by Rachel Ogbu
The Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu has warned the Federal Government that banning the Almajiri system in the country was an infringement on the culture of the natives.
Aliyu was speaking during the visit of the Senate Committee on Education, led by Senator Uche Chukwumerije in Minna.
“In the Senate, I overheard the senators asking the northern governors to ban Almajiri school system; you do not ban a culture without putting something in place.
“I am so happy with the Universal Basic Education’s arrangement because of the way it has reduced chances of corruption in our school system. I believe we are doing something about Almajiri system and I agree that the way we are doing it now, building almajiri schools will not solve the problems.
“They must be treated as citizens, and not to make it look like a stigma. It is not a question of banning it but it is a matter of what do we do to make sure that they (almajiris) are absorbed into the formal school system.
“Many of these children cannot trace their parents because they were scattered all over the northern states and beyond. It is something we need to sit down and tackle properly.”
The Punch reports:
He added that the country had to put in place another system that would absorb the Almajiris in the country by properly integrating them into the formal education system.
He said the problem of the Almajiri could not be solved by merely building almajiri schools but by knowing their number and making adequate provision for their integration.
Aliyu said, “In Niger State alone, there are 3,784 Quranic schools with a population of nearly 500,000. Some of the pupils in the Quranic schools have grown beyond the school going age for primary schools.”
Earlier, Chukwumerije had applauded the steps taken by the state government to turn the education sector around.