Kaduna, 11 June, 2020 / 8:33 pm (ACI Africa).
A section of children living with their teachers to pursue Muslim knowledge in Northern Nigeria, also referred to as Almajirai, are receiving “violent” treatment from the wider society that treats them as prospective Boko Haram recruits, a situation that a Catholic Prelate in the West African country blames on the Muslim elite group in the region.
In a widely published report that was also featured by Premium Times, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto in Nigeria said Almajirai (plural of Almajiri) in Northern Nigeria have been “sinned against” and denied opportunities for social progress by the region’s wider Muslim community as well as by the country’s leadership.
“The Almajiri has become a scapegoat for the multiple sins of the Nigerian state in general and the Muslim Ummah in particular,” Bishop Kukah said in a paper shared with Premium Times early this week, and added, “As usual, as of now, the northern elite will do what they do best: hide in the sands of self-deception, knowing that this will blow over and soon, no one will remember again.”
In the Islamic system of education called Almajiranci, which is practiced in Northern Nigeria, parents surrender their parental obligations to an institution where their children are imparted with Islamic knowledge.
Media reports indicate that there are seven million children enrolled in Almajiranci on the streets of Northern Nigeria, all drawn from the poorest backgrounds that cannot afford conventional education. All the children spend their days on the streets begging for food and burn the midnight oil studying and learning survival tactics from their teachers, also referred to as Mallams.