Islamic Cleric warns against unfair criticism of almajiris

The President, National Centre for Quranic Recitation, Sheikh Hassan Musa, has cautioned states against demeaning the almajiri, boasting that their numerical strength could bring down any government that refuses to heed the warning.

Speaking at the flag-off and handing over of the almajiri isolation centre at Tudun Fulani hajj camp by the Niger state government, Sheikh Musa recalled how he and other beneficiaries of the almajiri system frustrated forces that worked against their interests in the past.

Sheikh Musa revealed that “the almajiris used their voting powers to vote out former President Goodluck Jonathan during the 2015 Presidential election due to the utterances of his wife, Dame Patience, against them”.

According to him, the almajiris in Nigeria with their numerical strength can subvert whatever decisions by any government that tends to run contrary to their needs and aspirations or when any government policy is not in their favour.

“Sixteen million of us supported the APC because, Dame Patience, wife of former President Jonathan insulted us. Though she does not understand the Hausa language, the way she spoke about almajirai during the campaign for her husband’s second term, we felt insulted”.

The Islamic Cleric claimed that all the almajiris in Nigeria took a stand due to what they felt was derogatory by Patience and therefore agreed to mobilize against President Jonathan and, “That was the only reason they voted for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 Presidential election”.

He expressed dissatisfaction at the way the almajiris were being handled at the various isolation centres by northern states government and therefore urged Niger state government to take good care of the children at the centre and after two weeks ensure that they are transported safely back to their respective states of origin.

“These children from the 25 local government councils brought to the isolation centre will now be in your care. Please, take adequate care of them and after two weeks, take them back to their families, their Mallams has released them to you and we thank the state government for facilities made available for them”.

The Islamic Cleric lamented on the state of almajiris of today, saying that they are a far cry from what the system was meant to be by the founders. “Instead of acquiring Islamic education, they go about begging for alms and foods,” he regretted.

“The Almajiris are now a menace to the government and people of Northern Nigeria. In the past, Islamic education was important, but now, rather than learning, they roam about begging. It is very wrong,” he added.

Meanwhile, Niger state government has called for an all-inclusive decision in handling the almajiri system by stakeholders in the 19 northern states to end the negative image the system is attracting to the north.

Secretary to the Niger State Government, (SSG) and Chairman Task Force Covid-19, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Matane, said the centre was set up by the 19 Northern States governors to send each of them back to their respective states of origin.

“We decided not to rush to return the almajiris to their states as other northern states did. First, we consulted with their Mallams before bringing them here. It is a well-defined protocol after the government’s dialogue with the Mallams. So, the government provided the centre and put in place everything to take care of them for two weeks.

“The Almajiri system is a northern Nigerian phenomenon. We are not stopping the system of education, but they are everywhere; at the fuel stations, restaurants, Bank ATMs, streets not learning and we are saying, this has to stop,” he maintained.

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