Home / Education /  Poverty behind some children going into Almajiri, says Sultan of Sokoto; Laments: Our children are roaming about the streets
Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saad Abubakar III

 Poverty behind some children going into Almajiri, says Sultan of Sokoto; Laments: Our children are roaming about the streets

From left: Mr. Ibrahim Sassey, UNICEF-Nigeria Chief Of Child Protection, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111, the Sultan of Sokoto and Dr. Godwin Odo, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Abuja when the UNICEF team paid the Sultan a courtesy visit at his palace in Sokoto.
PHOTO BY ANKELI EMMANUEL

BY ANKELI EMMANUEL, Sokoto

The Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111 has said that poverty rather than the desire for acquiring Islamic education could be the reason for some parents sending their wards to other places as Almajiri.

The Sultan, who spoke when Mr. Ibrahim Sessey, UNICEF-Nigeria, Chief Of Child Protection, in company of Maryam Sa’ead, the Chief of Field Office in charge of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States alongside Mr. Pius Uwamanua, UNICEF, Sokoto Field Office, Child Protection Specialist, Dr. Godwin Odo, Child Protection Specialist, Abuja and other staff of UNICEF paid him a courtesy visit in his palace in Sokoto.

According to Sultan, the religion of Islam protects the child and women more than any other religion, hence seeing the children roaming the streets aimlessly gives him and the State great concern.

Continuing, the Sultan said, “Our children’s lives is of great concern to us. We are passionate about educating them. We will put in everything because they are important to us. We feel sad anytime we go round and see them roaming about the streets.

“But the issue is that not all of those out of school children you see roaming about are Almajiri students but poor people seeking for food”.

While clarifying that this scenario often makes some to mistake Almajiri for beggars, the Sultan said, Almajiri is simply an Arabic word for someone that leaves his place in search of knowledge.

He queried the rational behind sending minors to other places in search of Islamic education when they in their childhood days acquired same within their locality and enjoyed parental care.

On the efforts they are making in conjunction with the Sokoto state government towards remodeling the Almajiri concept, the Sultan said they have built about 100 schools  where the Malams will teach Almajiris to enable them get Western alongside the Qur’anic education.

Sultan further divulged that they want Almajiris to start learning with computers as well, adding  that it is going to be a very thorough plan because of funds but achievable.

Speaking earlier in her opening remarks, Maryam Sa’ead, the UNICEF, Sokoto Chief of Field Office, noted that, the wellbeing of children is of great importance to UNICEF.

She further requested the support of the Sultan for quality engagement with the Sultanate’s focal persons on birth registration, health, nutrition and education, including equitable access to education for all including the Almajiri and vulnerable children

On his part, Mr. Ibrahim Sessey, UNICEF-Nigeria Chief of Child Protection, said UNICEF will always continue to appreciate the contributions of traditional and religious leaders as well as other stakeholders in their quest towards guaranteeing a secure future for children.

Sessey further appreciated the Sultan for his continued royal guidance which saw to the realization of Child Protection Law being domesticated in Sokoto.

The UNICEF Country Chief of Child Protection however solicited the support of Sultan in supporting the convening of a State wide consultation with Malams, religious leaders, the Sokoto State Zakat and Endowments Commission and Arabic and Islamic Education Board and others to support reunification and reintegration of children including the provision of Qu’ranic education in locations where these are reunified.

He also requested mobilization of community and state resources to match UNICEF funds for the programme, support advocacy efforts for the governor to allocate and disburse funds to the programme as well as  ensure reunification for Almajiri living without parental care hence keeping in touch with their families to make sure they live in the right environment and ensure social cash transfer programme for Almajiri pupils.

Mr. Sessey further divulged that UNICEF has concluded plans to make sure that 12 million young people have access to digital skills, adding that there will be beneficiaries from Sokoto as well.

 

 

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