By Tina George, Minna
#TrackNigeria: The Vice Chairman of Sani Bello Foundation, Usman Sani Bello has called the attention of the government over the continuous festering issue of the Almajiris in northern Nigeria describing it as a ticking bomb.
Speaking to newsmen in Kontagora after the treatment of 100 Almajiris under the Foundation’s Almajiri Awareness Initiative, Bello lamented that the Almajiri phenomenon is a crisis that have been allowed to fester for a very long time.
The Vice Chairman who is the brother to the Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello said the crisis have become quite cancerous and need the urgent intervention from government and relevant stakeholders.
“It is hard not to link the issue of Almajiri with the crisis we have in northern Nigeria but we never know. It is actually a ticking bomb and this is the right time we should correct this problem that is upon us.
“Things have changed and we are no reason why we should let these kids go around and get molested, killed or get ideologies to end up becoming a menance to the society, some of them are being used for trafficking drugs and petty trade. Almajiri is a modern day slavery.
“We have to find a way to bring an end to it. We need to join hands to fight this war. It is not just a northern problem or a Muslim problem or a Hausa problem. It is a humanity problem that we have to really do something about.
“This is something we have left for such a long time, we have no choice but to address it now. “
Bello further expressed dismay over the unavailability of data for Almajiris in the nation adding that the Foundation is working to get the bio-data of Almajiris in Kontagora local government area of Niger state.
“We need to shed light on this issue and we have realized that the best way to shed this light is to start, as a Foundation, getting the data of the Almajiris in Kontagora local government area. We are getting their data so that we would be able to put a name to their faces as continuous calling them Almajiris makes them seem inhuman.”
He then urged government at all levels to find a solution to end the Almajiri crisis stressing that the Almajiri issue cannot be abolished over night.
“I beg the government both at the National and state levels to do something as soon as possible to end the problem. This is not an issue the government can ban overnight.
“It will take time and even if we are going to ban it eventually, we need to get some sort of data. It is disheartening that we have no data whatsoever. Some of these children are as young as three to your years and their parents feel happy to push them to the world. It is too sad.
“I believe every child should go back to their parents home and he or she can get whatever Islamic knowledge and training he can get in his own town. “
The 100 Almajiris were screened and treated for malaria, typhoid, skin diseases, deworming and respiratory issues while two were operated upon.