively and unanimously decided to put an end to the almajiri system. According to the Kaduna governor, the first step towards ending the system is the repatriation of the children to their states of origin. After the repatriation, the children will be returned to their parents and ensure they are enrolled in school, Governor El-Rufai added.
“We have done that in Kaduna; we have repatriated over 30,000 almajiris from other states back to their states and we are happy to receive any almajiri from any state of the federation that are indigenous to Kaduna,” El-Rufai said. He added that his administration is expanding the schools in the state to accommodate more children.
According to him, 169 almajiris who were of Kaduna origin have been repatriated from Kano state. He noted that though 65 of them tested positive for coronavirus but expressed happiness to receive them.