In a similar move to discourage street begging ,the Kebbi State government plans to involve 504 Quranic schools in the state in a World Bank assisted integrated programme to give the children proper education and care.
Government has earmarked N70 per meal for the children and N500,000 grant to each of the pilot Quranic schools.
The House of Representatives also plans to initiate reforms of the Almajiri system of education in the country.
A member of the House, Dr Balarabe Kakale, from Bodinga/Dange-Shuni/Tureta Federal Constituency in Sokoto State (PDP-Sokoto), said the matter has been slated for debate on Thursday, March 12.
Spokesperson for Hisbah in Kano State , (the state’s Sharia enforcer), Lawan Ibrahim Fagge, told The Nation by phone that 70 percent of the Almajiri who were apprehended on the streets by the Anti-bara unit of Hisbah over the last five months have been sent back to their states of origin including Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Borno and Yobe.
Some of the young beggars are from Kano, Adamawa and neighboring countries of Chad and Niger Republic.
He said that following government’s ban on street begging some parents have voluntarily withdrawn their children from the streets.
Fagge said: “Those arrested children from Kano were classified. Those who can read and write the Holy Qur’an were identified while we await further directives from the governor.”
Kebbi earmarks N70 per meal
The Executive Secretary of the Kebbi State Universal Basic Education, Hajiya Asumau said in Birkin Kebbi that apart from the N500,000 grant to each of the pilot 504 Quranic schools, government would also deploy facilitators to the institutions.
Learning will be a mix of Western and Arabic education, she said.
Asumau spoke at sensitisation programme organised for Islamic teachers from across the state.
She said: “Government wants to bring sanity to the Quranic schools by reducing street begging.
“As you know, Governor Atiku Bagudu has passion for the children and initiated this to curb Almajiri street begging. He wants them to also have Western education.”
Street begging still thrives in Adamawa
Although the Adamawa State government has not officially banned the almajiri system, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri has often spoken of a desire to take off the rawness off the almajiri system by providing incentives, including feeding, for western education, especially since the public western-style schools in the state have Islamic/Arabic studies in their course contents.
Just last month, February 4, Fintiri announced plan to remove 51,205 out-of-school girls and almajiri boys from the streets into schools.
He had said during the flag-off ceremony of Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), that his government would return all out-of-school children to school by the year 2022.
He said that, one after the other, all projected 291,239 school-age children who are not in school, including almajiri children, should have been enrolled by 2022.
Evidently, the state government and partners have long been working on ways to serve the peculiar needs of almajiri and girls, two categories of children deeply affected by low school enrolment in the state.
Earlier last year, in September 2019, the government had announced establishment of non-formal learning centres in 12 LGAs under BESDA.
The state consultant of BESDA, Dr Muhamadu Digereji, had said during a programme in Yola that teachers would be recruited to teach the almajiri and girls for nine months, after which those within school age would be mainstreamed into the conventional school system and those above primary school age would continue under a programme run by the state Agency for Mass Education.
Under the BESDA-facilitated initiative, Digereji said, the children would be given uniform and fed free at the learning centres, while parents were to be given Conditional Cash Transfer “so that they will allow these children to come to the learning centres.”
Giving an update on Friday on the almajiri issue, Fintiri’s Press Secretary, Mr Humwashi Wonosikou, confirmed that the government has not officially banned almajiri “because the system is not so reprehensible in the state.”
He also spoke of concerted efforts to at least reform the system, including the role of the American University of Nigeria (AUN) which is providing a free ‘Feed & Read’ programme for almajiri through its NGO named after its founder.